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Restaurant Stemware - Do You Even Care?

Bill Hunt Jan 16, 2011 07:43 PM

When I review a restaurant, it is very likely that I’ll be having wine(s) with my meal, and will also review the restaurant’s choice of stemware. In most cases, I feel that the choice of stemware will enhance my overall experience, and shows that the restaurant takes their wine program seriously, and takes me seriously, as a patron.

Now, I will admit that I am a stemware snob, and greatly appreciate good choices of glasses for the wine(s).

One contributor on a regional forum asked me about my comments on a particular restaurant’s stemware, and I tried to answer in very general terms on what I have experienced, and what I like. That got me to thinking that maybe others never even notice what a wine is served in, so long as it does not leak. I thought about where this would be most appropriate in the makeup of CH. It could be in Not About Food, but I thought that the Wine Board was the best place, as we ARE talking about wine here. If the CH MOD’s feel that it should be moved, fine.

Now, this is not about one brand, such as Riedel vs X, but is an open question on how others feel about the glasses, that their wines are served in. Does it really matter to anyone, but me? Is a plastic up OK, or do you want crystal with a US$400 bottle of wine in a restaurant? If you are only doing a US$25 B-T-G wine, does it matter to you if it comes in a Libby, restaurant-grade stem? If you have ordered a US$400 bottle, and the glasses are the “water glasses” from the table, but you see a near-by table with a US$600 wine, being served in Riedel Sommelier Bdx stems, do you even notice?

Just curious,

Hunt

  1. rworange Feb 16, 2011 06:28 PM

    From someone who is not wine savy, even I hate those stupid stemless wine glasses. I would rather drink out of a jelly jar.

    There are really only two times I notice stemware

    1. At a high end joint that uses cheap stemware. While it doesn't matter to me, it makes me wonder what other cheap substitutes may be going on in the kitchen

    2. At a low end place that uses quality stemware. That is the only time I mention stemware in my reports. It impresses me when a restaurant where you wouldn't expect good stemware, uses it.

    7 Replies
    1. re: rworange
      c oliver Feb 22, 2011 05:44 PM

      Regarding #2, could you give an example? I've not experienced that. And I agree with #1. And I also am not 'wine savvy.' :)

      1. re: c oliver
        Longing for Italy Feb 23, 2011 08:54 AM

        Not my post, but I may have an example of #2. While I'm not sure of the original definition of "low end," a restaurant I enjoyed was casual, low-to-moderate, and located in a strip mall. It had a limited menu of well prepared food, and a limited wine list with generic wine and wine glasses. But it had a separate "reserve" wine list with Reidel glasses. I talked to the owner/chef about this unusual (to me) arrangement, and he said that while he likes fine wine and good glasses, his first priority was for everyone to feel comfortable--no imposing wine or glasses unless you wanted it.

        1. re: c oliver
          rworange Feb 23, 2011 09:14 AM

          Well, I've been in GT almost a year and it hasn' happened here. Just finding decent wine, nevermind glasses, is quite the accomplishment.

          Was at a college graduation party and they broke out the fine wine ... a Charles Shaw rose. My Spanish didn't cover "Where the heck did you buy that? Is there a TJ in GT?"

          So, I just can't recall the few places where the wine glasses were a surprise in the Bay Area. Since I don't care, it isn't enough for me to store in my memory bank, since that alone wouldn't make me return to a restaurant. However, I'll note it in the post and move on.

          I can't think how to search on it as I sort of post a lot and it would be a bear fo find. As you have noted in this post, spelling doesn't matter that much to me either, so if it was a well-known brand name, I probably spelled it wrong. Usually it isn't stemware quite that good, but near to it. Above the thick glasses or tumblers ... oh, this is killing me now. I can picture the actual glass at one joint, but can't remember the name.

          1. re: rworange
            c oliver Feb 23, 2011 10:05 AM

            Don't worry; it only gets worse. Wait til you're my age :)

            1. re: rworange
              Bill Hunt Feb 24, 2011 04:02 PM

              Rworange,

              Help me here, please. "TJ" I get, but "GT" is going over my head. What is that?

              In the Bay Area, we have always been pleased with the stemware, but as travelers, I do have to admit that we're probably not hitting the great, lower-end gems, so we *should* encounter better glasses for the wines.

              Now, what used to just chap me badly was the Intl. First Lounge for United, and both the horrible wines, and the glasses. [The Red Carpet Club at SEA had a dozen local wines, and good glasses, so why the heck not SF?]

              After many years of campaigning, United finally introduced their "Premium Wine List," with... wait for it... good glasses! Unfortunately for that program, United merged with Continental 6 mos. later, and in the Continental President's Lounges, there was free wine, so United added that, in the old, horrible stemware. I still buy the Premium, just to support the program, but now with free wine, it cannot last. [Insert a crying icon here.]

              I mean, what the heck were they thinking, with all that great wine, just up (or down) the Coast, SFO should have had even better selections, than SEA. Finally, they did.

              Thanks for educating me on "GT."

              Hunt

              1. re: Bill Hunt
                rworange Feb 24, 2011 04:54 PM

                GT = Guatemala's country code.

                Interesting about the airport wine.

                1. re: rworange
                  Bill Hunt Feb 26, 2011 05:55 PM

                  Thank you. Learned something new today!

                  Appreciated,

                  Hunt

        2. w
          whiner Feb 11, 2011 10:44 PM

          Of course it matters. My local hole-in-the-wall, no reservations, cash only, Northern Italian with very little wine markup uses tumblers to serve wine. I'm ok with that since I'm spending $17 on a 14" wood oven porcini pizza. But a serious establishment must have real stemware. It must.

          1 Reply
          1. re: whiner
            natewrites Feb 16, 2011 03:20 PM

            I like Reidel wine glasses. I like a long stem and big bowl.

            I'm MIFFED when I see a restaurant give me one of those mini bowl, thick-glass, wine glasses. They hold maybe 3 oz. of wine and are ugly to look at. And when the glasses are so short, it's just crummy to hold on to.

          2. z
            zinFAN Feb 11, 2011 06:37 PM

            I'm really pissed at restaurants that have eliminated even the cheap stemware in favor of stemless tumblers. You see this a lot at gastropubs & small-plate eateries. I for one love to swirl my wine & inhale the aromas. Half the enjoyment is in the nose.

            1. w
              wineglas1 Feb 11, 2011 02:50 PM

              Yes I do care as stated earlier and I hate bringing my own to the restaurant but I have to tonight as I am not drinking Brunello out of a thick dishwasher safe glass.

              1. waitress Feb 4, 2011 06:50 PM

                It is one of my pet peeves, I am floored when restaurants take so much time with the menu, local produce, seasonal menus, creative wine list and then big ole fat rimmed glasses from Libby! Sends me into orbit. And don't even get me started on flat sparkling in restaurants!

                8 Replies
                1. re: waitress
                  z
                  zin1953 Feb 4, 2011 07:20 PM

                  You have to remember that it wasn't all that long ago that restaurants (and the bars *in* restaurants) prided themselves in being able to serve "House Wines" that cost as little as $0.03 (three cents) per ounce, and making over 97% profit (+4,000% markup). Trying to sell a imported Chardonnay that cost $0.10/ounce got me laughed out of more than one restaurant . . .

                  1. re: zin1953
                    Bill Hunt Feb 9, 2011 07:42 PM

                    Jason,

                    There are some areas of the US, where I am afraid they'd still be laughing, but at their own expense. Some have just "never gotten it, or "gotten over it."

                    Though I love dining in the Deep South, that is one area, where I will always bring my own stemware, as I have been burned too many times, by wine programs that haven't a clue. Though, and I am talking only the US here, the Deep South is not alone, even by a stretch.

                    Had the "Libby glasses" at a highly-ranked Midwestern steakhouse, and for a bottle of Caymus SS, and a Shafer Hillside Select. When I grabbed the sommelier, and asked "what the heck is going on here?" he replied, "we only have four good red wine glasses, and they are in use." This from a place that thinks nothing of charging US$500 for a bottle of Cab, and holds a WS "Best of Award of Excellence" most years, plus a few "Grand Awards" too. [Of course there could well be an off-shoot thread just from that last statement... ]

                    Hope I am not repeating myself, at least in this thread. When we moved to Phoenix, AZ, we immediately had company. These folk were winos from Colorado. We had gotten a rec. for a "true Phoenix SW restaurant, with a great wine list." We all headed over. Neat restaurant and a wonderful evening to dine on their patio. I started with a lovely FR Chard, and when the stemware came, ask for something different. They came back with three choices, and none was what I wanted, but they said "sorry, that is the best that we have." OK, for the meal, I got a Randy Dunn Howell Mtn, with some age on it. I asked for the best stems in the house. The server came back and said, "sorry, we only have three good red wine glasses." I instructed him to give one to each my wife, and to our two guests, and then give me whatever. When I paid the bill, I noticed a reply card, so took it. I filled it in, and talked about the good, but also the bad and the ugly, especially the stemware. We had new wino friends down about a month later, and the evening was going to be lovely, so went back. Can't recall what I started with, but commented to the server, that we'd take the three good glasses, and to give me the "regular."She paused, and said, "Oh, but we have some great wine glasses now. A patron sent in a reply card, and the day after the owner read it, he destroyed all the regular glasses and replaced every one with really good stemware, and appropriate to the wine. We had classes on which glasses to use with which wine. Which glasses would you like." Hey, at least they read their mail, and it mattered. Over the decade, they have even moved up a notch, or two, and take that part very, very seriously.

                    "Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't," Chief Dan George.

                    I'm just glad to see that I am not alone here.

                    Thanks,

                    Hunt

                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                      j
                      jock Feb 10, 2011 07:02 AM

                      VG ???

                      1. re: jock
                        Bill Hunt Feb 10, 2011 06:45 PM

                        Jock,

                        Ya' lost me here, and I can usually follow pretty well.

                        In this case, it was Lon's at the Hermosa.

                        Just so happened that I was attending an event hosted my Fred Unger, and he asked me if I had ever dined there before. I went into great detail, and he admitted having read that report card, and immediately acting upon it.

                        For a few other reasons, we had ceased to entertain there, and I explained the reasons. He told me that he would immediately address those issues, and we have now been back a dozen times, for different events.

                        Happened to be seated next to him at Marcellino's opening, and he commented, "Oh, I remember meeting you. You were the person, who enticed me to upgrade the stemware at Lon's." I nodded affirmatively.

                        Now, "VG's?"

                        Hunt

                        PS - we both still miss the "bistro."

                        1. re: Bill Hunt
                          j
                          jock Feb 11, 2011 06:39 AM

                          for years vg had awful pink stems with libby bowls. i thought maybe it was you who finally got him to upgrade.

                          that makes sense because fred would be the only way to get a quick response at hermosa.

                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                            c oliver Feb 16, 2011 05:49 PM

                            Hunt,

                            You point out something that needs to be hammered into people's heads about restaurant dining. If there's a problem, communicate with a decision. Politely but firmly. Way more effective than just doing it here. Although that does feel good :)

                            ETA: oops. decision maker, not a decision :)

                            1. re: c oliver
                              Bill Hunt Feb 22, 2011 05:36 PM

                              Oh I completely agree. While I do reviews of many restaurants here, if I have an issue, the management is the first (well, the server might be first, but you get the picture) to know. If they do not, how can one expect them to correct problems?

                              I hope that I never blind-side any restaurant, by posting here, or similar, first. If I cannot articulate my problem to them, I should keep quiet here.

                              Hunt

                              1. re: Bill Hunt
                                c oliver Feb 22, 2011 05:43 PM

                                I had a manager once who told me that I would never hear about a problem for the first time in my performance evaluation. I've carried that little gem forward for about 20 years.

                  2. ChefJune Jan 31, 2011 08:02 AM

                    I haven't weighed in on this question yet. It's a good one, Hunt!

                    Yes, I care about the wine glasses the restaurant uses, unless it's a neighborhood place where we order "table wine" with our meal. If we're out for a nice dinner, paying premium prices, I resent being presented with thick rimmed "Libby, restaurant-grade stems," as you characterzed.

                    I don't want to have to take my own glasses to the restaurant, but I will if I have to. And we've found that even the low-priced "daily" wines we enjoy for dinner on, say, a Tuesday, are enhanced in both aromas and flavor if served in our "good" stemware.

                    When I do restaurant consulting, I emphasize to my clients that "good" stemware doesn't have to be Riedel to make a difference. These days there are many lesser known brands out there making appropriate stemware. They don't need to pay a fortune and they all have found that advice to be profit-making.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ChefJune
                      Bill Hunt Feb 9, 2011 07:22 PM

                      Thanks for you input and insight.

                      To me, good stemware is tantamount to using good flatware. Who wants to eat with a stamped fork, with flashing from the stamper on the edges? It does not need to be Christofle flatware, but it should not come from the "cheap" selections at Wal-Mart either.

                      Appreciated,

                      Hunt

                    2. steve h. Jan 25, 2011 08:09 PM

                      There's a modest pizza place in Rome that Deb and I visit every March when we're in town. We always go late at night, order the same pizza and get a jug of the house red.. Early in our tenure, we got the equivalent of water tumblers for our wine. In the past few years, the stemware was quietly placed on our table. A sign of respect? Perhaps. Did it piss off others? Oh, yes. Does the wine taste better in the stemware? Absolutely.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: steve h.
                        Bill Hunt Jan 30, 2011 08:42 PM

                        Hey, next thing you know, they will share the "official handshake" with you.

                        If you do not mind sharing, I'd love to get the details on this restaurant, as we will be in Rome in May, and have some free time. I know that it's OT for this thread, but I'd love to have the rec. Also, if you can tell me the "secret handshake," I will be indebted... [Grin]

                        Thanks,

                        Hunt

                        1. re: Bill Hunt
                          steve h. Jan 31, 2011 07:42 AM

                          Romans love their pizza. It's a late supper thing rather than a lunch meal. I go to Baffetto near the Piazza Navona and Baffetto2 near the Campo de' Fiori. The "double-secret handshake" is repetition: Romans love repeat customers (as opposed to day-tripping tourists just passing through). The Baffetto places are wildly popular, raucous and rustic in the extreme. I wouldn't think of arriving before 10:30 p.m..

                          Casa Bleve is my favorite wine bar in Rome. Their food is excellent. Pricey but worth it. One rung lower is Al Bric. Pop over to the Italy board and we'll flesh out some thoughts for you.

                          --steve

                          1. re: steve h.
                            Bill Hunt Feb 9, 2011 07:18 PM

                            Steve,

                            Thank you. I have made note, and hope to get by each, in May.

                            Appreciated,

                            Hunt

                      2. njfoodies Jan 25, 2011 05:54 AM

                        I would have to guess that 80+% of the restaurants that we go to here in New Jersey as well as Philadelphia and the surrounding PA area are BYO. That being said, I always bring our own stemware. I have the Riedel carrying case, that can easily fit 2 glasses, as well as a bottle of wine.

                        I also have a Ravencroft (or something close to that) 6 bottle carrier, that I can fit 6 stems in, or any combination of stems and bottles. I have found very few BYO's that have adequate stemware, and I would much rather use mine. Our stemware of choice is the Riedel Sommelier Series Burgundy glass, or the Riedel XL (formerly the Oregon pinot), or the Vinum Cabernet/Bordeaux, or even the Grape Series syrah, as well as the Vitus Series pinot noir glass. We have so many different Riedel glasses, and it really depends on the wine we are drinking. People think we're nuts with so many different types of stems, but then we have a get together over the summer, and people realize why we need so many glasses when we have 50 plus people over. I hate having people drinking good wine out of plastic, and vowed never to let that happen again some 10 years ago. Since then, we've amassed a nice collection of stems.

                        Back to restaurants, there have been very few restaurants that I have been to with memorable stemware, but a few restaurants come to mind:

                        Gordon Ramsay at the London - NYC: great stems here, and I remember enjoying a 2005 Kosta Browne Koplen pinot noir on our first wedding anniversary.

                        Blackbird - Collingswood, NJ: nice stems for a BYO, and perhaps the best stems at a BYO in this area.

                        La Mezzaluna - Princeton, NJ: I forget if they were Schott or Zwiesel or what they are, but they are nice stems, and the owner has his staff wash and polish them by hand. This too is a BYO.

                        Berns - Tampa, NJ: need I really go into detail? This restaurants reputation speaks for itself.

                        Other than that, I cannot think of many memorable stems at various restaurants, but I think if I am spending several hundred dollars on a bottle, I should have good stemware. After all, I think that is part of the service, and should factor into what I am paying for a bottle of wine. This should be part of the sommeliers responsibility no?

                        I can however say that I can't imagine bringing my own stemware to a non-BYO. I suppose however if I knew they served their wine out of dixie cups I might...it's actually funny to see the looks people give us when we bust out our own stems. We were however at a restaurant somewhere once using the Sommelier Series Burgundy glasses and the waiter said that another table asked for the same glasses we were using! LOL! He then had to break it to them that we brough them ourselves. Funny! Good thread! -mJ

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: njfoodies
                          o
                          ospreycove Jan 25, 2011 09:58 AM

                          Stemware has its place when the experience is built on the "pomp and ceremony" and not just the food. I have had memorable food/dinners in both scenarios; where there was and was not any over the edge thought given to the table top setting. In the case of not going to extremes on stemware/china/et al it was not deemed important to the host/cook but instead loving care of the preparation was certainly reflected in the dishes and fine wines served. One of my favorite places, (restaurants) is in Sulmona, Abruzzo. Quite a real setting in its simple elegance with food, and a local and National wine list that is almost unmatched in the rest of the region. Without all the fluff, the food and well researched wine list reign like Kings at La Locanda di Gino, Sulmona.

                          1. re: njfoodies
                            Bill Hunt Jan 25, 2011 07:50 PM

                            There are a few locations in the US, where we do bring our own stems, but that is usually because we have dined there before, and know that they have great food, and a very good wine list, but just do not feel, as we do, on the stemware. The Deep South comes to my mind.

                            OTOH, we have been blind-sided by some restaurants,and wished that we HAD brought the stemware.

                            Also, we love to have our stemware, in the hotel. In some, a US$5.00 to the sommelier down in the restaurant will score a couple of nice stems, beyond what is in the room, or available from room service. When that happens, I always hand wash, and make sure to return them to the restaurant with my thanks. I never let housekeeping near them, during our stay - same with my stems.

                            Hunt

                            1. re: njfoodies
                              invinotheresverde Feb 1, 2011 12:04 AM

                              "...but I think if I am spending several hundred dollars on a bottle, I should have good stemware. After all, I think that is part of the service, and should factor into what I am paying for a bottle of wine."

                              I'm just curious if you're still talking about BYOs here or normal restaurants where you purchase their wine. I believe you're implying the latter, but I'm just checking.

                              1. re: invinotheresverde
                                njfoodies Feb 10, 2011 09:01 AM

                                Yes, implying a non-BYO. -mJ

                            2. CCSPRINGS Jan 24, 2011 05:00 AM

                              Stemware matters. I use proper stemware at home for wine, champagne, cognac. Though not expensive, they are appropriate. Some are family pieces that are etched and ground.

                              I loathe the stemless wine glasses that look like oversize poached egg cups. Are they to prevent spillage and breakage? Or just a modern twist?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: CCSPRINGS
                                eatzalot Jan 25, 2011 09:25 AM

                                I wonder about those stemless cups too, CC. I can't speak to their merits without experience, but a few very experienced tasters I know use them. My impression is it's for sensory, not mechanical, reasons. But also, stemware can last almost indefinitely and one of the ways for makers to generate new demand is to promote new styles and fads.

                                Still it was gratifying when friends, from decades of buying one of the very best and best-known CA Cabernets, assembled a long vertical tasting. Its very well-respected winemaker joined us, bringing exactly the same compact Schott-Zwiesel "Burgundy" glasses I've used for this purpose for 30 years ($2 each, new). For once, no one joked about them.

                              2. d
                                dinwiddie Jan 18, 2011 03:47 PM

                                A restaurant doesn't have to offer great stemware, but if they have a decent wine list, I expect appropriate stemware. There is nothing more irritating than getting a decent (and my definition may be different than others) bottle of wine and being offered six ounce wineglasses to drink it from. As I have often noted, I tend to take wine with me to restaurants about half the time. I'm not so anal as some of my friends who bring their own stemware (unless the restaurant has asked us to do so) but I do not want to go anyplace where I am going to drink a SNQ from less than adequate stemware.

                                When I was in Italy recently, the house wine often came in small thick glasses, but the wine was not anything special either. The better the restaurant, the more I expect good stemware.

                                1. Bill Hunt Jan 17, 2011 06:08 PM

                                  Great comments so far, and exactly what I had hoped to elicit. I applaud and thank all, who have responded.

                                  Thank you all,

                                  Hunt

                                  1. l
                                    LPhila Jan 17, 2011 02:03 PM

                                    I do notice and enjoy when a restaurant uses better stemware, but for me, if it was lacking, it wouldn't be a reason to knock the restaurant or my experience there.

                                    I also never liked the price point cutoff for offering better stemware. To offer it for the $400 bottle but not the $600 bottle seems petty and would put me off as a diner.

                                    1. w
                                      wineglas1 Jan 17, 2011 01:55 PM

                                      Stemware does matter. With the average consumer they don't have an idea about the importance of stems but once they are educated they quickly learn the importance.

                                      1. s
                                        souvenir Jan 17, 2011 01:42 PM

                                        The shape and quality of a wine glass definitely matter to me at restaurants. I want a stem and a non-rolled rim.

                                        I don't want to hold on to a glass and warm the wine. Stemless wine bowls in many of the larger red wine sizes are also awkward for my hands to hold.

                                        I get the use of tumbler type wine glasses at a very casual place, but I also expect the wine to be good and inexpensive, since they seem to be emulating French or Italian table wine traditions.

                                        One example is a neighborhood style place that has worked with a local-ish winery to offer a red wine and a white wine by the glass, half and full carafe options. The carafe option is $18. They serve the wine in tumblers, and that makes sense to me even if I would prefer a stem.

                                        What makes less sense to me is another "casual" place that has a more extensive and pricey wine list. When one orders sparkling wine by the glass, one gets stemmed nice champagne glasses. But then when one orders still wines, at $20 a glass (as opposed to a carafe at the other place), they come in tumblers. Yes they are nice tumblers, but they are still tumblers.

                                        For example, I'd be much happier in restaurants with a Riedel Vinum gourmet glass with a short stem than I would be with a Riedel O style glass. They are both around the same price point. Are the O style glasses really that much less prone to breakage?

                                        1. c
                                          chezdy Jan 17, 2011 09:37 AM

                                          completely not - jelly jars I find somewhat charming...

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: chezdy
                                            PolarBear Jan 17, 2011 10:40 AM

                                            Here in the central valley of CA, dining in a Basque restaurant the wine wouldn't taste right if it weren't chilled and served in a small jelly jar. ;>P

                                          2. l
                                            Leibowitz Jan 17, 2011 06:49 AM

                                            Yes, and, more importantly, no.

                                            While I like to hold a nice piece of crystal, the experience is what matters. Go for a nice long hike and drink your wine out of the same mug you'd used for instant campfire coffee that morning.

                                            Wine does not require stemware to be great.

                                            However, if you're paying for a specific experience, it's a nice touch.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Leibowitz
                                              sunshine842 Jan 17, 2011 07:33 AM

                                              My camp kitchen includes Lexan wine glasses. With stems.

                                              1. re: Leibowitz
                                                eatzalot Jan 17, 2011 09:36 AM

                                                Cheers for Leibowitz's eloquence. Wine does not require stemware to be great. Yet fine stemware has a place.

                                                There are obviously two factors, function and form. I've always focused on smelling and tasting wine rather than admiring its vessels, and like many other wine geeks with experience, bought most glasses for function.

                                                When I got into fine wines in the 1970s, a prominent school of US winegeek wisdom maintained that glasses are secondary and don't much matter, if large enough to develop aroma. Cut crystal was held as (and remains) the extreme absurdity of style over function. By about 2000, wine-trade tasting friends had shown me that different shapes, even of similar volume, do emphasize different parts of the aroma. By that time too, Riedel's nouveau marketing campaign was underway. People striving to show wine hipness pointedly bought and used such fashionable brands (even if they knew little about wine -- like people just learning a recreational sport who buy the most expensive equipment possible).

                                                All that's on one hand. On the other, everyone appreciates fine craftsmanship, glasses pleasing to hold and to use, uniform thin glass bowls. But some of these form qualities serve function too. I still look mainly to function when enjoying good wines in restaurants, ESPECIALLY with rare and valuable bottles, but in practice, functional restaurant stemware usually is stylish too. (Side comment: high-end restaurants here in the SF area use quality Riedel-type restaurant glasses costing far less. Ask a respected sommelier for advice, unless you're the sort who buys clothes with designer labels on the outside.)

                                              2. c
                                                CocoTO Jan 17, 2011 06:33 AM

                                                Like others, it depends on the dining experience I am going for, I can drink an acceptable bottle of plonk from bistro tumblers, but an excellent wine needs a glass that gives it room to breathe, and to be swirled and to be nosed. Country bistro or elegant restaurant, two of my pet peeves when it comes to stemware are those tiny glasses that barely hold 4 oz., or any glass that has that rounded "ridge" on the lip.

                                                1. m
                                                  Maximilien Jan 17, 2011 03:03 AM

                                                  The "higher-end" the restaurant is, the better the glasses should be; and it's not just the hardware, it is also about the the "software", i.e. the waiters and other staff that will handle the glasses; and the management of all of it; what are the "default" glasses to be put on the table (should be good enough for, example, 90% of the wines); when do they have to change glasses ? is there a price line (or wine style) when they will use the "better" glasses ?

                                                  In a perfect world, a restaurant will have gazillion glasses for every type of wines, but that will not happen (economics).
                                                  In general, if the restaurant owners have enough sense to think about their wine list, then they should also think about the glasses they will serve the wines in.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Maximilien
                                                    d
                                                    Dee S Jan 27, 2011 01:10 PM

                                                    +1 to you Maximilien and to you sunshine842.

                                                    We think a like. I'd like a better restaurant to use a glass appropriate for the wine (I don't do bottles out unless with a group) and the higher quality the restaurant, the higher quality the glass. I ate at a restaurant that used wine appropriate Riedel Vinum and it made me very happy (and I enjoyed my wine oh so much!). Having said all that, we don't have many opportunities to dine out at establishments that have a wine list worth testing. I live in a fairly rural area and have recently found a wine store who appreciates what I like so I enjoy my wine in the comfort of my home.

                                                    Not that I'm a wine snob but I pretty much exclusively use Riedel Sommelier series at home (my hubby indulges my hobby) and would not expect to see that in a restaurant....unless that restaurant has people on staff to feed me peeled grapes. *grin*

                                                    Thanks for starting this thread Bill. I always enjoy what you have to say and rarely contribute. I feel more comfortable sharing my opinions on the hardware rather than the software, simply because palates differ so much.

                                                    Dee

                                                  2. sunshine842 Jan 17, 2011 02:33 AM

                                                    It depends.

                                                    I agree with the comment that at the little place down at the corner with a glass of the house red...bog-standard Libby or Arcoroc or whatever is fine.

                                                    If I'm dropping some cash on dinner and wine, yeah, it'd be nice if you brought out a crystal glass to pour it into.

                                                    I don't drink wine from a tumbler (or from plastic...shudder) at home, so darned if I'm going to do it somewhere else.

                                                    1. a
                                                      AGM_Cape_Cod Jan 17, 2011 02:23 AM

                                                      I am aware of stemware. I always like when they adjust the stemware according to the wine ordered. It is annoying to order a big Burgundy or Zinfandel and have it served in small glasses where it can't breathe.

                                                      1. s
                                                        sedimental Jan 16, 2011 11:33 PM

                                                        Yes, it does matter to me at a restaurant....and that goes for all tableware and silverware too. I don't mind so much at a bar or at an event. I hate tumblers -and I am trying to like the Riedel "O"...but I am not sure I am going to be able to like them.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: sedimental
                                                          c oliver Jan 17, 2011 01:56 PM

                                                          I've been using those as water glasses on my table. With water and wine glasses and everything else on the table, there's just fewer stems to keep from knocking into :)

                                                          1. re: sedimental
                                                            Bill Hunt Jan 17, 2011 06:02 PM

                                                            I find the O line to be awkward for me, whether drinking from, or cleaning. Others love them, but I have yet to warm to them.

                                                            Hunt

                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                              z
                                                              zin1953 Jan 24, 2011 06:48 AM

                                                              You and me both! The one exception to "stemless stemware" that I *do* like were some cognac snifters I got from Martell Cognac many years (25?) ago -- picture "classic" brandy snifter but w/no stem. Since you warm the brandy with your hands anyway (as opposed to wine), I thought the lack of a stem just made that easier!

                                                              Cheers,
                                                              Jason

                                                              1. re: zin1953
                                                                njfoodies Jan 25, 2011 05:58 AM

                                                                Sometimes we'll bring the Riedel Tyrol series glasses to offlines when we know we'll be doing flights of 4-6 wines at a time. To me, it's a lot easier to bring a dozen of these -vs- a dozen stems. -mJ

                                                            2. re: sedimental
                                                              r
                                                              Rella Mar 7, 2011 01:46 PM

                                                              I've been using the Riedel O glasses (or are they "tumblers"?) for a few years now.

                                                              One thing I've noted is that when they aren't filled, when they are knocked over, they just sort of roll around. This is a surprise when it happens.

                                                              I noted that, was it R. Parker?, paraphrasing, said that he wanted a very clean glass.
                                                              So, I wash them myself always, rinse with reverse osmosis water.

                                                              It is a joy.

                                                            3. westsidegal Jan 16, 2011 09:13 PM

                                                              i prefer stemware that is "in between," that is:
                                                              i don't want to be handling a glass that is so precious and fragile that i really need to stay aware of the glass, nor do i like stemware that has a lip so thick that that it makes me feel like i'm drinking from a Libby's glass that came from Target.

                                                              if a restaurant serves their wine in tumblers, i simply won't drink any wine while at that establishment no matter what.

                                                              1. m
                                                                midcity Jan 16, 2011 08:48 PM

                                                                Following on this from the NOLA board--and hopefully my question won't get bumped to some other board--if someone were going to invest in two to four medium- to high-end wine glasses for home, what would you recommend?

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: midcity
                                                                  Bill Hunt Jan 17, 2011 06:00 PM

                                                                  Personally, I like the Riedel Vinum series. They offer a lot of different designs, but one can certainly do well with some standards.

                                                                  Schott-Zwiesel does some nice stemware too. Spieglau (purchased by Riedel) has several lines, as well. My travel stems are Tritan, and so far, unbroken.

                                                                  Others will likely have some additional brands, and lines to explore.

                                                                  Good luck,

                                                                  Hunt

                                                                  1. re: midcity
                                                                    m
                                                                    Mother of four Jan 27, 2011 01:16 PM

                                                                    These are the ones that I use. I like the weight of them and the size. They do very well in the dishwasher too.

                                                                    https://www.sparklingstemware.com/all...

                                                                  2. z
                                                                    zin1953 Jan 16, 2011 08:37 PM

                                                                    Doesn't that depend upon WHERE dinner is? In other words, if I am dining at, say, Gary Danko or Restaurant August, I have one expectation for stemware . . . if I'm at the corner "joint," I have another.

                                                                    I am not one to bring my own stems to a restaurant. But OTOH, I can't stand places that serve wine in "bistro" tumblers.

                                                                    Cheers,
                                                                    Jason

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: zin1953
                                                                      Bill Hunt Jan 17, 2011 05:58 PM

                                                                      Jason,

                                                                      It certainly does for me, and thanks for contributing your thoughts.

                                                                      I grade a true fine-dining restaurant down, with inappropriate stemware, more harshly, than a lesser establishment.

                                                                      Really want to see how others approach this question.

                                                                      Appreciated, as always,

                                                                      Hunt

                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                        njfoodies Jan 25, 2011 05:56 AM

                                                                        Don't ya just love going to a place that has those small, round, "Chianti bowls?" Those are the absolute worst....well, one of the worst... -mJ

                                                                        1. re: njfoodies
                                                                          c oliver Jan 25, 2011 09:03 PM

                                                                          What's a "Chianti bowl"?

                                                                          1. re: c oliver
                                                                            njfoodies Feb 10, 2011 09:22 AM

                                                                            This is kind of an extrememe example with the color, but it is the best picture I could find to give the shape. It is a short and squatty kind of glass with an opening that you can stick your whole head in practically. I'll see if I can find a better pic. -mJ

                                                                             
                                                                            1. re: njfoodies
                                                                              c oliver Feb 16, 2011 05:44 PM

                                                                              OMG, isn't that glass the worst??? But I see what you mean now. Thanks.

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