Dating wine bottles

The middle picture shows an open pontil on the base of a cylindrical medicine bottle.

The third picture shows the base of a milk bottle from just after the trun of the century.

Typically embossed on the bottle itself, though sometimes printed on the label, these words will date your whiskey to sometime between 1932 – 1964.

I always save this for a last resort, but look at the bottom of your bottle. Likely there is and it could denote when the bottle was made.

The switch started happening in 1979 and some bottles from 79 / 80 will carry both on the bottle, but could still carry one or the other. Tax strips are the blue (if exported), green or red strips that go up the side of the neck and over the cap and will either say U. If it mentions the IRS then it’s pre-1977 which still covers a lot of time, but fear not.

We can break it down to smaller chunks fo time thanks to tax strip changes over the years.

One approach to helping beginner identify their old bottles involves show them the bases of old bottles.

The picture below at the left shows an iron pontil on the base jof a historical flask circa 1865.If it’s a dead distillery look it up and see how long the distillery was around for. Search for your bottle (by name) in Google Books under the magazines.Find ads that depict your bottle and you’ll know roughly when it’s from.If the UPC code is missing you can move the estimated date of the bottle back to at least pre-1985.How the liquid in the bottle is measured can also be a clue.By choosing “I agree” below, you agree that NPR’s sites use cookies, similar tracking and storage technologies, and information about the device you use to access our sites to enhance your viewing, listening and user experience, personalize content, personalize messages from NPR’s sponsors, provide social media features, and analyze NPR’s traffic.