We Tested 8 Stemless Wine Glasses to Find the Best Ones for Casual Drinks
Posted in Serious Eats
September 6, 2022

We Tested 8 Stemless Wine Glasses to Find the Best Ones for Casual Drinks

the lineup of wine glasses tested on a black countertop with white background
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

Writing about anything to do with, what I call, the WWW (in this case, the Wide World of Wine) comes with risks: there are very smart people out there whose whole lives are devoted to the study of this one beverage, and they know their stuff and aren’t afraid to say it. 

Enter me: starry-eyed lover of glou-glou (a.k.a chuggable wines) who uses an app to help choose which bottle of wine to buy on a given day. I’m by no means a wine expert, but in some ways, that makes me (or anyone like me) the perfect tester for stemless wine glasses. You see, many sommeliers aren’t huge fans of stemless wine glasses—the stem is integral, they say, to properly enjoying a quality glass of wine.

“For me, a stem is really important,” says master sommelier June Rodil. “Especially in regards to temperature, because you’re constantly going to be touching where the wine is with a stemless glass, so you’ll be increasing the temperature faster.” Increasing the temperature of the wine can dull or muddy the flavor. So, having a stemmed wine glass is important at fancier restaurants who are running a very professional wine service and/or when expensive, slowly-savored wine is on the menu; and if you want to experience nicer wines in a sommelier-approved manner, we suggest going with a stemmed wine glass

But being more laid back with wine has its place and time, and a stemless wine glass sets that vibe.

“They allow you to be casual with wine and not take it too seriously,” Rodil says. “There are so many delicious wines that are just great straight out of the gate, and I think if that’s your purpose of drinking wine, you’re in a great place.”

So that quaffable, chilled, juicy red blend (or rosé or white) you’re serving at a casual backyard party? Now that’s stemless material. Stemless glasses are also good for, ahem, clumsy guests who are prone to bumping into things (or mischievous cats who take sadistic pleasure in knocking things off the counter); most are less likely to shatter quite as easily as stemmed glasses. And you can use them for more than just wine—cocktails look quite nice in them, as does lemonade, and heck, even water looks a little sexier. 

So, without further ado, let’s dig into the results of our very fun review of stemless wine glasses. (A note about our lineup: there are TONS of stemless wine glasses on the market, so we tried to get a mix of shapes and sizes to reflect this variety.)

The Winners, at a Glance

The Best Overall Stemless Wine Glass: Schott Zwiesel Tritan Forte Universal Tumbler

If you’re looking for a solid (and we mean this literally), all-purpose stemless wine (or cocktail, or non-alcoholic drink) glass, this is it. It’s an elegant but sturdy glass that’s a moderate 11.25 inches in diameter—in other words, a good size for a variety of hands. The rim is smooth and flush with the glass, making for a pleasant sipping experience, and the narrow opening captured and concentrated aroma. 

The Best Fancy Stemless Wine Glass: Waterford Elegance Stemless Wine Glass

Yes, these are on the pricier side for a stemless wine glass, but they are lovely to use. The rim was thin and smooth, and the glass was a comfortable diameter to hold (11.25 inches, the same as our overall winner). The glasses also had a narrower opening that concentrated the aroma of the wine. One note, though: they’re not dishwasher-safe. 

The Best Casual Stemless Wine Glass: Bormioli Rocco Stackable Bodega Glasses

No, these don’t look like a traditional wine glass, but they are a fun and fancy-free European-style glass for imbibing wine. They’re best for casual gatherings with friends who enjoy small pours (and who aren’t prone to making messes, since they are quite shallow). They’re also very easy to stack, making them great for those without a ton of storage space. 

The Tests

pouring red wine into waterford stemless wine glass
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly
  • Ease of use and spilling test: I filled each wine glass with five ounces of water (the equivalent of a standard pour of wine) and walked around with it, noting if the glass was comfortable to hold and if water sloshed or spilled. 
  • Red wine test: I had five users with different hand sizes use each glass to drink a 5-ounce pour of red wine. 
  • Cocktail test: I filled each glass with a serving of margarita with ice, noting if it comfortably fit inside. 
  • Sparkling wine test (winners-only): I poured five ounces of sparkling wine into each of our favorite glasses, noting if it overflowed and timing how long the bubbles took to settle down. I then sipped each serving, noting aroma and how the glass was to hold and sip from. 

What We Learned

Users Preferred Mid-Sized, Versatile Glasses 

hand holding the nude wine glass
Glasses (like the Nude ​​Pure one pictured here) that were larger than 11.25 inches in diameter at their widest point were difficult to hold.Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

Across the board, users preferred glasses that were around 11.25 inches (or less) in circumference at their widest point; they were less tiring to grip for longer periods of time than larger glasses. The Nude ​​Pure Set of 4 Bourgogne Glasses, which are a whopping 13.5 inches in circumference, were described as “big in the hand” and “very similar to a fish bowl.” While they were optimal for swirling wine, that was about it. We also liked glasses that could be used for a variety of beverages, including cocktails, sparkling wines, and non-alcoholic drinks. The Schott Zwiesel and Waterford glasses aced our tests for sparkling wine and margaritas, and looked quite stylish while doing it. They were tall enough to accommodate the fizz of sparkling wine without going flat quickly, and large enough to hold a margarita with a few cubes of ice. Though the Boriolo bodega glasses did successfully hold sparkling wine, it felt a little risky pouring it into them. The aroma was also muted, since they don’t have that classic wine glass curve. We think they are best suited for still wines or cocktails without ice, like martinis, or if you’re someone who drinks their alcohol neat. 

Smooth Rims Were the Most Pleasant to Drink From

the rim of the waterford glass in contrast with the bulbous rim of the libbey glass
Users preferred thin, smooth rims (like the Waterford, pictured on the right) over bulbous or sharp rims (like the Libbey, pictured left).Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

Glass rims ranged widely, with some near-sharp, others bulbous, and yet others smooth and flush with the rest of the glass. The rim on the Riedel O Wine Tumblers were too sharply cut and the rims of the DuraClear® Tritan Outdoor Stemless Wine Glasses had a thin seam running through them and were uneven. Bulbous rims, like those on the Libbey Hammered Base All-Purpose Stemless Wine Glasses, felt cheap and splashed wine ever so slightly when sipping. In the end, we preferred smooth, flush rims, like those found on our favorite glasses, which were pleasant to sip from. 

Stackable Glasses Were Easy to Store

bodega glasses stacked up on a black countertop
The bodega glasses were easy to stack and store.Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

While the bodega-style glasses were far from traditional shape, this was also an asset; they are very small and easy to stack. This makes them a great option for small-apartment dwellers or people who don’t want their cupboards taken up by a single layer of stemless wine glasses.

Users Disliked Fragile, Light Glasses

Users preferred glasses that had a bit of heft to them—our favorites weighed between 4.2 and 7.3 ounces. They disliked lightweight, fragile glasses like the Riedels, which weighed a mere 3.7 ounces and were so delicate, one user said she “felt like I could crush them with my bare hands.” This style of glass may feel and look elegant, but it didn’t seem to be the durable, casual wine glass we were looking for. Conversely, some glasses were almost too clunky, like the DuraClear; one user said they’d make a good paperweight, hardly a quality we want in a wine glass! 

The Criteria: What To Look for in a Stemless Wine Glass

the schott zwiesel wine glass annotated with: Easy to hold, smooth rim, and sturdy, yet elegant
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

A good stemless wine glass should be versatile, easy to hold, and smooth to sip from. We preferred wine glasses that were 11.25 inches or less around their widest point, and that had smooth rims that were flush with the glass. They should also have a bit of heft to them and not feel too fragile. Bonus points for glasses that were easy to store. 

The Best Overall Stemless Wine Glass: Schott Zwiesel Tritan Forte Universal Tumbler

What we liked: This wine glass was thin, but still had enough heft to make it feel solid and durable—it was also a good size for a myriad of hands. The smooth rim was pleasant to drink from, and the long, tapered top also made it ideal for drinking a variety of wine, since it captured and concentrated aromas and, with sparkling wine, kept the bubbles contained. 

What we didn’t like: The opening of the glass was a tad small, though this was good for concentrating aromas, as well as containing bubbles in a pour of sparkling wine. 

Key Specs

  • Number in set: 6
  • Circumference at widest point: 11.25 in
  • Diameter of opening: 2.5 in
  • Weight: 7.3 oz
  • Materials: Tritan crystal glass
    Cleaning and care:
Schott zwiesel stemless wine glass on black countertop with white backdrop
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

The Best Fancy Stemless Wine Glass: Waterford Elegance Stemless Wine Glass

What we liked: With thin, smooth rims and not-too-wide circumferences (11.25 inches), these fancy glasses were comfortable to grip and drink from. The narrow opening also captured aromas quite well, really bringing out the pepperiness of one of the reds we used for testing. It was also large enough to hold cocktails that require ice. 

What we didn’t like: Like the Schott Zwiesel, the opening was a wee bit narrow, but it was still fine to drink from. The biggest downer is that, at nearly $70 for a set of two, these are quite pricey; they’re also not dishwasher-safe. 

Key Specs

  • Number in set: 2
  • Circumference at widest point: 11.25 in
  • Diameter of opening: 2.5 in
  • Weight: 6.1 oz
  • Materials: Crystal glass
    Cleaning and care:
    Not dishwasher-safe
waterford stemless wine glass on black countertop with white backdrop
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

The Best Casual Stemless Wine Glass: Bormioli Rocco Stackable Bodega Glasses

What we liked: These durable wine glasses are best for casual parties, where the wine doesn’t require a large bowl and tapered nose to capture aroma. They’re super comfortable to hold and are easily stackable (I live in a tiny apartment, so this was a big win for me). Bonus: they come in a set of 12, which is a great number for hosting. They’re also versatile in that they can be used as lowball glasses for cocktails without ice (martinis would look particularly cute) and also, oddly enough, as tiny dessert serving bowls (I used them to serve panna cotta and peaches with whipped cream).

What we didn’t like: These glasses are not great for cocktails that require ice, nor ideal for fancier wines, since they don’t capture aroma. The 7.5-ounce sized ones we tested were also shallow, so you’ll want to pour a slightly smaller amount than a standard serving if you want to avoid spillage. And while they surprisingly did a decent job holding a pour of sparkling wine, the aroma (and bubbles) faded fast.

Key Specs

  • Number in set: 12
  • Circumference at widest point: 10 in
  • Diameter of opening: 3.25 in
  • Weight: 4.2 oz
  • Materials: Glass
    Cleaning and care:
the bodega glass on a black countertop with white backdrop
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly

The Competition

  • Riedel O Wine Tumbler Cabernet/Merlot, Set of 4: While users liked the shape of this glass, it was very light and felt like it would break incredibly easily. We also weren’t a fan of the sharp rim. 
  • Nude Pure Set of 4 Bourgogne Glasses: This style of wine glass is traditionally used for wines with delicate flavors; the larger bowl allows the wine to open up more and the nuanced flavors to rise to the top. And if these glasses had stems, we might have liked them more, but as a stemless glass, they were just too large to comfortably hold—they gave off fishbowl vibes. 
  • Libbey Hammered Base All-Purpose Stemless Wine Glasses: These glasses felt cheaply made, with a visible seam and thick, bulbous rim. However, while we weren’t a huge fan of the hammered glass look, it did provide nice indents for our fingers when holding the glass. 
  • DuraClear® Tritan Outdoor Stemless Wine Glasses: While, in theory, we liked the idea of a plastic stemless wine glass (who hasn’t had a wine glass accidentally shatter?) these glasses disappointed. They were bulky, with one of our testers likening them to a paper weight. And to be frank, they were rather cheap: the plastic had a faint blue-ish sheen to it and visible seam. 
  • Tour Stemless Red Wine Glass: While we really liked the look of this glass, which also sat solidly on the table, users found the shape and size a bit too unwieldy. The widest point of the glass is 13.25 inches in diameter, a hair smaller than the largest glass in our lineup. 


What’s Tritan glass? 

Tritan glass is a type of crystal glass first made by the brand Schott Zwiesel. It contains titanium and zirconium oxides rather than lead and barium, which were often used to make glass in the past. According to the manufacturer, this makes them more durable and less prone to shattering than standard glass. Tritan material can also be used when making plastic to make it more durable.

What should I drink in a stemless wine glass?

Put away the fancy wine—instead, use stemless wine glasses for drinking fun, casual wines that don’t require time to open up (a juicy, chilled red; most rosés; fun whites; and even orange wines work). They’re also great for iced cocktails and other drinks. 

What is the best way to hand clean a stemless wine glass?

I like to hand wash my wine glasses with Five Star P.B.W. Cleanser (a brewery favorite) or Barkeepers Friend Cleanser, both of which get cloudy glasses clean without scumming them up with soap. To dry, master sommelier June Rodil recommends using a microfiber towel or Graham Wubbies a.k.a embossed paper towels. 

Do I need a different wine glass for red and white wine?

While some restaurants and bars will use different glasses for different wines, if you’re drinking wine casually at home, a universal wine glass will do just fine for a multitude of styles.

Grace Kelly September 6, 2022 at 07:38PM

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