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To Stem or Not to Stem: The Great Wine Glass Debate

To Stem or Not to Stem: The Great Wine Glass Debate

Claire Obry |

wine enthusiast

Recently, there has been a growing trend of using stemless glasses to drink wine. (Wine Enthusiast wrote a great article about it - GRAPHIC BY ERIC DEFREITAS)

The idea behind it, is that stemless glasses are easier to handle, and they don't break as easily as traditional stemmed glasses. Additionally, they take up less space in the dishwasher or cabinet, making them more convenient for everyday use.

Stemless, a Francophile faux pas?

However, for many wine enthusiasts, particularly those with a French or Francophile background, drinking wine from a stemless glass is a bit considered as a faux pas. Stemmed glasses are seen as a sign of respect for the labor and craftsmanship that goes into making wine. The long stem of a wine glass not only provides an elegant look, but it also serves a functional purpose. The stem helps prevent the heat from your hand from warming up the wine, which can affect its flavor and aroma. Additionally, holding the glass by the stem keeps fingerprints off the bowl of the glass, allowing the wine's color and clarity to be fully appreciated.

In France, there is a strong culture of respecting the heritage and craftsmanship of food and drink. Similar to the tradition of not putting a baguette upside down on the table to show respect for the baker who made it, using stemmed glasses to drink wine is seen as a sign of respect for the winemaker and the art of winemaking.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Stemless glasses can be great for outdoor activities like picnics or when hosting large parties where there is a greater risk of glasses being knocked over.

The only two exceptions of my dad drinking wine in a stemless glass

One of my fondest memories is of my dad hiking with his backpack, which always contained a bottle of wine and his trusty Opinel corkscrew. After putting in the effort to climb the mountain, my dad's reward was opening the bottle and enjoying the sound of the pop echoing throughout the stunning scenery. These were the only times I ever saw my dad drink wine out of a regular glass, and it felt like a special occasion each time.

My parents were very particular about the vessels in which they drank their wine. They would rather invest in a bunch of cheap stem glasses for hosting big parties (which we were always hosting) than ever resort to drinking out of a cup. To them, it was sacrilege to serve wine in anything other than a proper glass.

Despite my parents' preference for stemmed glasses, my dad's hiking adventures showed that sometimes, the occasion calls for something a little less formal. In those moments, a stemless glass was just as meaningful as a fancy glass, because it represented the joy of being out in nature, enjoying good wine and good company.

What's your opinion about it?

 bee glass

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