An admittedly biased (and sometimes not so biased) rant on why to avoid stemless wineglasses.
In the 1970s, Shell gas stations gave out NFL goblets with fill ups. My mom’s kitchen cabinet quickly became filled with them. They were free, after all, and their smoked tint—all the rage at the time—made them a step up from the Flintstone jelly glasses they pushed aside. Today when I see stemless wineglasses, I can’t help but see the ghost of those gas station goblets.
Even the finest—and most expensive—stemless wineglasses just look stubby and squat sitting on the table. Like something that should be at the kids’ table—”these are great, the boys hardly ever spill anymore.” Or like they were chosen because they fit in the dishwasher better. Some stemless ware is further hampered by being multicolored (“Aunt Martha, you have the yellow glass tonight”) or hand painted with various designs.
Stemmed wineglasses literally elevate wine. Their height creates a more varied topography at the table, adding sparkle and visual interest.
More practically, stemmed wineglasses help wines maintain their proper temperature longer. As you hold a stemless wineglass, the temperature of your hand warms the wine; stemmed glasses allow you to hold them by the stem or base, avoiding this problem.
The stem lets you play with your wine too, swirling it to study the wine’s legs or holding the glass up to the light to admire its color. Yes, the stem can also be the glass’s weak point. I broke a glass the other night while washing dishes; the stem snapped off at the bowl. But shopping for a replacement today and seeing elegant stemmed glasses standing tall next to their stocky, stemless brethren, I thought it was a small price to pay.