Glasses can be such a unique identifier.  Perhaps you are of the made local camp, or handmade and French.  Or long to be effortlessly cool serving wine in a tumbler.  Having the perfect glass for the exact wine might be your preference.  Or perhaps you lean toward the crème-de-la crème and only bourgie will do.

Current glassware trends are moving towards more unique and eclectic styles, the stemless has become ubiquitous, albeit still cool and practical. However, it’s not just style that counts with glassware. Practical considerations are important too, does the glass fit in your dishwasher, is it handwash only, do you have the cupboard height/storage space required? Do you use them alfresco, are you someone who knocks glasses over, do you have children, big dogs or terracotta floors?

Glasses with unusual shapes colours and textures are having a revival. Think asymmetrical shapes, jewel or pastel colours or different textures (like the ribbed coupes favoured by the Insta kids right now). The outdoorsy among you might be drawn to double-walled glasses that keep your drinks cool and have caps, useful on the boat or in the brilliant heat of summer.  

I have divided my favourite glasses into handmade glassware, laid-back wine tumblers, specialists, and bougie crystal.

Handmade glassware:

Tesutti is one of those stores where everything is beautiful. The price reflects the skill, notoriety, and design chops of the artisan makers.  I covet many items in this store, especially the Astier de Villate Adrien glassware (which I am convinced would mix nicely with my existing four squat Italian glasses).  Handmade in Paris and priced individually.    

The jewel-toned R+D LAB glasses are gorgeous too.

It doesn't come much more special than handmade to order from a local glass blower, I love the goblet from Monmouth Glass, followed neatly by their "smooth cup" range.  They have a few colours and patterns and a great unique feel.

Laid-back wine tumblers.

Tumblers for wine-drinking have an “I woke up like this” insouciance.  No one would look sideways in France or Spain if you slung a stunning tumbler half-filled with red at them while cooking dinner. 

The Duralex Picardie 220ml, Gigogne or Provence are probably the most common European drinking tumblers. Effortless, minimal and multi-taskers, you will have seen them filled with lattes at the local cafe and they are shatterproof and used in school cafeterias all over France.  Watch out if buying online as they have an espresso size (90ml), that is too small for wine. 

Iittala is a Finnish glassware company that makes a very famous vase. They have several nicely coloured and textured tumbler glasses. Available in lots of places I have added the Studio Tableware link as there are lots of other good things to look at there.

La Rochere tumblers at Sabato, each of the four glasses in the set has a different texture.  A great way of having a set without being overtly matchy-matchy. Also available in an espresso size (100ml) so look for the 230ml.

The specialists

Plumm – offering specialist glasses to match your varietal. This is a newer glassware brand that offers a unique and modern take on traditional glassware. Their designs are sleek and minimalist, glasses have a thin and delicate profile. Dishwasher safe, making it perfect for everyday use. Prices are still affordable compared to luxury brands. I have these in my glass cabinet and favour the squat white wine shape.  I also have three dozen of their outdoor glasses for parties. You will find these at Father Rabbit.

Riedel and Spiegelau – This is your pick if you need a specialist glass for the varietal you are drinking. Riedel is a German glassware brand offering a wide range of glasses for different types of wine and spirits. They also own Speigelau. Their designs are functional and elegant, with glasses specifically designed to enhance the flavour of the wine.  Grab these frrom Smith and Caughey’s, The Spiegelau Store and Glengarry shops.

Schott Zwiesel - Schott Zwiesel is a German glassware brand that offers high-quality glassware at an affordable price. Their designs are simple and elegant, with a focus on functionality and durability. Smith and Caughey & Homeloft stock these.

Bourgie Crystal

This is the good stuff.  Not for the days where the under 5’s are ranging around and the Great Dane is jumpy.  In saying that cut-crystal can be sturdy and handle a knock or two.  I was always told not to put it in the dishwasher as it can go cloudy.  Hot soapy water followed with a hot rinse is best if you find yourself juggling the Palmolive.

Baccarat Crystal - Baccarat is a luxury crystal known for its intricate patterns and beautiful cuts. Baccarat glassware is among the most expensive in the world.

Lalique - Lalique is a luxury French Hand-cut crystal and glassware company started in 1922 by René Lalique, offering intricate designs. Their glassware is known for its art nouveau style and sculptural quality.  I can't find a direct glassware retailer locally, but you could contact ABASK (linked above) or Cavit and Co. as they range other Lalique items, or pick it up on your travels.

Waterford - Waterford is a well-known brand that offers elegant crystal glassware. Their designs are classic and timeless, with intricate cuts and patterns.  They have a nice weight and feel and sit outside of fashion.   Big-name designers come in and do ranges for Waterford so there is some variety. The more classic styles are back in fashion for vintage lovers and sell on the second-hand market.  Check Cordys Auction House.  To buy new also see Smith and Caugheys.

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