July 27th, 2023
Often in the world of wine, the simplest objects and tools have been, and still are, the most efficient and precise that have ever been invented. Think of natural cork, the glass bottle, the oak barrel, the riddling stick to stir the wine in the barrel, and the famous glass “La Bonde”.
Probably invented in Roman times, the Bonde is a stopper that is used to seal the wooden barrel in which the wine is aged. Though they can be made of wood, glass, cork, or today even silicone, the glass Bonde one is the one that fascinates us the most by its simplicity, its efficiency, and its aesthetics.
The glass Bonde can only be fabricated by a master glassblower because it must be blown to each barrel uniquely. It must be the exact shape in order to embed itself, without force, and hermetically seal the hole of the barrel (the Bonde hole). It also must have a very precise weight to allow it to lift just enough to let out the fermentation gas (Carbon dioxide) that has built up in the barrel. As a result, each is unique because the master glassmaker will blow more or less air into the bubble in order to adjust the weight.
The Bonde and Insensitive Fermentation
Once the wine is fermented in vats, after about ten days of maceration with the sediments (the lies), the wine is transferred to barrels so that it continues to ferment quietly, and the vinification is done. During the first months of wine ageing, the barrels are placed "bonde up". The filling port is then in a vertical position and closed in a very approximate way by a glass. This is the insensitive fermentation phase.
Sometimes the winemaker will turn slightly to the side (at 2PM) the barrel to allow a gentle oxidation of the wine. This is called the "side" position. When the wine has finished fermenting, the winemaker will turn the Bonde (upside down) to signify that the glass Bonde must be replaced by a cork or latex one. By resting in this way, the wine will clarify and all heavy materials such as marc or pips will fall to the bottom and constitute the dregs. The glass will then be cleaned and stored in a closet in Bonde and Bouchon (Punt) until the following year.
This rare object today is a mark and a recognition of the art of authors’ wine, which is why we offer them for sale in the shop as a paper press or art object for your wine cellar. Its simplicity reminds us that it doesn't take much to make a great wine at a reasonable price.Shop our Bondes here.
*To add more meaning, we’ll say that Bonde is also a wine estate in Bordeaux and a village in India and in France (Bertil has French origins). It’s also a Swedish family name (Bertil has Swedish origins), but, more importantly "Bonde" in Swedish is "a farmer". And Bonde(d) is what we are around an eco-responsible philosophy, at the shop for you all.