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May 29, 2011 01:55 PM

Riedel wine glasses

Why are the Sommelier line Bordeaux glass larger than the Vinum? 30oz vs 21.5oz? Are they both made the same way? (e.g. blown). What makes the Sommelier line so much more expensive? $140.00 CDN for each Sommelier Bordeaux glass vs. $76 for 2 Vinum.

What kind of wine glasses do you use?

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  1. Sommeliers are completely mouth blown and the size is a function of chutzpah as much as anything else...also they easily break and are hard to clean...Vinum is partially machine-made and pretty good (I use them) should be able to get them for much less than $76/2...Amazon has them for

    4 Replies
    1. re: penthouse pup

      Break easily is an understatement. One of the sauternes sommeliers broke when l poured the wine in, true story. First time l had used the glass, the vendor did replace it.

      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

        Ok thanks guys, Was just curious about the Sommelier series. Was looking at buying from the Vinum series originally any how.

        Do either of you have experience with Riedel decanters? Any models to avoid? I'm probably going to buy the "Ultra" first. I think that runs $300.00 CDN. Not sure if I'll need another...don't entertain much at home.

        Riedel Canada no longer sells the "sauternes sommeliers" any how. Must be some design flaw.

        1. re: BDD888

          Why do you want to spend/waste so much money???

          Spiegelau is owned by Reidel; Spiegelau glasses are more durable than Riedel; Speigllau glasses are just as good as Reidel; Spiegelau glasses are more affordable than Riedel.

          As for decanters, there's nothing special about Riedel decanters except the price.

          That said, if you like the DESIGN, that's one thing. But if it's about the name . . .

          1. re: BDD888

            I have issues with the use of the various "duck" decanters. I do like the look of the Lyra, but it's tough to clean, and then to dry. My general "ships decanters" dry nicely on my various racks.

            One friend has a bunch of Riedel "ducks," and I get pressed into service pouring from them. They must know that it's me, as they make the biggest messes. He can pour from them just fine, but I do not seem capable of doing so.

            Good luck,


            PS - while I have several Sommelier line glasses, my normal ones are the Vinums, and I have not had one complaint. I do have some Spiegelaus, but they predate the acquisition.

      2. Another perspective for you (since you did ask :)): after recently completing wine certification courses, I realized that I really only need a set of INAO tasting glasses. We use them for everything- white, red, sparkling, fortified wines, and liqueurs. The others break too easily in our house, and I didn't want to be constantly replacing them.

        9 Replies
        1. re: sfumato

          I learned this the hard way as well. There are some very nice glasses out there but around my home I've had such bad luck with breakage Ive just given up and done exactly the same thing.

          1. re: twyst

            You ended up with "INAO" glasses? Never heard of them. Will Google...

            zin...I didn't know Spiegelau is owned by Riedel. I was looking at Riedel because they seem to be "the glass make" to own. Only brand I keep reading about. Will look into Spiegelau since you say they are cheaper and more durable. Thanks.

            1. re: BDD888

              Riedel's are much nicer in feel and finish...but I have broken all of mine by simply WASHING them. Not worth it. I no longer buy just just a certain kind. I have a variety from cheap- but- nice to heavy crystal to bistro type glasses. I buy all in sets of 4's or 8's and just make room. Variety is more fun anyway ;)

              1. re: sedimental

                HAH! That's not too reassuring. :) So fragile. Zin (Jason) recommends Spiegelau (now owned by Riedel). Said they are cheaper and much more durable. Have any experience with this brand? Though, some owners of Riedel Vinum have no complaints. It's the Sommelier line that is problem. I would have thought Riedel would have better quality control. This is one of their elite lines.

                1. re: BDD888

                  Don't take this the wrong way, but you don't know glassware . . . .

                  Sommelier is a line that is completely mouth- (hand-)blown, and are much more difficult to make -- and more costly to produce -- than their Vinum series, which are machine-blown and (allegedly) dishwasher safe. I have a lot of Vinum, I have a "handful" of Sommelier. Both will break if you look at them funny, and I don't trust the dishwasher with ANY decent wine glass, period -- regardless of the manufacturer.

                  As my Sommelier glasses break, I throw them out. As my Vinum glasses break, I replace them with Spiegelau (as needed).

                  I avoid Riedel decanters like the plague, preferring either something like this -- -- but without the punt; or something like this -- -- but without the metal around the rim.

                  1. re: zin1953

                    LOL!! Why would any one take that the wrong way? Hmmm... Don't worry I have a pretty thick skin. :) Though, they do say "...if you have nothing good to say...". :) Funny no one else has spoken to me like that here. Having said that...I was totally new to glassware. I admit it. Have zero experience owning glassware (esp for wines). But I am reading up...Googling up some information all the time...nothing wrong with that...gotta start somewhere. :) just as I am very new to wines....never pretended to be anything else but an admitted novice...hence the type of questions I've been asking :P

                    Still, I would have thought Riedel would have made sure their glass would be of the best quality. "Shatter resistent". Like the Spiegelau and Schkot Zweizel.


                    SZ also has a YouTube video showing them doing the same break test.

                    Out of curiosity...why did you in your words "waste so much money..." on Riedel glassware? Not only did you buy Riedel glasswaret you bought from one of their costlier Sommelier line in addition to Vinum. :) Are YOU sure YOU know glassware??? (wink, wink) HAAA!!

                    1. re: BDD888

                      >>> Out of curiosity...why did you in your words "waste so much money..." on Riedel glassware? Not only did you buy Riedel glasswaret (sic) you bought from one of their costlier Sommelier line in addition to Vinum. <<<

                      1) I started tasting and learning about wines in 1963, and entered the wine trade in 1969. I worked in production at several wineries in California, in retail stores, chains and restaurants; I was worked in wholesale, and I imported wines from around the world into the US.

                      2) The Sommelier glasses I received were a present from Georg Riedel.

                      3) Most of the Vinum glasses were given to my wife and I as wedding presents, except those that I've purchased to replace the ones that broke . . . until I switched to buying Spiegelau stems as replacements. I no longer buy Riedel glassware for use in my own home.

                      4) The only Riedel glasses that I DO still buy are the (relatively) inexpensive red and white Ouverture series, which I use when teaching. I want my students to be exposed to better glassware, and the Ouvertures are often sold in "Buy 6 - Get 2 Free" boxes (see as an example). The original box doubles as my "carrying case" between my home and the classes I teach.

                      5) The only real "shatter resistant" wine glasses I know are made of plastic.

                  2. re: BDD888

                    I also had the Riedel Somm series. They broke while hand washing - either the stem broke in half (from accidently twisting while washing) or the wafer thin bowl cracked. I have three left. I can't bring myself to toss them, so they sit there until I break them too! I have never tried the Spiegelau BUT I did try the "unbreakable" Bormioli SON.hyx from Napa Style. I ordered the medium size and use them for whites. They feel nice (and I have not broken any) but I don't like the style for most reds! I hope they will come out with a more traditional big bowl style.

                    I have tumbler style but don't like them much either- unless I am eating a sandwich. I know...picky, picky, picky! LOL

            2. Although I have a variety of Riedel vinum and vinum extreme stemware, for day to day drinking I use the ouverture and stemless "O" glasses. I really like the "O" style although my wife isn't keen as you need a fairly big hand to hold the boredeaux and syrah versions. The ouverture seems a sensible choice if you want to minimise the pain to your wallet when breakages occur.

              37 Replies
              1. re: Al Toon

                There's a local shop that sells several brands of glassware including the Riedel line and the Spiegelau. Pretty much all the product lines for each. They sell the Spiegelau glasses only in packs of 6 which might be a good idea. Since breakage might be inevitable. Even with the more durable Spiegelau. Saw a glass testing video on YouTube where they took groups of 6 and knocked them over on their sides. On wood and granite tables. None broke. They did that over and over. Then some one took a glass and knocked them against the edge of the granite counter. You'd think they would have broken or at least fracture.

                As for decanters....I might still buy the Ultra from Ridel. Or something similar in shape from another brand like Spiegelau. Will ill look into the "Napa Style" glasses...probably only sold in Cali.

                1. re: BDD888

                  "Napa Style" is a brand, and sold everywhere.

                  1. re: BDD888

                    If you are totally new to this, I would suggest starting out with just a few pieces (perhaps two) for awhile- really give them a decent test run- to figure out what you like and what fits your lifestyle.

                    You don't want to get stuck with an expensive set of glassware that you end up disliking.

                    1. re: sfumato

                      Good tip. Though, the product lines I was looking at (e.g. Spiegelau Authentis...6 for $113 CDN...or roughly $16 each) weren't that expensive anyway. I figured if I broke one i'd have 5 more. :) Plus, the one shop that sells the Authentis line locally only sells them in "6-packs". :) I could go with 2 Vino Grande glasses bought at another local shop. Or I could try SK...many are sold in 2.

                    2. re: BDD888

                      These are what I have:

                      None have broken...yet !!! They have been through the dishwasher, used outside on concrete counter tops, set next to the pizza oven, "clanked" together on trays, etc. I am sure I will manage to break one at some point -but they sure are not overly fragile. They "sound" nice (they sing) and are well balanced in the hand. I specifically bought them for outdoor use.

                      I use alot of Napa Style products for outdoor dining and have been very happy with the products they feature. They sell hardy stuff.

                      1. re: sedimental

                        Might shop there when I'm in LA. As I need 1 or 2 cheap wine glasses. Relatively durable.

                        Though, if I HAD TO buy Riedel stemware still buying from is a good place. The pricing is surprisingly a lot lower. For example the Riedel Ultra decanter retails for $300.00 CDN and up here in Toronto. At the WS website they have it for $208.00 US. And with the strong CDN$....It would be $203 CDN for a savings of at least $97.00 CDN. :)

                        The Vinum Bordeaux (2) run $76.00 CDN up here. has them for $50.00 US or $48.85 CDN...for a savings of $27.15. Not bad.

                        Might bring home some Riedel glassware after all. Or not. Will see.

                        1. re: BDD888

                          Wow. Those are some significant cost savings! Riedel stemware is indeed very nice, but for everyday use, it is not very cost effective.The shatterproof Italian crystal I sited (above) is not cheap - but it can be used daily. I bet as you become a "big wino" ;) you will have many different glasses for your mood as well as the wine! My Orrefors crystal Intermezzo Blue glasses are right next to my Goodwill retro huge "goblets". My advice is to not take anything too seriously and have fun with wine.

                          1. re: sedimental


                            Points taken. :) This will potentially be an expensive hobby. :) Tasting all the different kinds of wines from France, Italy, South Africa, Oregon, Napa...etc. Buying a wine fridge when I return some time next year. Might build a wine cellar at some point. LOL!! And as you say...glassware galore!! :)

                            Have a good week!

                            1. re: BDD888

                              LOL. Yes...but it's HEALTHY..... think of all the antioxidants you will be getting ;)

                              1. re: BDD888

                                >>> This will potentially be an expensive hobby. <<<
                                It doesn't have to be . . . not by ANY means.

                        2. re: BDD888

                          For decanters, it is all about a style that you like, and not just the look, but the ergonomics, and then the volume. The brand is far less important.

                          Good luck,


                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                            Along with how much you entertain. How you plan to use the decanter. What kinds of wines you end up drinking the most. Old. Young. If you entertain large numbers you might like the long neck of the Riedel Flamingo. Expensive at $475 and the potential for breakage is high. But I suppose it would do it's job as long as you're careful.

                            I like the look of the Ridel Ultra. So whether or not I buy Riedel it will be of that design.

                            Have a good week!! :)

                            1. re: BDD888

                              I dunno... there isn't much a $475 decanter can do that my cheaper one can't! For that much, it had better wash and dry itself. ;)

                              Beware the extensive marketing hype in the wine world.

                              1. re: sfumato

                                It is mostly marketing. A cheaper decanter of a different design wouldn't have that long neck. I can see the use. Would I buy one some day? Mostly likely not. :) I'd say it would depend on how you plan to serve wine to your guests.

                              2. re: BDD888

                                WHY do you want to spend so much money???

                                1. re: zin1953

                                  I am wondering the same thing!

                                  Then again, I have a hard time not buying intriguing bottles of wine... :)

                                  1. re: sfumato

                                    But even "intriguing bottles of wine" don't have to be expensive! Only expensive bottles of wine have to be expensive . . . and even then --

                                    1. re: zin1953

                                      True (I don't buy expensive- and for me this means $50- bottles, except for rare occasions)!

                                      1. re: sfumato

                                        In the past to present I've never spent over $80.00 for a single bottle. And that was a gift. I have kept it to under $50 as well. But I am interested in investing in a bottle (or 2 or 3...etc.) of something like a 2005 Chateau Margaux. Just to see what it's like. Will it end up just tasking like another bottle of wine? (I know a "good bottle" of wine doesn't have to be expensive). Just wondered if there's something in the mega$ ($1000 and up) bottles that motivate people to spend the money they do. I don't have friends as generous as Charles Yu. :) Actually most if not all of my friends are not winos. :) In addition to the price of Riedel glass some old world wines are also noticeably "cheaper" in the US.

                                        1996 Ch Margaux in Toronto runs just under $1700 but in the US it's just over $1000 USD or under $1000 CDN...savings of roughly $700.00 CDN.

                                        1. re: BDD888

                                          There are certainly many factors that motivate people to spend huge sums of money on luxury items (or collectibles) -of all kinds. Nothing wrong with that. If you have the cash and curiosity, then you can have some fun with it.

                                          Many of my Bords and Burgs are going to Hong Kong this fall-where they are still going for 2 to 4 times more than here. I suspect they will enjoy them roughly 2 to 4 times more? I know I will enjoy it :)

                                          FWIW, I would also suggest that you check into purchasing some older vintages (First Growths) as they are a "bargain" right now -compared to newer releases of the same. You won't have to wait 30 years for a taste (some are at their peak NOW) and you won't be buying "hype" instead of wine. Check out wines from the '80's for drinking windows now. For example, the 1986 Petrus is in about the same price range as the young Margaux, it scores the points, the '86 is considered a "classic Petrus", drinkable NOW....and...... it's.... Petrus....for cryin' out loud! Can't get anymore "want -to- taste- a -status- symbol- wine" more than Petrus. I bet if you bought and tasted a vintage Grand Vin now, it would help you get clearer in the direction of your cellar. Just an idea.

                                          1. re: sedimental

                                            I was actually considering doing that. Buying 2 vintages of the same bottle of wine. Maybe 20 years apart. Or different vintages of different bottles. Since they can be roughly the same cost. But how are older vintages a "bargain"?

                                            Why are you sending some wine to HK? Are you an importer? For relatives?

                                            1. re: BDD888

                                              They are a "bargain" in a couple ways. This is really the first time that release prices are on par (or above) prices for nicely aged wines at their drinkable peak (or near it). This leads to a CRAZY scenario where an "unknown" vintage year costs more than a "known" vintage year...and where there seems to be not much "compensation" value for laying down and protecting a bottle of wine for decades and seeing that it makes it to it's peak. This has never happened before, that is why many refer to this time frame as a "bubble". If it works the way the housing bubble will not burst until lot's of folks, lose lots of money. If it is not a bubble, but a new trend...then Chateaus and some wine sellers will continue to capitalize on wealthy peoples stupidity about wine.

                                              Older vintages are more of a sure bet in a way. There are tasting notes all over the place so that you can make an informed decision about where to put your money. Many times, the hyped vintage year turns out to be not as good as expected (or worse, a total flop)...and the price is often "corrected"...all those folks that bought into the hype will be drinking very expensive mediocre wine that has lost a good part of its value...and they will have waited decades to figure that out. Aged wine has always been costlier for a reason, it is a more known commodity!

                                              Also, when you are willing to pay $1,700.00 for one bottle of wine, you typically want to taste it when it is at it's peak. That means you have to wait for DECADES for most of the "top 8". If you drink a wine before it's peak (and many people get "antsy"), you not only waste your money- you can run the risk of drinking it in a "dumb" phase. There is no saving a dumb wine, again, you lose your money. Lots of ways to lose your money on a new first growth release these days!

                                              I am not an importer, I am a collector. I am auctioning some of my cellar in Hong Kong as prices are stupidly good there. I buy and sell wine for drinking and investment.

                                              1. re: sedimental

                                                Can you point out how stupidly good are the prices for some of the Bordeaux Red in HK now ? In a on-line auction 2 days ago in Toronto, a bottle of 1982 Las Cases sold for $700 CAN (not including premium).

                                                1. re: skylineR33

                                                  Just google for Acker, Zachys and Christies in Hong Kong (I know they have all had recent auctions there). Lafite, Latour and DRC are really hot -as are large formats and OWC lots. Double, triple the hammer prices here. The next rounds should be in September and October.

                                                  What is happening in Toronto that your prices are not in line with the US? That 1982 Leoville Las Cases would have gone for around 450-500 bucks in the US any time of day.

                                                  1. re: sedimental

                                                    They should have just bought it RETAIL...

                                                    Can you tell me what are the big auction houses for wine in Toronto?

                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                      I don't know, something is wrong in Toronto ... but a bottle of 1947 Lafleur sold for less than $4000 though ...

                                                      LCBO !!!!! - that is the only thing we can ever get wine from other countries in Toronto. It sucks. I think they will soon call for consignment for their October auction, so get your wine ready ! Check their website.

                                                      1. re: skylineR33

                                                        Thanks so much for the tip! Hey ...Do y'all like Aged California cult Cabs?????

                                                        1. re: sedimental

                                                          I remember I saw 3 bottles of Harlan 2004 sold for $1650 CAD. But I do not remember I see any Aged one in this auction. I guess they are not as popular as those top Bordeaux Red ?! I doubt Aged California cult are as popular as old Bordeaux's in HK too ? I can't imagine anywhere has demand for top Bordeaux's as high as HK/China now ... those price there must be crazy.

                                                        2. re: skylineR33

                                                          Blame the geniuses at the LCBO inflating the prices. Remember the bottle of 1996 Ch Margaux selling for $1700 CDN. It can be had in the US for $700 less. Sorry...more than's selling for $800 USD...or $774.12 CDN. Damn!! Hope they have a bottle left when I arrive in LA. :) I think there was 12 with OWB the last time I looked at this one shop.

                                  2. re: BDD888

                                    In my case, we entertain a lot. Most of the use for the decanters is for older reds, but also younger reds. The term "decanting" is often misused a bit. It refers to the process of separating any sediment from a red wine (usually older). For aeration of a younger red, or white, the French call it effectively "caraffing," the wine. Personally, I just use "decanting," unless the sommelier is French, and looks at me funny. Then I change over.

                                    I have 4 magnum decanters (all might be Riedel, but I am not sure), which are of the "ship's decanter" style, with glass spheres, should I need to "plug the hole."

                                    I have 8 similar 0.75 ship's decanters, and 4 of a more traditional bottle shape with various stoppers. I have one Lyra Riedel, and 4 - 0.500 (half-bottle) decanters of various shapes, but nothing too far from either ship's, or bottle.

                                    I normally use a ship's style, though have to admit that the magnum size is not the perfect ergonomic design. Things usually become two-handed with those.

                                    As far as "doing the job," a clean, dry, empty wine bottle, or even a Pyrex bowl, would work. If one is separating the sediment, then one would still pour with care. I use a funnel with a fine mesh strainer, but still pour with care.

                                    Good luck and enjoy,


                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                      Only 21 decanters??? :) You must have a very large bar. :)

                                      What is the "ship decanter style"? I think I know what a "magnum style" is (resembles a bottle...flared mouth, 4" neck and a flared out bubble bowl basse). Not sure if the Riedel Ultra would still be considered a "magnum" design. Maybe more the Riedel Merlot and Pinot Noir decanters.

                                      And isn't the purpose of "decanting" not only to remove sediment but also to "open up" the wine? In that case a Pyrex measuring cup....might still do it I suppose if wide enough. So do you think decanters are for show more than function?

                                      1. re: BDD888

                                        Well, the cellar was designed for 3700 btls., but has been filled to about 5K, and is overflowing.

                                        We also host a bunch of Wine & Food Society events, so might need 10 decanters, plus glasses for the wines, at those.

                                        "Ship's Decanters" are usually of one general shape - wide bottom, but this link will give you variations:

                                        Most of mine are simple, as are the regular "bottle decanters," and I only have a few gifted cut-glass ones. The ones that I use and buy, are quite simple.

                                        Good luck, and hope that helps.


                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                          $3700 bills for a cellar? Good deal. There are many wine fridges costing that much and more. :) Though I haven't seen your cellar (no offense). I suppose it depends on whether you use rack kits or have craftsmen custom install racks, granite counters, lighting, flooring...and a temp/humidity appliance.

                                          I'll probably be ordering an Eurocave fridge when I return next year. Unfortunately it takes roughly 8 weeks to arrive. :P Being that the fridge is made in FR....maybe it takes that long to ship...guess they do things a lot slower over there. :) Though if something goes wrong....

                                          There is also Cavavin....made in servicing should be easier.

                                          About the decanters....guess I was thinking of the "ship style" (e,g. Riedel Ultra).

                                          And thanks pal.

                                          1. re: BDD888

                                            No. That was 3700 design. However, now I have a matrix of styro-cases in what was designed to be my floor, and then some.

                                            In my case, the cellar was designed to be for storage only, with but a few "working areas" included. I had 10 x 10 x 10 to start with, and with the super-insulation, ended up with 9 x 9 x 9 finished. No room for tasting, or even presentation. Who knew that I'd outgrow 3700 btls. so soon?



                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                              Ahhh mis-read. :) So 5k bottles and overflowing. :) Once you get started and begin tasting a lot it's not hard. You taste one bottle you like then buy a few more to take home. Maybe even a case if you love it. Or go to a "tasting" find 2 or 3 you like...bring home 3 cases. :) adds up quick. WAF...I don't know. But I'm not married so no problem there for me for now. :)

                                              1. re: BDD888

                                                FWIW, I ***rarely*** buy a case of any one wine. There are simply too many great wines out there . . . typically I'll buy 3-4 bottles, perhaps six.

                                        2. re: BDD888

                                          Maybe I was not clear. Decanting, in the purest form, is to separate the sediment from an older red wine. However, there is aeration involved, so the general action is also used for younger reds, and also younger, bigger whites, especially Burgs. With younger reds, one might even do a "double decanting," which would aerate even more. Many FR sommeliers will take exception to "decanting" used for young reds and whites, and will often refer to that action as "caraffing," the wines. Me, well I just use "decanting," until I reach a communication wall.



                              3. Recent thread on subject:


                                My pick: Schott Zweisel Tritan.

                                1. My favorite, most versatile glass: the Riedel Vinum XL Pinot Noir: ,

                                  A little smaller than the Sommelier burgundy, but I've yet to break one (please no jinx!). Ideal for burgundy, beaujolais, and most aromatic reds save Nebbiolo which I prefer in a non-tulip burgundy style glass, something like the Schott Zweisel Tritan Forte claret/burgundies:

                                  BTW, I think you're a Bordeaux/Cab-Merlot fan, BDD888. Riedel also has a Vinum XL bordeaux glass that's quite nice (and huge!):

                                  14 Replies
                                  1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                                    Hi RM,

                                    You're right. I am a Bordeaux/Cab.Sauv/Merlot fan...gotta have my red meat. :) Never really considered going with Riedel's XL product line. So far you've had good luck with the XL? Recently I've been finding out from many other Chowhounds that the Riedel glasses are prone to breakage. Some recommending Spiegelau others SZ.

                                    Plan to try some South African Pinotage too...haven't been doing much "tasting" lately...mouth getting "dry". :)

                                    1. re: BDD888

                                      I know I'm jinxing myself here, but I've had the Vinum XL "pinot noir" burgundy glasses for nearly a year. Always hand-washed (and after the drinking!) and so far not a single mishap. I use these glasses probably 4 times a week (maybe more - I drink lots of pinot and gamay!). The cab glasses I've only had for a few months and use much more rarely. They are larger and so more prone to knocking against faucets and other dangerously hard surfaces!

                                      I really like the Vinum XL series - comprised of only these two glasses AFAIK - as they are quite huge and much sturdier than the (even larger) Sommelier series. I'd love to try the Somms - especially that Sauternes glass - but the hand-blown crystal is just far too fragile for the likes of me. Which isn't to say that the Vinum XLs aren't also fragile. But if you want size and a thin-lipped rim - and who doesn't?!? - it's gonna come in a more breakable package.

                                      The Schott Zweisels are super sturdy. I've read about some ridiculous demonstrations of their non-shatterability, though I've never been brave enough to test them myself. Basically, the only somewhat fragile point is where the stem connects to the bowl. I purchased these for "everyday", but in the end I use them for whatever tastes best (I prefer them for Nebbiolo and - kinda weirdly - some white Burgandys). Otherwise, I always use what tastes best to me. Which, for my tastes, is usually the Riedel "pinot noir" Vinum XLs.

                                      1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                                        Since I don't have any stemware I think I'll do some sampling. By 2 of each. Different product lines within a certain brand. Different brands. Will eventually find glass that suits me. And as you aptly put it where the wines "tastes best to me". Will probably buy some Riedel from Williams-Sonoma USA when I'm in LA. Since the price difference is so great (vs buying locally here in Toronto).

                                        1. re: BDD888

                                          Just in case there are Chowers reading this and musing over how nuts all this stemware stuff is... do yourselves a favor and don't compare the same wine in different glasses. Once you do, you'll realize just how much affect it has.

                                          Which is to say, BDD888, you won't find that "one perfect glass" unless you only ever drink one wine. I use the Vinum XL pinot glass most often because I drink Burgundy and Beaujolais (and Loire gamay and other aromatic reds) far more often than I drink cabs, rhones, and the like. My poor Bordeaux glasses are so neglected.

                                          1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                                            That's why as I said I'll try buying "2 of each". Different brands. Different product lines within a brand. Etc. That and I can't say exactly which red wine I prefer the most yet. Bordeaux? Cab. Sauv.? Pinot Noir? Pinotage? Syrah? Sharaz? Etc. Then there are the white wines...heh...Sauv. Blanc? Chardonnay? Which vineyard? Etc. :) All part of the fun....

                                            Off topic but I have to ask you guys....roughly how many bottles of red and white wines do you go through in a year? :) I usually only enjoy a glass of wine (or 2 or 3) with my dinner. When I do have wine. Odd time with cheese to snack on....or when I get invited to a "wine & cheese party".

                                            1. re: BDD888

                                              Funny you should ask... for some reason I was doing the math on this sometime over the weekend!

                                              I drink at least a half bottle/night (my wife gets the other half). Very rarely less, sometimes more. It's hard to keep up with how much I may drink at a restaurant, party, tasting, etc. So, I'm guessing about 200 bottles a year for myself, or about 400 bottles for the "household" (which sounds a little better than just me and my wife!).

                                              More red than white - red wine season lasts longer in Boston! I'm guessing about a 65/35 split.

                                              1. re: BDD888

                                                No idea... I've never stopped/thought to count. I just drink lots of it and enjoy it!

                                                1. re: BDD888

                                                  >>> Off topic but I have to ask you guys....roughly how many bottles of red and white wines do you go through in a year? <<<

                                                  I haven't the foggiest idea . . .

                                                  I do own have somewhere between 50-75 cases of wine in my cellar, but i couldn't begin to tell you how many bottles i consume in a year . . . .


                                                  1. re: BDD888

                                                    My household (2 adults) will probably go through nearly 900 per year. At home, we do nearly a bottle per night, though a BOTTLE might go on for 2- 3 nights, so it's not pop a single cork and down the bottle.

                                                    Maybe someday I'll be inclined to count them. Perhaps my recycle guy can help me???


                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                      900 bottles per year!!!????? CRIKEY!!! So I guess the majority) are from entertaining? The recycling man must low you and your wife. :)

                                                      Restaurant reviewer. Interesting. Nice to have you on Chowhound-Wine.

                                                      What did you find when you had your stemware tasting sessions? Did you compare different brands? Which brand do you favour? (Riedel, Spiegelau or Schott Zwiesel)

                                                      1. re: BDD888

                                                        I have done several stemware tastings, but the majority have been hosted by Riedel, though not all.

                                                        In general terms, a Riedel tasting is conducted with a "restaurant-grade" glass as the standard, most often called the "joker." The same wine is poured into such a glass, and also into one of the Riedels, usually in the Vinum line. The "class" is asked to taste from both glasses, and to either write down their impressions, or talk about them in the group.

                                                        Even with folk, who are highly skeptical, usually gasp, and admit that the wine in the Riedel is much better.

                                                        Now, the joker glass is not that good, and by design. It is a standard, thick rimmed, small bowl glass, with a rolled rim. Libby has many lines of similar. They are dishwasher safe, and can probably not be broken, even if thrown upon a granite fireplace. They are durable, but I refer to them as "jelly jars." The Riedel (usually Vinums) are larger bowls, thinner glass, with usually cut rims. They SHOULD be better, if for no other reason than the bowls are larger, and they are prettier. Still, I can taste many, many differences, even with a control wine.

                                                        We have many sets of wine glasses, and the majority are from Riedel, or Spieglau, and are used daily, though obviously not all. To give you an example of the differences, we attended a Riedel tasting, just as they released their Montrachet Vinium glass. My wife was meeting me from her hospital, but on the phone reminded me, "we have more than enough wine glasses, so do not buy any more." The host was pouring into the assembled glasses. When she started to pour into what looked like a traditional Burg stem, I raised me hand. She smiled, and continued to pour the white wine (Shafer Red Shoulders Ranch Chardonnay). She continued to do the pouring for the group. Just as the pours were done, wife arrived.

                                                        We began the tastings, and got to the white, which had been poured into three glasses, the joker, the Riedel Vinum Chard and the Montrachet. We all tasted each. My wife immediately turned to me and whispered, "we've got to get a couple dozen of these glasses," pointing to the Montrchets. This, from a lady, who led off with "we do not need any more wine glasses."

                                                        One should conduct their own tastings of stemware. Get a friend to do blind pourings and then sample.

                                                        Good luck,


                                                    2. re: BDD888

                                                      I have a pair of Vinum Sommelier Series for the "major" styles (e.g. Bordeaux, Burgundy, Riesling etc) - they were all gifts, but I do use them on a fairly regular basis and especially when I'm trying to prove a point. You're getting ripped if your local retailer is selling you a Sommelier glass at $140.

                                                      Regular glasses are INAOs, and entertainment glasses are Vinum Overture universal glasses than can handle reds and whites. Durable, thin, relatively inexpensive especially during the annual Riedel sales.

                                                      Cellartracker tells me I have about 550 bottles, which is a number that hasn't drastically fluctuated in the past 3-4 years so that does tell me that I run through about 150-175 bottles/annum, 50:50 split between whites and reds. Friends who drink a bit more do about 500-600/annum. They also come by and help me drink mine.

                                                      1. re: wattacetti

                                                        Seems wine and Riedel stemware are a lot more expensive up here in Toronto. So much so I'm tempted to buy a few Ridel items when I'm down in LA. Though, many others here have complained about Riedel. Saying how prone they are to breakage. More so than glass from Spiegelau or Schott Zwiezel. So when I return next year I'll likely stock up on a bit of both. Buying stemware and decanters.

                                                    3. re: Ricardo Malocchio


                                                      Well said. When doing restaurant reviews, stemware is almost always part of my report.

                                                      Having done, and hosted many stemware tasting sessions, I am still amazed by some of the differences. I just love seeing the expressions on many faces too.