Much like anniversary gifts and phone plans, buying wine glasses for your home can be an intimidating and exhausting process. To stem or not to stem? Should it be dishwasher safe or will you actually commit to hand-washing delicate glass (repeat: glass!) after every use? How many wine glasses can you actually fit in your apartment? And how much damage will this do to your bank account?
Just about every wine glass best-of list will point you to the beloved Zalto Denk’Art Universal Glass, which costs $60 per glass. You might have also seen a pair of sleek glasses from the Riedel Veritas line, sold as a set of two for around $51, pop up on a list of recommended wine glasses. These are all well and good, if you have the cash to spare, but you can own a good wine glass that doesn’t set you back a rent check or transit pass. In fact, according to some sommeliers, you don’t need to pay more than $16 for a wine glass that checks all the boxes.
Whether you’re a longtime wine connoisseur or just beginning to develop a love for the grape, there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for new glassware. For starters, you want a wine glass that’s on the thinner side. “The glass affects the taste in your mouth,” says Annie Shi, sommelier at King in New York City. “You don’t want to notice that it’s there, you just want it to be the vessel that carries the wine to you.” Adds Victoria James, sommelier at Korean steakhouse Cote in Manhattan, “A good wine glass is one that makes the drinker feel good, as in, it should be functional and not get in the way of the wine.”
Durability is also important. “I will not buy wine glasses that I can’t put in the dishwasher because life is too short to hand-wash all your glassware,” says Shi, who notes that King also operates by this rule.
For 2019 Eater Young Gun Kae Whalen, beverage director at Kismet in Los Angeles, a good wine drinking experience means leaving all the noise and hassle behind — and that applies to the glassware itself. “Generally, I look for glasses that I don’t need to be precious about — for the restaurant, especially. I like drinking to feel casual and approachable, and glasses can set that up.”
With these glass recommendations, you can save your money for the wine, drink that bottle you so very deserve, and be thankful for the invention of the dishwasher.