Dan Petroski, founder and winemaker at California-based Massican Wines, has fond memories of the daily lunches during harvest in Italy, where wine was always served. But instead of delicate stemware, 6-ounce water glasses were the vessel of choice. “Part of this was the custom of the working class community, but when I look back, it was also the function of a crowded table,” he shares. “Lots of plates, communal dishes, bread, wine bottles, and hands and arms reaching across.” It was a setting that, like weeknights and relaxed dinner parties, Petroski describes as casual and comforting, warranting the use of equally carefree stemless wine glasses.
And it’s nice not to worry about tipping over your expensive Zaltos while meal-prepping during a Monday night Netflix binge, or at any point when there are young kids around. So, for those informal, friendly get-togethers, why not rely on the best stemless wine glasses that even the experts enjoy? These are a few favorites that sommeliers, winemakers, and writers all love to reach for.
- Best Standard: Riedel O Wine Glasses
- Best Value: Crate & Barrel Bodega Glass
- Best Tumbler: Williams-Sonoma Vintage Etched Tumbler
- Best Classic: Bormioli Rocco Planeo Stemless Water Glasses
- Best Splurge: Richard Brendon Collection Stemless Glass
- Best Low-Profile: Broc Cellars x The Long Confidence Wine Glass
- Best Color: Estelle Stemless Wine Glasses
Our Top Picks
Best Standard: Riedel O Wine Glasses
Style: Traditional | Capacity: 21 and 11 Ounces | Material: Crystal
Why we chose it: The same shapely bowl of this staple brand, just without the stem.
“To the best of my knowledge, this is the OG stemless wine glass,” shares sommelier and winemaker André Hueston Mack. “When I’m picnicking in the park, stemless glasses are just the more practical option when serving wine.” While Mack prefers Riedel’s cabernet and merlot variety—the high sides allow for a larger pour, he says—Jen Pelka, cofounder of Une Femme Wines, loves the “ultra-thin and extra-elegant” white version. She uses them for casual dinners or cocktail parties, during which it’s more likely that glasses can be knocked over (or worse, broken) as the night wears on. You can bring home the best of both worlds with this set of four, which comes with two of the cabernet/merlot and two of the chardonnay/viognier styles. And thankfully, while made of high-quality, lead-free crystal, they’re still dishwasher safe.
Best Value: Crate & Barrel Bodega Glass
Style: Classic | Capacity: 7 Ounces | Material: Tempered Glass
Why we chose it: A single glass is less than $2 and a set of 12 is less than $30.
The durability of tempered glass is your best bet for bustling outdoor activities. “I like Spanish ‘bodega’ glasses for dining al fresco,” shares Andrea Slonecker, author of Wine Food and The Picnic. “I use them at home for casual entertaining outside, and pack them for picnics, too. The simple design is practical and sleek, and they don’t tip over in the grass!” Both dishwasher- and microwave-safe, their versatility is practically endless, and other purchasers love how easily they stack when it’s time to put them away.
Best Tumbler: Williams-Sonoma Vintage Etched Tumbler
Style: Vintage | Capacity: 9.75 Ounces | Material: Hand-Cut Glass
Why we chose it: The antique cup lookalikes that Quince’s beverage director uses at home.
When initially looking for cocktail and whiskey glasses, Matt Cirne, sommelier and beverage director at Quince, spotted a set of floral-motif tumblers in the window of a thrift store and couldn’t pass by without them. Cirne regularly uses these slim glasses, especially to add a celebratory, fun element. “It’s all practical, really,” he says. “I tend to drink wine whilst cooking and being busy in the kitchen doesn’t lend itself to a fine-stemmed glass.” He adds: “I am certain my friends will feel glamorous while using them.”
Best Classic: Bormioli Rocco Planeo Stemless Water Glasses
Style: Contemporary | Capacity: 12.25 Ounces | Material: Star Glass
Why we chose it: You can find this tried-and-true glass at nearly any major retailer.
This is the glass Petroski prefers when having to balance between white wine and a bowl of popcorn come movie night. Machine-blown in Parma, Italy, these glasses are dishwasher-safe and highly resistant to cracks and chips. Somewhat square in shape, this glass is designed to serve water, but does double-duty for wine.
Best Splurge: Richard Brendon Collection Stemless Glass
Style: Traditional | Capacity: 5 Ounces | Material: Crystal
Why we chose it: A luxury item you can still throw in the dishwasher.
We might be biased (Jancis Robinson is our sibling site), but esteemed wine writer and journalist Jancis Robinson’s collaboration with tableware designer Richard Brendon was a practice in creating universal drinkware for any variety. Just like the Perfect Wine Glass, the line’s water glass is still gossamer-thin, mouth-blown, and dishwasher-friendly. Its bowl shape also mimics its taller counterpart, but with a flat base versus a stem, and still perfect for swirling and sipping.
Best Low-Profile: Broc Cellars x The Long Confidence Wine Glass
Style: Contemporary | Capacity: 5 Ounces | Material: Star Glass
Why we chose it: A super stylish glass that’s suited to before, during, and after dinner.
This small but mighty glass is for everything from pet-nat to amaro, which is what our deputy commerce editor (and former sommelier) Samantha Weiss-Hills loves to tap it for. Designed by Broc Cellars and Rafi Ajl of The Long Confidence, these squat, light-refracting glasses are hand-blown in small batches by Oakland’s Glow Glass Studio. A little weighty in the hand and sporting a small but supportive foot, they were crafted for at-home use and when stems feel too serious. “I use these wonderful little glasses while cooking, or mix them in with other interesting glassware when entertaining,” Weiss-Hills says. “I don’t have to worry about knocking one over while reaching for utensils, and I can swan around in a mumu without fear of sloshing about.”
Best Color: Estelle Stemless Wine Glasses
Style: Contemporary | Capacity: 13.5 Ounces | Material: Glass
Why we chose it: Pick between 10-plus hues, including both muted pastels and vibrant blues, greens, and reds.
For wine marketer and writer Shanika Hillocks, Estelle’s colored glasses—hand-blown in Charleston, South Carolina—provide the greatest aesthetic pleasure to any tablescape. “They come in an array of colors that nod to the heirlooms of my grandma,” she notes, adding that they make wonderful gifts. These beauties require a hand wash, but if you’re looking to add lovely jewel tones to your cocktail hour, these should be your go-to. (Bonus: Hillocks is also a fan of Crate & Barrel’s Level Red Wine glasses—they’re lightweight and offered at an accessible price point.)
Features to Keep in Mind
When it comes to stemless wine glasses, you needn’t get too hung up on the details. There’s a glass for everything these days it seems and, really, you can drink out of pretty much anything; there are no (or shouldn’t be) hard and fast rules, which is why all of these picks are multi-purpose. “Wine has always been intimidating because there are so many options,” says Petroski. “Coupled with this is the fact that there seems to be a wine glass for all occasions and bottles—when you’re in a Friuli there’s a ‘Gravner’s glass’ to drink your orange wine—and sometimes a simple stemless wine glass is just as comforting.”
Material and Size
The shape of your chosen vessel, however, does have an impact on smell and taste. A wider bowl will give your full-bodied red room to breathe, and something a bit smaller will catch the subtler smells of a white. Mack prefers his stemless go-to to look and function much like his stemware; Pelka looks out for a bowl that fits nicely in hand and is as thin as possible. “Stemless wine glasses already feel casual, so you can class them up by opting for a glass with thin walls and a fine edge,” she says. But still for others, like Petroski, the shape is less important. He often finds himself drinking champagne or white wine from a rocks glass.
Set vs. Single Piece
Determining whether to purchase just one, two, or six of the same glass all depends on your intended use, but the overwhelming majority of experts agree it’s in your best interest to go with a set over an individual piece. “You’ll save money and have back-ups when one inevitably breaks,” points out Pelka. And wine writer and editor Jon Bonné strongly agrees. “Unless you’re planning to keep a jumbo sized goblet under the table for yourself, or decided to give yourself the nice glass while your friends get crap, I can’t think of an instance where it’s best to purchase a single piece,” he notes. “And really, who wants to be that person?”
How We Chose These Products
All of the products we included are used by sommeliers, winemakers, and writers for their own casual enjoyment. The best stemless wine glasses are those that can be put in the dishwasher without worry, are stylish, and won’t shatter if they’re knocked over.
Ask the Experts
Q: What’s the best way to handle a stemless wine glass?
Wine quickly warms when your hand cups the bowl, thanks to normal body temperature. Bonné points out this isn’t ideal for any style. “My advice is, to the extent possible, don’t stand around holding your glass—even if it makes a good prop for those of us who fidget,” he shares. “Find a good surface to leave it until you want a sip.”
Brian Hess, one co-founder of New York shop Radicle Wine, agrees. “If someone is choosing to imbibe using a stemless glass, they should handle it as lightly as possible with as little skin contact to the glass,” he offers. “When there is a lot of skin contact, the glass absorbs heat and therefore the wine absorbs heat.”
Q: Are more delicate wine glasses a better choice?
The quality of your glass can largely be tied back to how delicate it is. A glass’ structure can accentuate all sorts of senses, whether that’s the clarity of the color or the perception of aroma.
Q: What’s a standard pour amount for wine glasses?
A pour is often based on the size of the glass. At a restaurant, you’re likely to receive about 5 ounces, and at a winery, your tasting will likely amount to a smaller 2 ounces.
When it comes to stemless glassware, Cirne suggests not to buy anything too fine. They’ll come in handy in situations where stemmed glasses are probably too much of a risk.
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