Italian Restaurants and their awful wine glasses

You know what really grinds my gears? The terrible wine glasses many traditional Italian restaurants have. Why do so many Italian restaurants only offer glasses without a bowl? You cannot swirl and adequately smell the wine. Even some high end Italian restaurants I’ve been to utilize these same glasses. I shouldn’t feel the need to bring my own stems whenever I eat Italian food.

The last time I was in Italy was about 13-14 years ago, so I don’t remember if all their restaurants used the same glasses and if Italian restaurants only utilize the same glasses to be “authentic” to Italy. Anyone able to comment on this? If this was the case, it would make sense, but I wish many would upgrade their glasses to modern stemware.

I find unless if you’re going to a very wine focused Italian restaurant, they always have awful glasses that ruin the wine drinking experience.

I am referring to these kinds of glasses. The entire reason I am bringing this up is because I recently ate at a few places in little Italy in NYC and every restaurant had these same glasses. V-shaped. #rantover

1 Like

Good rant, John. I can totally sympathize. I don’t particularly mind the use of correctly shaped tumblers. This work for me. But so many have cheap glasses that have the wrong shape.
Maybe we could start a movement to get Georg Reidel to invent a glass for Italian wines!!

Not sure I’d recognise this existing in Italy itself, though invariably we’ve been staying in one of the plethora of wine regions, and it’s very rare we’ve ended up in a place without wine of interest, so maybe they exist but we don’t see them.

The only place that immediately comes to mind as having glasses unsuitable for fine wine, was a basic rural (but with good food / own hand made pasta) place in Emilia-Romagna, where I think we had a single tumbler for wine & water, with the intent that they were mixed together in it. The wine being cheap and functional, if a little rustic, made some sense for this arrangement, though it felt weird.

There may have been others with basic paris goblet style glasses, but that’s going to be going back a few years, and most probably in a very basic / utilitarian family style trattoria.

I’ve bever seen those shape of glasses, except perhaps in a museum.

1 Like

That makes sense, because Little Italy in NY is basically a museum. A relic of another century still existing only to be visited by tourists intrigued by life in another age.

1 Like

The sad truth is that 95% of their customers don’t notice or care that they are drinking from glasses that are less than optimum for having wines show their best.

These are less expensive and less likely to break. Little Italy diners don’t care. So little incentive to change sadly.

But I’m with you. I simply can’t drink out of these glasses. I switch to beer.

1 Like

I just spent a couple weeks in Italy/Sicily except for the most rural places like farms they used normal restaurant stems.

What city are you talking about? I’ve never seen a glass like that anywhere. It seems uniquely silly.

The truth is, a lot of “traditional” Italian restaurants in America bear almost no resemblance to any restaurant I’ve ever eaten in in Italy. Whether it’s Americanization over the generations, or simply preserved tradition from southern Italy (where most Italian-Americans came from) a century ago, I don’t know.

The ironic thing is that Italian wineries have had a (healthy) stemware fetish since at least the 90s. At a time when simple, lousy stemware was used at many top French properties, you’d generally be served with a Riedel stem in Italian cellars.

1 Like

I live in NYC and have eaten at countless locations in the city, Long Island, and New Jersey. The number of locations that use glasses similar to this are countless. It drives me crazy.

1 Like

I’ve never seen that kind of glass in NYC. But I wouldn’t doubt it on Long Island or in New Jersey. :grin:

1 Like

John, this is a bit like complaining the glassware at your local pizza spot in Times Square leaves something to be desired!


Dare I ask how the food was?

This is the more serious, in terms of gravity relative to the stemware situation.

(John, I’ve eaten there, too. I just don’t post about it. :grin:)

1 Like

We started in the North:

By the time we got to Rome:

1 Like

Lol! Hey, @Ramon_C when family comes to visit and that’s what they want to do, you do it! But, I understand your point.

@John_Morris The food was decent, but nothing worth writing home about.

John, I feel your pain. I do run into this problem especially with some Italian places in NJ. I also found the same crappy glasses at Thai restaurants not matter how nice. I had a regular Thai place that I would go to when I lived in NJ, it was funny 15yrs later they still remember me as the guy who would bring his own glasses (obviously it’s not that common). Fun rant