Cheers!

June 20, 2023 4 min read

It’s hard to think of wine as a tasty beverage in isolation. Along with it comes a deep history of elegance, sophistication, and fine culture stretching back for centuries. 

Unlike cheap liqueurs or cocktails, even modestly priced wine is there to be savored. It can complement and enhance a delicious meal, denote the true history of a region, and it can bring people together. Wine tasting can be an intellectual exercise or a delicious, refreshing treat enjoyed on a warm summer’s evening.

At the heart of all this lies the humble wine glass, an iconic design cherished the world over. 

While wine glasses can come in various shapes and sizes (sometimes comically so), the basic anatomy of the foot, stem, stem joint, bowl, rim, and legs have remained and will remain relevant for some time.

In this post, we’ll uncork the secrets of the wine glass by focusing on its most unique component - the stem.

A Historical Perspective

Wine has been a vital component of culture stretching back centuries, most often enjoyed by the affluent. It’s been a means of celebrating, demonstrating good taste, and boasting a bountiful harvest since time immemorial.

As such, the cups, glasses, and goblets used to consume wine have evolved over the years and our most recognized design is deeply linked to the history of glassware and glassblowing. In the 1st century AD, Romans innovated early glass cups known ascíatos.They were shorter in the stem but innovated their earliest concept, using only a small elevation from the foot. 

Wine culture owes much to the Italians, who continued to evolve this design in the midst of the Reinnasance, as glassblowing techniques became artful, more sophisticated, and intricate. 

This is where the elevated bowl from the foot became a common design not only appreciated but pursued, as it allowed drinkers to separate their body heat from the wine with a gentle grasp.. This allowed the wine to maintain its condition for longer - perfect for long, jubilant parties and warm weather.

Moreover, while jugs and vessels always enjoyed the craftsman’s deft touch, wine glasses allowed for intricate designs and a delicate finish. As such, they became intrinsically linked with the refinement and social etiquette of good wine drinking.

The Functionality of Wine Glass Stems

Wine glass stem

All wine is best enjoyed at the right temperature, be that chilled or room temp. Alteration in temperature can lead to suboptimal taste, which can spoil the long hours of the winemaker’s art and ultimately your appreciation of the product.

As such, wine glass stems provide ample space to hold the glass with a stable clasp, without transmitting body heat to the stem. 

Here the wine can also be viewed unimpeded, allowing you to see the depth of its color and body, its clarity, and the slow drip of its legs. This will help you inspect the wine’s quality and learn its characteristics.

The stem also allows for a gentle swirling of the glass and bowl itself without spillage, helping you move the liquid around the bowl and smell it more capably. 

Wine tasting should embody all your senses, from its beautiful smell, its mouthfeel, its delicious taste, its visual appeal, and yes, the refined swirling slosh in the bowl. This sensual experience is not only aided, but enhanced by the well-placed stem hold.

On Aesthetics and Wine Presentation

Of course, stemmed wine glasses are designed not only with utility in mind, but form, too. Increasingly, we see attempts to innovate on this idea, such as opting for stemless models for a renewed aesthetic (which do remain stable despite the lack of stem and foot).

While a stemmed wine glass seems like the height of refined of simplicity, there are a great many advantages to this rendition. For example, the foot of a wine glass allows you to set the glass down without the need for a coaster, dissolving your fear of stains - a virtue stemless glass cannot replicate. Stemmed glasses are also stable, ensuring the weight of the bowl is evenly spread over the entire foot. 

While glasses such as flutes may seem more dainty and breakable than larger cups, it still takes a good deal of force to break one, and so stems are still reliable, can be transported over long distances, and remain a perfect vessel for elegant functions.

From allowing a careful, dignified hold of the glass, to prevent fingerprints or hand sweat from compromising the clear view of such liquid in the bowl, wine stems allow you to respect and properly handle the wine you’re drinking.

The Practical Benefits of Stems vs Stemless

While a stemmed wine glass seems like the height of refined of simplicity, there are a great many advantages to this rendition. For example, the foot of a wine glass allows you to set the glass down without the need for a coaster, dissolving your fear of stains - a virtue stemless glass cannot replicate. Stemmed glasses are also stable, ensuring the weight of the bowl is evenly spread over the entire foot. 

While glasses such as flutes may seem more dainty and breakable than larger cups, it still takes a good deal of force to break one. This way stems are still reliable, can be transported over long distances, and remain a perfect vessel for elegant functions.

To conclude,stemmed wine glasses are an iconic design, a gift from the height of European culture. They contribute to the over-all wine drinking experience by preserving the product and body of your wine, while also allowing for an ergonomic and comfortable hold. Moreover, they allow you to get the most out of your senses when indulging in wine, especially those that have been refined and aged for years.

With  Elixir Glassware’s  wine glass collections, we have no doubt you’ll find the perfect suite of glassware to complement your wine cellar. This way, you can distinguish yourself as someone who not only cares for wine, but also its proper etiquette and culture. Whether you like a classic wine glass or stemless wine glass, we have the highest quality, handcrafted crystal wine glasses suited for any occassion.

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