RSS Feeds

Advanced search

You are in:


Impossi-bottle: Burgundy winemaker shares story of striking design

The owner of a Burgundy winemaker set to launch into the UK on-trade market has shared the story behind its unusual bottle design.

Michael Baum took over as CEO and owner of Burgundy winemaker Château de Pommard in 2014.

The former Silicon Valley tech man relaunched the 300-year-old vineyard in the Côte de Beaune as a biodynamic operation, and it now has a range of 28 cuvées.

Before going to market, Baum decided on a drastic bottle redesign. Drawn up with the designer of the Evian water bottle, it featured high shoulders, a tapered bottom and a neck without an outer lip. 

But this latter feature proved problematic. Speaking at an event in London on Tuesday, Baum said: “I took it to glass-makers all over the world and they told me they couldn’t make a bottle without a lip, because they would never be able to get it out of the moulds and on to the cooling rack.

“There are three companies in the world, all based in Germany, who make the machines which will pull bottles out and put them on the cooling racks and none of them could pull out a bottle without a lip on it. 

“When people tell me that things can’t be done, it makes me even more determined to do them.”

Baum showed his unconventional bottle to another designer friend in San Francisco, who suggested putting a lip on the inside of the neck instead to get around the practical problems while retaining its clean shape.

He found a company in Italy which agreed to manufacture his refreshed design – which, he said, ignited a competitive fire among glass-makers in France, where another company has since started making the bottles for him.

Château de Pommard has kicked off 2020 with a new partnership to propel itself into the UK on-trade market, teaming up with wine merchant Jascots to sell its products into high-end restaurants and hotels, as it already does in Paris. 

It has a short-term aim for on-trade sales to make up 15 per cent of its total – a big change for a company which, until around a year ago, had only dealt directly with customers.

Baum feels Jascots is the right partner to realise this aim. “We have around 2,000 clients in the UK and the on-trade business is only just starting,” he said.

“We wanted someone who knew the entrée market in the UK very well and who respected organic winemaking and we couldn’t find someone who fitted that better than Jascots. We are both crazy about protecting the sustainability of the wine industry.”

22 January 2020 - Bethany Whymark