Do Wine Glasses Make A Difference?

I’m going to answer my own question.


I’ve tried every manufacturer of wine glasses on the market… I think. A couple of months ago I bought a Zalto ‘Burgundy’ glass and poured a 2012 Aubert Sugar Shack into it and was blown away. That juice was singing an opera out of the glass. I can see why Aubert got rid of all his Reidel’s in favor of Zalto ‘Burgundy’ glasses. Red wine has the same affect with the juice singing out of the glass and I love how thin, yet strong they are. The Allot Burgundy feels wonderful in the hand.

No, I’m not a Zalto salesman, just find the product to be superior to anything I’ve used in the past. They’re worth every penny.

Maybe I was influenced by a Asimov’s (NYT critic) article I read a while ago, but I noticed Zalto is kind of a ‘Mouth of Truth’ for wines, as it amplifies aromas, flavors but also flaws.
I found that sometimes for everyday drinking wines it ends up highlighting flaws that might be masked by other glasses.
100% agree on making good juice sing though!

I did a “horizontal” across several glasses when I got my Grassl’s. Compared the 1855 to a Riedel Somm and some other red wine glasses I had. It’s true there is a difference and it was easy to discern. The Grassl Cru was much better at focusing the nose. The Riedel somm was not far behind but was so large you kinda had to move your nose around to get all the aromas. The other glasses smelled and tasted flat comparatively. After I was done, I told my wife I had a four wine blind-tasting for her and she was shocked that they were all the same wine. She preferred the Grassl

Did similar but less scientific experiments with various white wines and the smaller Grassl’s (and my old stuff). I agree that the better glasses do not leave flaws anywhere to hide.

Like wine, though, I imagine there’s diminishing returns here. I don’t think you need a separate glass for every wine grape and region nor that a $200 glass is 4x better than a $50 glass. I got the Grassl’s on sale and think they are a good value. I have not tried the Zaltos though.

There will be more to come on this from my firm. We’re working hard on some pretty extensive testing across the major lines with sommeliers. This is likely an evolving topic too. I also think that people don’t drink the same wine out of a broad enough spectrum of glasses at the same time to do a fair comparison.

I am biased as the N.American Grassl importer. But, I think our glass performs in many superior ways to what Zalto is putting out. Roulot felt the same way and moved to our Liberté from the ZU, and there are more names like this to be announced by us.

Either way - glasses DO matter. It’s not really even debatable any more.

What is debatable is what works for the consumer and what the consumer tends to drink and then likes in the wine.

Also, here’s a good example of a quirk that catches people off-guard with our glasses. Zalto suggests white burgundy be drunk from their Burgundy glass. It would follow that WB be drunk from the Grassl Cru. In fact, we get vastly superior results using the Liberté stem.

Trust Chris.

I’m a big fan of the Grassl glasses and a big fan of dealing with Chris to get them - He runs an A+ operation all the way. I totally buy into the notion that the glasses make a difference.

Now, I pivot to skeptic mode. I wonder if the best glass for a wine is a bit like the “hot hand” in hoops or the “streak hitter” in baseball - identifiable only in hindsight. In other words, while I am convinced that if you open a bottle of wine and pour 3 oz into each of four different glasses, you will get different impressions and may prefer the wine in glass C to the wine in glasses A, B, and D, I am not convinced that this is predictive - that because you preferred glass C today, you will also prefer glass C next time, even if the wines are somewhat similar. I’m not convinced to the contrary, either, of course. More research needed.

In the meantime, I continue to drink my low-acid reds from my Grassl 1855s, my high-acid reds from my Grassl crus, etc. They are great glasses either way.

I swear by my zalto glass and I really think they add significantly to the wine tasting experience. A friend recommended Grassl and I’m waiting for my 1855 to be delivered to test them out. However, I’m shocked to see that they put “Machine-washable” on the packaging. Has anyone really put them in a standard home dishwasher, without any special racks or protection?

I wash my Grassls (and washed my Riedels before that) in the dishwasher all the time. It does have a flip-down stemware holder, but that came standard with the dishwasher.

I also have machine washed the Grassls. Mostly OK, although I broke one due to the top (third) rack being a bit weighed down. They look a lot better out of the dishwasher (Bosch, also with a stemware holder) than when I try to wash them by hand. LOVE THE GRASSLS.

Machine washing is massively safer than your soapy hands.


Grassl kicks assl.

Great discussion. For you Grassl fans, what’s your favorite glass from them? I’m open minded and would have no issue checking them out.

My preference is general is the Grassl Cru for red and the Liberte for whites but it depends on the wine. I have all four models but prefer these two and for me, that’s really all I need. They are all excellent and well worth the money, though, and Chris’ customer service is very, very good. Can’t recommend him and the Grassl’s highly enough!

Glasses 100% make a world of a difference when tasting any wine at any price point in my opinion. I think a great glass can help make an even somewhat mediocre wine shine.

I have Rosenthal “Tac 02” white wine glasses and “Tac 02” red Burgundy glasses, and couldn’t be happier. They retail for about $30 each, but can often be purchased for close to half that at Bloomingdales with sales, coupon codes, Rakuten cash back, etc. They’re crystal (I believe hand blown) and super high quality in my opinion. The glass is very thin which I happen to love, and from a functional standpoint I believe really allows you to taste what’s in your glass. The thickness of the glass is very similar to that of Zalto, but the glasses themselves are considerably heavier, maybe twice as heavy. I attribute this to perhaps a thicker and taller stem, and perhaps different crystal used shrug. I actually happen to prefer the extra bit of weight.

If you’re in the market for glasses I definitely recommend checking out Rosenthal’s line of Tac 02’s. I’ve tasted from Zaltos a handful of times and was extremely impressed. In my opinion these are a very comparable option to some of Zalto’s offerings and at about $18- $20 per glass after coupons, sales, discounts, etc. they’re considerably cheaper, and I actually prefer them slightly. The only glass I’ve tasted out of that I prefer to Zalto or Rosenthals Tac 02’s is Giacomo Conterno’s Sensory glasses, and this may very well be due to an unfair subconscious bias (I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to have tasted with Roberto Conterno at his estate last year, and he served his wine out of these glassed, which may very well have caused an unfair bias towards them).

I’ve heard great things about Grassl, but have no experience with them first hand.

My preference is the 1855 because I mainly drink reds-Cabernet, Syrah, Zin…The Cru is my go to for PN. All of the Grassl glasses are great. Reach-out to Chris and he will take care of you. His customer service is indeed excellent.

Might have to spring for some Liberté sooner than later. I have the Zalto BDX, “White,” and Champagne and have liked Glasvin universals (replaced my Riedel universals as go-to daily drinker glass and loving it), and also pre-ordered their BDX and Burg stems as well because they’re such a great price point. But I really don’t have a great glass right now that focuses as tightly as the Liberté at the rim which I’d like to experiment with for some varietals. I drink a lot of older Napa and have often wondered if a slightly tighter glass might work better for some of the more delicate older wines than a Zalto BDX.

Anyway, a big “yes” to glasses making a difference. Not only are there big differences aromatically, but certain glasses also swirl better than others just in terms of drinking logistics. I also think that in the same way that you don’t eat USDA Prime steaks off a paper plate, you don’t drink fine wine out of crappy 1990s wedding gift goblets–wine even more so. We’re talking about an experience in serving wine that accentuates the pageantry with the pulling of the cork, decanting, etc. Going through all that and then pouring the wine into a nice hand blown glass only adds to the experience IMO.

Justin, give the 1855 a try if you have not. I prefer it over the Zalto BDX by a wide margin.

Interesting - they actually look super similar - like more than any other glasses between the two lines. What about them do you much prefer?

What you like about the Liberté for whites you will like the 1855 for reds. The opening is smaller which focuses the aroma better. I also prefer that the glass is shorter and more balanced in my hand. The glass appears thinner and more elegant.