Published July 20, 2012

Some people take months- even years- to decide on glasses and dishware for their home. Over the years stemware has been gaining popularity and becoming increasingly collectable. It’s important to note that stemware is not an invention of modern times but rather dates back to over 2000 years ago.

Whether it’s handmade or machine made, today’s glass stemware has a timeless simplicity that lends itself to many interior-decorating styles.

Stemmed glasses are available for many different beverages. Wines, champagnes, martinis, cocktails, cognac and scotch just to name a few.

So, where does one begin the search for stemware? Rudolph Herzog of Herzog recommends the following tips in mind on your search.

The beauty of a good glass enhances the visual beauty of the drink. It’s important to see what you are drinking. The first contact with your drink is crucial:  colour, consistency and the beauty of the glass are very important factors.

The stemmed glass should feel very comfortable and balanced in your hand. Be sure to pick them up and hold them in the store. Try a few out and choose the one that is the most comfortable for you. Chances are your guests will agree.

Today’s stemware is manufactured in many different techniques and materials. The best is the mouth blown lead crystal glass because of the clarity, sound and balance. However, it is also the most expensive.

There are also other reasonable choices such as the partially handmade crystalline glass. This type of glass is very close to the lead crystal at a lower price. Other choices include the lower priced pressed and regular glassware. Experts will agree that the lower the price of the stemmed glassware the less experience you will have from your drink. The consensus among professional tasters is to purchase the better stemmed glass and in the end you will get the most out of your sometimes very expensive beverage.

The majority of the stemware sold today is very simple in its design. Riedel, one of the most well-known glassware companies, is said to be one of the leaders in this trend. Many other companies have since followed in their footsteps. The thought behind this trend is that functionality comes before beauty. Some may agree while others still believe that there is nothing more beautiful on a dinner table than a cut crystal glass with a sparkle like a diamond. Long stemmed wine and water glasses are extremely elegant when paired with other glassware. Ultimately the choice is with the consumer.

If you are a wine drinker, you may enjoy your wines in a variety of stemware ranging from small sauterne glassware to an extra large magnum grand cru. Champagnes were traditionally enjoyed from wide-open sherbet glasses but are now becoming more popular in tall narrow flute style. The advantage of the first is to enjoy the champagne bubbles on the tip of your nose when the latter lets you follow the bubbles for a long time from the bottom to the top.

Even beer drinkers are beginning to enjoy their brews from stemmed pilsner-style glasses. Balloon glasses and tall narrow flutes are being used more and more by the beer lovers and promoted by many breweries that like to distinguish their beers from the others.

For cognac or brandy, stemmed wide balloon -shaped snifters on a short stem are being considered ideal. These beverages are also enjoyed in tulip and oval shaped glasses with a slightly taller stem.

Other companies that produce beautiful stemware are Spiegelau, Nachtmann, and Rosenthal Davino.

When purchasing, remember to always inquire about future availability of the stock. We all are too familiar with a depleting wine glass inventory due to washing and breakage at dinner parties. Buy a brand and a style that you are sure will be around for a while so that your collection remains complete.

For more information, contact Herzog in Park Royal and on Howe Street in Vancouver.