September 9, 2011 in Wine and Stemware
Wine glass has a long-standing history in which its position dramatically changed from purely utilitarian glassware to a form of art. First invented in Europe in the 15th century, wine glass has made several major changes to the society.
It is hard to imagine with a 21st century mindset that wine glass was almost nonexistent a long time ago. In 6000BC when glass was not even discovered yet, there were only non-glass containers made of clay, wood, and stone that were chiefly used to store wine in its earliest form. It is also known that the some wine containers were made with pottery, leather, and animal horns.
Around 3500BC, glass had made the first appearance and slowly began to replace the function of these containers. In the era of Roman Empire, they started introducing wine receptacles made of silver and pottery. The Romans, on the advice of the historian Pliny, modified glass to be used for making wine goblets to be complete with stem and foot (base). This wine glass was later known as one of the oldest surviving glasses of the 15th century. At the time, wine glasses were considered to be more valuable than even gold and silver. Glass was that hard to produce!
In the 16th century, classic English wine glasses engraved with diamonds by artists such as Verzelini, emerged. By 1970, popular wine glasses were adorned with upright stems as well as air twisted stems with incised twists on their peripherals. In the 18th century, artists from France made crystal wine glasses of superior quality. Cordial glasses with bowls were the staple during the same period as well.
Wine glass was not only a receptacle but also a part of fashion. Its design changed constantly according to the tastes of the society, so that they are historical objects that reflect the contemporary trends. For example, wine glass made during 19th century was often produced as a set of 12, each for containing claret, burgundy, port, sherry, champagne, and liqueur because such kinds of glassware were in demand.
During the 1950s and onwards, the society had begun a glassware evolution by accepting wine glass as a part of art. They made wine glasses for almost every wine variation, with specific aims for wine tasting.
Nowadays, modern wine glasses have become more elegant and diverse. Designers discovered and promoted a multitude of sophisticated shapes, sizes, and decorations, adding new depth to the glassware.