Wine glasses are a huge subject, so this page will likely evolve as time goes on. The following is general information about wine glasses – some a repeat from my “Wine Necessaries” tab just under the Maggie’s Wine banner. Note that I use Riedel as an example as their photos are so extremely illustrative of what a beautiful wine glass can be, and they offer examples of specific glasses for specific wines. As I explain below, Riedel, Spiegelau and other top notch wine glass producers are a bit costly. I personally recommend the producers shown here, but also asset that good wine glasses can be found that are budget-friendly. Let your fingers do the research on your keyboard. See a Spiegelau video below.
For individual articles on glassware, please check my right-hand sidebar for Categories>Glassware
If the photo above represented my personal collection of wine glasses, I would use them as I have noted.
Riedel (Ree-dell), the famous Austrian glass maker began the trend of naming and designating glasses of particular sizes and shapes for wines made of specific grapes, in specific styles or from specific growing regions (see the tow photos above).
Stemless Wine Glasses:
- They fit perfectly into the dishwasher and most are dishwasher safe
- They are more difficult to knock over which means less replacement costs and less glass-related injuries
- Because of their size, they tend to be easier to store, taking up far less space
- They can be taken anywhere quite conveniently and safely
- They suit any function, large or small, both indoor and especially outdoor
- They are reusable and many are now recyclable
- They are very cool and really project that ‘hip’ image
Good and Proper Wine Glasses: I cannot emphasize how important a proper wine glass is to the enjoyment of vino. Glassware can be very pricey. For the pricey price you get incredible beauty, a bowl designed to aerate the wine, and deliver it to the proper sensitive areas of the tongue, design mechanisms to advance the bouquet to it’s peak and straight to your nose, a perfect glass lip – so nice to sip from – a stem with a perfect feel and crystal that lets the hue of the wine shine through brilliantly. Alas, we can’t always afford the best or even next to the best, and the “best” is subjective anyway, so here are a few tips:
a. If you want to be budget-minded, yet purchase a quality wine glass, buy a 12 ounce lead-free glass. When you begin shopping you’ll find some of the best wine glass producers market a 12 ounce wine glass as a white wine glass. Ignore that for now. Buy the best 12 ounce glasses you can afford and use them for both red and white dinner wines. Glasses today are named for a grape, i.e. a Merlot glass, a Cabernet glass, a Chardonnay glass and on and on. I believe this marketing strategy has merit, but that’s a story for another time. Starting with a 12 ounce glass is a very good and proper start.
b. Buy the best quality lead-free glass (actual glass) you can afford. If you thump it, and it doesn’t ring, that’s okay, but thinner and with no seams is good.
c. A lip without a roll – important and perfect.
d. Always buy clear glass with clear stems – no colors until you can afford more than one set of wine glasses. The “color” is for fun, only. Clear glass/crystal shows the natural hue of the wine.
e. Buy thin stems – again, no seams.
Online I see Riedel’s Ouverture 12-3/8 ounce glass for four for about $40.00. Steinmart carries Riedel, sometimes Ouverture and sometimes the more expensive lines. Target has partnered with Riedle to market their Vivant brand – lead free and reasonably priced. Spiegelau, now owned by Riedel, has a lead-free series - VinoVino.
Check Home Goods if you have one near. You never know what Home Goods will have available, but whatever it is, it is always an amazing bargain. Buy one glass a paycheck at $5 to $10 and before you know it, you’ll have a few glasses that make a difference. Find a rim without a rolled edge, at least a 10 ounce bowl, and hopefully 12 ounces, and unless it’s thick and ugly, buy it up. It’s a place to start. If you cannot afford the cut rim, and must buy a glass with a rolled edge, take heart, it will be far more chip resistant than the straight edge.
I have a lot of Riedel crystal. At one time I sold it, and believed it worth every penny, so I may never run-out, but here’s and important tip: I put my Riedel in my dishwasher if I’ve had a fairly large number of guests. I have a crystal setting on my dishwasher. It works perfectly. The glasses come out spot free. For daily use, I hand wash. I dry the outside with a soft cloth, including the foot and then invert on a cloth. When dry I polish the inside with a lint-free cloth. If they need touching-up, it’s little. Good glassware is easier to care for than you might think.
One last caution, do some research on lead-free crystal, some of which include new processes. Schott Zweisel’s Diva Tritan Crystal series is an example. Minute amounts of lead may leach into wine served in lead crystal glasses. So it depends on how often you use them, and your personal comfort level.
Look at this beauty for sweeter wines, Sauternes, Alsatian, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, Eiswein, etc.
This video from Spiegelau tells the Spiegelau story, but more importantly, there is a great view of a well-made glass. Whatever the size or shape, the video provides a good look at the lip, stem and foot.
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