Yo Ho ho and a bottle of Rum
Ok, So I have this thing were I like to try to figure out the Genesis of things words and sayings.
I will tell you what it is and Why I think its that way, then you all can tell me how wrong or right you think I am.
First exhibit is the cord wrapped bottles of old.
Now the popular theory out there is that the ropes protects the thin glass or clay from breaking, but I have a different theory.
I learned during WW Desert Storm how hot a bottle of water would get out in the desert...and then I learned that wrapping it in wool sock and wetting the sock, actually cooled the water in the bottle, through the process of convextion cooling, by heat transferring to the water soaked cord and then as it evaporates it causes cooling. Much like sweat does with the human body.
So I believe, that although it may protect the bottle from damage, its primary purpose is to be wetted and through evaporation serves to lower the temperature of the drink inside, making for a cool glass of wine or rum.