Stemless Wine Glasses – A Guide to the Perfect Wine and Glass Pairings
Europeans, mainly the Italians and Spanish, have been drinking from short, wide-mouth tumblers with straight sides for centuries. For instance, Spaniards favored these inexpensive stemless wine glasses generally from Bromioli Rocco. The Italian glassware company has Spanish roots dating back to the Middle Ages. More commonly known as bodega glasses, the stackable and simple glasses are ideal for tapas and a hearty Rioja.
These glasses have inspired today’s’ concept of the stemless wine glass. Notably, wine experts and novice drinkers are now turning to styles that recall a traditional wine glass, only with the stem lopped off.
Stem vs. Stemless Pros
According to David Sawyer – sommelier, photographer, and former wine director at Husk, Charleston and Lilia, Brooklyn – not much beats the stemless wine glasses’ main selling point: affordable, easy to clean, less breakage, and highly-convenient.
To further explain, the professional wine director says their appeal comes from the desire to be less formal and easy to use. He adds, “they are best for picnics due to convenience to transport without breaking and for drinking ‘Glou Glou’ (aka more casual) wines.”
Likewise, Matthew Kaner, an award-winning sommelier, wine club director, wines merchant, and proprietor of Los Angeles wine bar, Bar Covell, agrees. Arguably, the stemless wine glasses’ durability is their appeal. “Not worrying about breaking the stem is a nice perk! They are less easy to knock over, and they feel good in your hand,” he offers, adding stemless wine glasses are perfect lakeside, poolside, or on the golf course serving multiple purposes.
To point out, his collection of wine glasses includes styles from European maker Schott Zwiesel, whose glasses are durable, elegant, and reasonably priced. Kaner was introduced to expensive wine in college, but despite lofty beginnings, he mostly enthuses the stemless glasses’ virtue.
Correspondingly, Sawyer points to the valuable qualities of stemless wine glasses. He maintains the better options feature a slim silhouette, especially at the rim. The sommelier’s all-time favorite is Jancis Robinson’s stemless wine glass. Sawyer asserts it’s “the only ones you’ll ever need.”
Stem vs. Stemless Cons
For all the advantages of stemless wine glasses, there are drawbacks. For instance, both Kaner and Sawyer caution against warming wines via your hand’s body heat. “Be sure to remember not to hold them too long in the palm of your hand,” Kaner advises. Sawyer also warns that “smudged wine glasses” can muck up a beautiful table setting.
Additionally, beyond aesthetics, connoisseurs might find swirling, which is essential to aerate and release the aroma and wine’s nuance into the glass, is a sloppier endeavor with a stemless wine glass.
Furthermore, it can be challenging to analyze the wine in a glass without a stem. Though Kaner contends that modern stemless wine glass crafters have done an excellent job of mimicking the stemmed glasses so that “whatever wine you are drinking [will work] in a stemless style.”
Therefore, there are several key stemless wine glass styles to try out as you channel a more laid-back approach to your next verre.
Stemless Wine Glass Best For Elegant Dining
Cut-crystal stemless wine glass detailed with a hand-cut copper rim embodies the ease of a stemless silhouette but channel the elegance and high-polish finish of its stemmed counterpart to demonstrate. Additionally, they provide a quick way to dress up an otherwise relaxed outdoor table setting. Furthermore, these distinct glasses can also handle iced beverages as their delicate-looking exterior is quite durable.
For the ultimate wine enthusiast, Puiforcat Sommelier Red Wine Glasses from Nest Casa elevate stemless glasses to an art form. By combining glassware with impeccable silversmithing, these glasses sit in a silver base, resting on the table while you drink. The glass owes its design to 2004 World Champion Sommelier Enrico Bernardo and London designer Michael Anastassiades. Serve wine in a matching silver-detailed decanter whose appeal will indeed become a conversation piece. The glasses also come in white wine and dessert wine iterations.
Crystal from iconic French crystal company, Saint Louis, features storied designs that date back to 1586 and famously topped tables of Kings and Queens, has recently launched a more modern style called the Twist. With an undulating etched stream that circles the body of this stemless wine glass, this silhouette pulls double-duty as it works just as well serving wine as it does an elegant water glass to decorate any well-appointed tabletop.
Stemless Wine Glasses Best For Everyday Use
The everyday stemless wine glass is the midway point between an elevated dining experience versus a casual picnic. Brands such as the uber-popular Riedel and Janice Robinson best qualify for this category, ultimately.
Riedel O Collection
Always on point is Riedel’s O Wine Tumbler Pinot/Nebbiolo. The gold standard in stemless wine glasses, Riedel helped take the stemless silhouette from obscure oddity to tabletop essential. So popular are the Riedel glasses that they have recently added a Chardonnay and Champagne version to their stemless wine glass stable, as well.
Stemless Wine Glasses Best For Casual Use
When summer is in full swing, and outdoor dining and picnics increase in popularity, stemless wine glasses surge in popularity. And, seemingly, they can be just as satisfying to drink from as their taller and slightly more refined counterparts.
Recent events that caused restaurants to pivot their service influenced several establishments to switch from glass to single-use plates, silverware, and wine glasses. Ultimately, Go-Vino is the industry standard for cheap and cheerful though other manufacturers are beginning to beat their reasonable price.
Conversely, sometimes the attitude and styling are what makes a stemless wine glass best for casual dining.
Carlo Moretti Summer Pink
In a similar vein, fashion designer and home goods enthusiast Luisa Beccaria has designed a range of faceted light amber and pale blue glasses that add a delightful spot of color to any tabletop.
Mario Luca Giusti
Considering that ease is the point of a stemless wine glass, it makes perfect sense that faux-crystal sensation Mario Luca Giusti is the gold standard of fanciful stemless wine glasses. Rendered in a vivid array of colors and a beautiful palette-cleansing synthetic crystal, the Milly and Venezia tumblers, with their gem-like faceting, are akin to summer jewelry for wine, to demonstrate.
Coordinating Decanters Best For Stemless Wine Glasses
To complement the stemless wine glass, the Industrial Vetaria Valdernese decanter makes the perfect companion to these more graphic plays on a stemless wine glass.
Additionally, this understated yet bold crystal decanter from Baccarat was made for whiskey. But if your wine glass can try a new vessel why not your wine? The column shape with a textured body displays a diamond-shaped stopper with a sense of smart that echoes your choice for stemless wine glasses.