Best Stemless Wine Glasses

Updated March 2021
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best stemless wine glasses

After selecting the right bottle of wine and finding the proper moment to open the bottle, you need compatible wine glasses to enhance the experience of wine enjoyment. While many wine drinkers love a traditional glass with an elegant stem, some people prefer stemless wine glasses. Attractive and convenient, stemless wine glasses offer versatility and longevity without sacrificing the aromas or flavors of your wine.

Stemless wine glasses come in a variety of shapes and sizes, just like stemmed wine glasses do, to accommodate certain wine varietals and characteristics. Depending on the traits of a wine — most notably, its body and tannin levels — it should be served in an appropriate glass so its aromas and flavors are complemented.

These glasses, though casual, still possess an understated elegance. And because they lack a stem, their uses are more widespread, making them a worthy addition to any kitchen. Our buying guide details how to match the shape of a wine glass to wine and explores the unique possibilities that come with owning a set of stemless wine glasses.

stemless wine glass1
Most stemless glasses come in pairs, with options to buy two, four, six, or even eight in a set. Typically, the more you buy, the lower the cost per glass.

Key considerations

Benefits and drawbacks

The choice between stemmed and stemless wine glasses comes down to personal preference. The presence or lack of a stem does not alter the aroma, flavor, or experience of wine. Shape most notably influences taste, as does the material from which the wine is made.

Stemless wine glasses exude a simple elegance. They offer a stable foundation and are not as tall and slender as stemmed glasses, so they are less likely to tip over and break. In that same vein, their size allows for easier storage in cabinets and on bar carts.

Because you hold a stemless wine glass by the bowl, it’s more likely to show fingerprints. Your hand will obscure more of the wine within the glass, so it’s harder to behold the color of your beverage. If you hold the glass for a long time, heat may transfer from your hand to the wine, which can disturb the taste, especially if you’re drinking white wine.

Glass type

There are a few types of stemless glasses that cater to specific wines, just as stemmed glasses do.

White wine glass: A tall glass with a slender rim and average-size bowl is the typical design for most white wines. While the bowl is wider than the rim, the glass is rather small overall, helping it preserve cooler temperatures. These options are ideal for crispy, floral whites like sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, and riesling.

Burgundy: This type of glass is also known as an aroma collector, and as the name suggests, it is ideal for wines that boast enticing scents. The bowl and rim are wide, making it a larger option than the white wine glass. It’s best for light and medium-bodied reds like pinot noir, but it also does well to highlight the aromatic notes in oaked chardonnay, where barrel aging infuses earthy, creamy flavors.

Bordeaux: This largest wine glass is also known as an oversized glass, and it complements big, bold reds. The size helps lessen the harshness of bitter tannins, and the wide rim smooths out the taste when it first hits your mouth. It may enhance flavors, too. For cabernet sauvignon drinkers, this is the go-to glass.

Universal glass: Some wine glasses, especially less-costly options, may be designated for red wine, white wine, or as a universal glass for all wine. These glasses attempt to cater to casual drinkers who don’t want to accumulate a variety of specific glasses and typically don’t buy expensive bottles. Universal glasses suffice for most wines, though they may not enhance the aromas or tastes of particularly potent or delicate wines.

Flute: Those who enjoy sparkling wine can find stemless flute glasses to complement their effervescence. The glasses are tall and slender, just like stemmed options, with narrow rims to preserve the bubbles and taste.

Material

Most stemless wine glasses are made of standard glass or crystal glass. Standard glass costs less and is fairly durable, but it’s also thicker. Because crystal glass is stronger, glasses can be made thinner and lighter without sacrificing durability, though they are still rather delicate. Crystal tends to better show off wine, as the thin glass and sparkling nature of crystal can make colors pop. The thinner rim enhances wine flavor.

Other speciality materials exist as well. Plastic stemless glasses are an option for those who want to enjoy their drink outside without fear of breaking the glass. You’re likely to lose some of the flavor and elegance from drinking out of plastic, but the portability and convenience are useful, and the lower cost makes them a fine investment.

A relatively recent trend involves wine glasses made of stainless steel. These glasses are exceptionally durable and resist shattering, and they are easy to clean. Stainless steel offers a decidedly different look than glass, and you will not easily see the color of the wine you’re enjoying. Food-grade stainless steel doesn’t affect the flavor and resists corrosion.

Similarly, some stemless wine glasses may boast a copper finish over stainless steel for a slightly different and trendy look.

Though stemless glasses are typically easier to store than stemmed glasses, keep in mind that you can’t hang them from a wine glass rack.

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Features

Color and design

A bit of color may be infused around the bottom, rim, or entire lower portion of the bowl. The color livens up your drinking experience and shouldn’t alter the taste dramatically, though it will affect the look of your beverage.

Similarly, some stemless glasses boast clever slogans or designs on the glass, much like coffee mugs. Plenty of cute, cheesy, and sassy sayings are available.

Portability

Some stemless wine glasses made of plastic or stainless steel come with an accompanying lid for wine enjoyment on the go. These may be insulated so you can enjoy a chilled variatel, but flavor may be sacrificed. An insulated stemless glass is a handy companion for a day at the beach or park.

Usage

Part of the appeal of stemless wine glasses is that they are equally appropriate for a variety of other drinks. You can enjoy a number of cocktails in a stemless glass, including sangria and simple mixed drinks. They’re equally suitable for enjoying iced coffee, frozen smoothies, juice, and soda. Since they lack a stem, it becomes much easier and acceptable to enjoy drinks that aren’t wine in them.

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DID YOU KNOW?
Some stemless wine glasses are referred to as tumblers, which is a general term for any short, relatively straight glass lacking a handle or stem. Tumblers aren’t necessarily shaped to enhance a specific wine, but they offer versatility and convenience.
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Accessories

Glass wine decanter: Le Château Wine Decanter
Aerate your wine to improve its notes and tastes. We recommend this classically elegant decanter from Le Chateau, made from handblown crystal.

Wine opener: HiCoup Kitchenware Professional Waiter’s Corkscrew
Before you can enjoy the wine, you need to open it. Invest in this simple yet durable corkscrew to remove any corked wine easily and effectively.

Stemless wine glasses: prices

Inexpensive: You can find a pair or foursome of plastic or standard glass stemless options for under $20, though these may not specifically complement aromas and flavors.

Mid-range: Most stemless glass sets cost between $15 and $30. You’ll find a variety of options when it comes to material, type, and number.

Expensive: For over $30, you’ll find sets that feature crystal glass from trusted names in glassware. These glasses are specifically designed for certain types of wine.

For those concerned about fingerprints on glass, some stemless options feature slight indentations toward the middle of the glass that you can easily grip without fear of unsightly blemishes.

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Tips

  • Fill appropriately. Pour wine into your glass, stopping at the widest part of the bowl. This leaves substantial room in the glass for aromas to collect while still giving you an appropriately sized drink.
  • Hold from the base. There are a few different ways to properly hold a stemmed glass, but what about stemless glasses? Hold as near to the base as possible; this will limit fingerprints and heat exchange while displaying wine color.
  • Learn to properly pour. Stemless glasses may be easier to pour into than stemmed ones because they are shorter, but proper execution is still a worthy practice. Pour steadily from about an inch above the glass, and lift and turn when complete. No drips should occur.
  • Decant to enhance taste. Most red wines, especially full-bodied bottles, should be decanted for at least 15 minutes, with some requiring an hour or more. The aeration improves taste and may be especially helpful if you don’t have a glass type that matches the varietal.
stemless wine glass3
A manufacturer might advertise that certain wines are ideal for its glassware. This is by no means exclusive: you’re likely to be well-served by the glass with any wine that shares similar characteristics, such as body or region.

FAQ

Q. How should I wash my stemless wine glass?

A. Stemless glasses are a bit easier and more convenient to clean than stemmed wine glasses. The dishwasher is a fairly safe zone since there are no stems to break off. Still, it’s recommended that you wash them by hand, particularly if the glasses are made of crystal. Warm water and soap will suffice; just be careful when washing the interior of the bowl, as it could crack.

Q. How many types of stemless wine glasses do I need?

A. Stemless wine and cocktail glasses aren’t as varied as those with stems, so there will be fewer selections available. The average couple may want four to eight glasses, with an option that welcomes most reds and another for most whites.

The total number of glasses you own, whether stemless, stemmed, or a combination, depends on a variety of factors including how often you drink wine and what kinds of wine you enjoy. Also keep in mind how much storage space you have available.

Q. Why is the right type of glass important for wine?

A. The shape of a glass significantly influences the smell and taste of a particular beverage, particularly coffee, beer, and wine. A glass can smooth out harsh, bitter tannins of bold wine, or it can collect the aromas of other varietals. Some less-expensive wines may even be enhanced by the right glass, bringing smells and flavors to the top of the glass, meeting you right when you take your first sip.

Drinking wine out of the wrong glass can ruin it, especially if the wine has a prominent feature. For example, drinking sparkling wine out of an aroma collector will quickly disperse the bubbles and render the drink flavorless and flat.

 

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