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Wine Glass

For the first time last week, I went to a popular Spanish tapas restaurant in Boston called Toro. When we ordered a bottle of Rioja (can't remember which one), the wine was served in glasses (ones used normally for liquor e.g. scotch), and not traditional wine glasses(w/a stem). Does anyone know why?

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  1. Its kindof a new fad in stem??ware. The sales pitch is that your hand warms up the wine, but i think that it's probably a desire for a new hip thing. I suppose it benefits the restaurant with less breakage and the ability to pack in twice as much stemware in a load of dishes because the racks are half the size. I dont like them myself.

    4 Replies
    1. re: chrisinroch

      what was interesting though, was that it wasn't one of the new wine glasses, minus the stem. it was an actual glass. something i would drink liquor (scotch, whiskey) in. it is a nice restaurant, owned by a local "celebrity" chef. maybe it was something he experienced in tapas restaurants while in Spain?

      1. re: drewames03

        Oh I see. I've had wine served to me in italy in something more like a small antique juice glass. Thinner than a lowball. These were cheap young local wines, meant to be drunk everyday with your everyday meals. It could be that he's trying to be more informal about the wine and trying to show this "everyday" aspect of wine drinking in his home region.

        1. re: chrisinroch

          Ken Oringer's home region is New Jersey.

      2. re: chrisinroch

        > The sales pitch is that your hand warms up the wine

        which is actually bad for wine unless it was taken out of a fridge or something like that.

        I would simply refuse to drink any better than average wine this way.

      3. If they were glasses that you would usually get a gin and tonic in, I have no idea why they served you wine in it. If it looked like the bulb of a wine glass or just like a wine glass minus the stem, it's normal. I remember first seeing these glasses around 5 years ago. Reidel launched this line called the o tumbler. It was basically their traditional glasses minus the stem. Why Reidel did this? It was done to make they glasses fit in the dish washer. Also, when a wine glass breaks, most likely it breaks at the weakest part of the glass, the stem. The downfall is that your hand around the bulb warms the wine.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jocey

          the glasses were ones you would get gin and tonic in. i am familiar with reidel glasses.

        2. most spaniards i know, even wine producers, treat wine as an everyday accompaniment to food. of course, they have special wines for special meals and occasions, but tapas are not fancy.

          1. Perhaps your waiter was drinking too much Rioja?

            1. I remember being served wine in glasses like that when I was in Italy years ago. I don't know if it's true, but perhaps that is the tradition in the two countries?

              4 Replies
              1. re: Missmoo

                I've never been served wine in a highball glass in Italy. Vermouth, yes.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  You're right, I'm thinking of the juice type glasses described above.

                2. re: Missmoo

                  Williams-Sonoma's classic "Picardy" tumblers (now remodeled into "Siena") are what French bistros used to serve up all the time, way back. They're beautiful and indestructible, and demand a cool, label-free bottle of house red, preferably from the tap of a Rhone coop.

                  1. re: obob96

                    For the record, the Duralex *Picardie* glassware line was only sold (not designed or manufactured) by Williams-Sonoma. Within the last ten years, the glasses have been sold through approximately 5 or 6 retailers. They are now sold at Cost Plus.


                    More on Duralex can be found here:


                    P.S. The Picardies have been our house glass for years now, and the glass from which most of our everyday wine is consumed...

                3. My wife who spent many years in France told me it was not uncommon even in France to have wine served this way - it was often done in a small bistro-like place and they would pour you wine from a carafe. It was inexpensive house wine often served at lunch time. No white table cloth, no uncorking of new bottle, etc.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: olasek

                    I think Europe in general has a much more informal relationship with wine. Except for business class hotel restaurants, I cant even remember being handed an extensive wine list similar to what you would get at an upscale american restaurant. Maybe its a function of the types of places that I like to frequent when traveling over there, but usually its just a choice between varietals or even as simple as "rosso o bianco?" In Germany, the choice was typically the level of residual sugar in your carafe of local reisling.

                    My long rambling post has a simple point...maybe we (myself included) tend to be more snobby about our wine and our wine service than we need to be.

                    1. re: olasek

                      I've often been served wine in tumblers in France and Italy, but never in a highball glass.

                    2. I've had wine served to me in small juice or scotch size glasses in restaurants before. It's usually been when the restaurant is trying to set off a homey, small countryside restaurant vibe.

                      1. Many unpretentious restaurants in both France and Italy serve wine in simple tumblers.