What Makes a Good Wine Glass?

Our all-purpose in-store tasting glass!

Our all-purpose in-store tasting glass!

There are dozens of makers of wine glasses and a bewildering array of designs, shapes, and sizes. How should you choose which stems to put on your table? Here are what we think are a few key criteria:

Size.  A good wineglass needs to be big enough to hold a standard 5oz pour and still leave plenty of room to swirl the wine and release its aromas. And while really big glasses can be fun, it’s important that the glasses be small enough to hold and drink from comfortably and that they fit in your cabinets!

Clarity.  Wine is beautiful to look at as well as to sniff and sip. A good glass should be clear, and a little shine and sparkle adds to your enjoyment, too.

Thickness.  A thin-lipped glass is more pleasing to taste and drink from than a thick-rimmed one. But while super-thin, hand blown glass is a delight, all too often you only get to use it once or twice before it breaks!

Durability/Ease of Cleaning.  If you’re like us, you don’t always handle your glasses with perfect care. A great wine glass doesn’t shatter when you clink it on the cabinet shelf (or on a granite countertop), goes in the dishwasher and comes out clean and shiny.

Shape.  The shape of the wine glass changes how your wine tastes, and some wines taste much better in one shape glass than another. However … it’s almost impossible to know in advance what shape glass will flatter any specific wine vs. any other shape. In general, more crisp and/or aromatic whites show better in narrow, tapered glasses. Fruitier, low tannin reds like the same or a touch bigger stems. Complex whites (like white Burgundy/Chardonnay) and bigger reds want more room to swirl and expand. Choose a set of glasses you like to look at and hold, have a couple of different shapes to play with, and then don’t worry about it!

Why Schott Zwiesel?  The array of stemware made by Germany’s Schott Zwiesel does a great job of covering all the key bases for top-notch wine glasses – and does it at superior value prices even when they aren’t on sale.  Within each glass line, you’ll find a range of shapes and sizes that are supposed to flatter specific types of wine. In general, the designations are pretty accurate, although two or three glass types are plenty for most wine drinkers.

The real excitement, though, is in Schott Zwiesel’s patented “Tritan” glass formulation and process. The company was the first in the world to figure out how to make true crystal without lead, and now replaces lead with a proprietary set of minerals that includes titanium. You’ll see the difference right away, as titanium gives Schott Zwiesel stems a lovely shine and sparkle right out of the box.

You’ll appreciate Tritan more the longer you own and use these glasses. The Tritan process makes Schott Zwiesel glasses harder and more durable than ordinary crystal. While you can certainly break them, they resist shatter and chipping from ordinary, day-to-day knocks and clinks much better than other stems.

And – critically for us – they are dishwasher safe! They won’t come apart when you put them in the rack, don’t shatter when an errant fork or cup knocks against them, and come out of the dishwasher sparkling with much less spotting than other glasses do.

The right shapes, elegant designs, and break resistance (plus the fact that they’re dishwasher safe!) have made Schott Zwiesel our go-to glasses – we hope they become yours, too!