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Diatribe: Stems vs. No Stems: The Great Wine Glass Debate.

11/18/2013

StemlessWineGlassWe spent some quality time with good friends this weekend during which we shared a couple bottles of good champagne and a nice bottle of wine.  We drank the champagne from a set of beautiful antique crystal flutes that we save for special occasions and the wine from our everyday stemware.  At one point we found ourselves discussing stemless wine glasses.

When it comes to stemless wine glasses, we decided you either love them or you don’t.

Personally, I don’t think they’re wine glasses at all.  The stems on wine glasses serve a purpose.  Your hand warms a glass of wine, even when holding it briefly.  This is true of chilled whites as well as reds that are best served at room temperature.  Holding the glass by the stem eliminates this temperature change.

Many wine drinkers find it easier to swirl wines in glasses with stems.  Some find that glasses with stems look more elegant as a part of a formal place setting.  Others prefer them simply because of tradition.  Still more like them because the stems keep the glasses themselves from becoming covered with fingerprints.

Those who prefer the stemless glasses, known as wine tumblers, enjoy the informality and practicality that they bring to the experience.  For them, they’re often simply vessels to bring the wine from the table to the mouth.  These tumblers seem to increase in popularity from time to time.  Maybe they’re not all that bad.  I suppose if one drinks fast enough the hand won’t have a chance to warm the wine.

Do you like stemless wine glasses?

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5 Comments
  1. I like the way they “look” but, as you rightly said, the purpose of the stem is to not let your body temperature affect the wine.

    i prefer a stemmed glass.

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  2. I prefer the stems for the reasons you note, yet one thing that is made easier by no stems, is you could wash all the glasses in a dishwasher with more confidence they won’t break. I recall many a party night, washing wine glasses by hand at midnight.

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  3. Depends on the wine and depends on the occasion. Not all wines are nice enough that the temperature difference matters. Sometimes stemless is more comforting and intimate. Expensive wine: stems. Cheap wine? Coffee cups!

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  4. I prefer the wine in my belly…

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