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 Does a wine glass need a stem? But who ever thought wine lovers could get so worked up over such a seemingly small matter?
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Does a wine glass need a stem?

Look over Riedel "O" glasses on
Certain topics are almost certain to start a joyous debate among wine enthusiasts: Are screwcaps better than cork? Is Robert M. Parker Jr.'s influence on the wine industry good or evil? Can mega-corporate industrial producers ever make great wine?

But who ever thought wine lovers could get so worked up over such the seemingly small matter of whether your wine glass needs a stem? Since I wrote about the Riedel "O" series of fine but stem-free wine glasses in Standing O in the Feb. 23, 2005 Wine Advisor, the archived article has become one of my most frequent topics for E-mail questions.

Just about everyone has an opinion, and it's usually a vivid one, ranging from "glasses without stems are just plain tacky" at one end to "only wine snobs care if the glass has a stem" on the other.

Pro-stem fundamentalists cite long-standing tradition, and add that the stem keeps your hand from warming the wine in the glass and avoids smearing the bowl with greasy fingerprints. Anti-stem radicals argue that simple tumblers are good enough for trattoria and taverna, where wine-loving revelers understand that the purpose of the vessel is nothing more than to convey the precious fluid from bottle to mouth. Add wine-geek points to the Riedel O, they say, for turning the modest tumbler into something much more worthy for fine wine: An elegant crystal vessel with a properly shaped bowl, rendered casual and portable by the deletion of the fragile stem.

Just for fun, I've opened a simple poll on one of our WineLovers Discussion Group forums, inviting you to cast a simple up-or-down, yes-or-no vote on the question, "Does a wine glass need a stem?" Once you've cast your vote, I hope you'll stick around the forum to add a comment or two about your preference.


Riedel glassware is widely available from online and bricks-and-mortar vendors, but it's hard to beat's current sale prices, which offer the Cab/Merlot glass at $18.99 for a pair, a 24 percent discount from the $24.90 list price. Here's a link to buy, with the usual small commission to for purchases made through this link.

For a look at's full line of Riedel O glasses, use this link.

Or use this link for all types of Riedel glassware and decanters.

Want more wine talk? Got a question? You're always welcome to join the online conversations in our non-commercial WineLovers Discussion Group,

To contact me by E-mail, write I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.

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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

Monday, March 27, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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