If, like me, you enjoy drinking your favourite tipple from a beautiful glass, then you will understand my quest for stunning glassware from which to imbibe! Having a beautifully set table with sparkling glassware somehow makes the meal very special.

Choosing the right glassware for the particular wine is important as it can affect the character of the wine. Aeration of the wine once poured is paramount for the releasing of the aromas.

Therefore, the correct size and shape is très important!

There seems to be a trend toward stemless glasses, which is great for daily use, however, the fact they are stemless, and one has to hold the bowl of the glass, thus causing the temperature of the wine to rise from the heat generated by said hand, is not ideal.

So, for every day, we use some simple stemmed wine glasses that come in handy packs of four usually. They look elegant, are available for red, white and sparkling and are easy to replace should they break.

The perfect shape for a Champagne or sparkling wine is a flute, as its important to keep the potential yeasts and fruity aromas contained, as well as containing the effervescence to be released over a longer period of time.

Personally I love thin-stemmed glasses, which look so elegant but obviously carry a greater risk of

breaking! These are normally used for special occasions (pre-covid). Can’t wait to bring them out again, hopefully soon!

My most loved ‘special occasion’ glasses have to be from the house of Baccarat. Dating from 1765 when the Bishop of Metz sought to encourage industry in the small village of Baccarat, which is about 400 kms to the east of Paris.

The local Verrerie de Saint Anne made glassware such as bottles, windows, glasses, and other tableware for many years and indeed survived the French Revolution in 1789. After the Napoleonic Wars (1812 - 1815) the great French glassworks, Voneche in Northern France, found itself outside the newly defined borders and in the new country of Belgium.

The owner, a Parisian, bought the glassworks in Baccarat to re-establish his business in France and continue to serve his French customers without the heavy duties which were imposed on imports. This new company focused on the high quality lead crystal that is synonymous with the name and has been winning awards since 1823!

There are of course other well-known French companies such as La Rochere, which is recognised by the bee pattern found on their glassware.

When setting a table, the water glass is set to the right of the place setting just above the large knife and thereafter, the wine glasses should be set to the right of that in the order in which they will be used and generally in a triangle or

diamond shape.

Since there are glasses for different wines it can be confusing, so we tend to use the trilogy of Champagne flute, red wine and white wine glasses. The red wine glass is larger than the white wine glass.

The Cabernet Sauvignon/Bordeaux glass, which is the traditional red wine glass, is larger than the Syrah glass which is larger than the Pinot Noir/Burgundy glass, which is shorter stemmed but has a bigger bowl!

For the white wine we have the White Burgundy glass, which is bowl shaped, the Chardonnay/Viognier glass, being the traditional white wine glass, whilst the champagne/sparkling wine glass is the flute shape.

The fortified wine glass is used too for sherry and dessert wines.

Of course there are water glasses, highball glasses, lowball glasses, shot glasses and whisky glasses, not forgetting brandy glasses, cocktail glasses, Irish coffee glasses, martini glasses and Margarita glasses. The snifter glass has a large bowl and a very short stem that is supposed to be cradled in the hand to help warm the drink it holds and swirled to allow the drinker to enjoy the aroma as they sip. This is mostly used for brown spirits such as Cognac.

Let’s not forget the different beer glasses such as a pint glass, a wheat beer glass (which has a slim bottom opening up at the top to allow for the froth) and the very many other jugs and stein glasses one finds.

Today, many glasses can be popped in the dishwasher and for those that are not dishwasher proof, of paramount importance is the glassware is kept chip free and hand washed in hot soapy water, rinsed well and dried with a glassware cloth in readiness for use.