What Makes the Best Wine Glasses – Crystal or Glass?

Wine lovers want nothing to detract from the favourite drink, and when it comes to choosing the material of what their choice of wine glass is made of is no trivial matter. Firstly, there are all shapes and sizes of wine glasses, and it does matter greatly which you choose to suit what wine you are drinking.

Different Kinds of Wine Glasses

Although there are many different sizes, in the main there are only six different types of wine glass. Standard, flute, tulip, coup, hock and tumbler. Certain wines certainly do taste better in the correct kind of glass, for instance if you are drinking Champagne then a flute style of glass is advised, the rim of the glass is narrower than its base and this helps the bubbles to stay in the wine longer. A robust red wine such as a Burgundy or a Cabernet Sauvignon a standard wine glass is preferential, the wide mouth of the glass allows the wine to breathe and thus let the full aroma and flavour out.

Crystal v Glass

One of the biggest decisions to make on choosing what wine glass to use is the material the glass is made out of. The big debate here should it be glass or crystal? And again, it really rather depends on what you need the glass for. The biggest difference between glass and crystal is the lead and mineral content, crystal can contain up to 30% more minerals than standard glass and this is why a crystal glass is much heavier than a standard glass.

  • Glass – the benefits of glass is that it is normally thicker and thus is more durable. It is also inert, non-porous and safe to use in a dishwasher. Various types of glass are very durable so there are less breakages.
  • Crystal – crystal can be spun and therefore can be much thinner, it has added minerals that could be magnesium, lead and zinc. Crystal must be hand washed as it tends to be porous although some varieties can be placed in a dishwasher.

Crystal glass is not actually a quartz rock, but the name crystal was for marketing purposes as it sounds less dangerous than lead glass.

Benefits of Crystal

The biggest benefit of crystal glass is that it can be very thin, this makes the lip of the glass extremely thin to the lips. The lead in the glass also refracts light, which adds an extra dimension to the wine as you hold the glass to admire its colour. There are some lead-free varieties of crystal glass which are durable and dishwasher safe.

Benefits of Glass

The main quality of glass is that it is not porous so it does not absorb aromas and is highly durable. Most glass wine glasses have to have a lip at the rim, which is not ideal for sipping delicate wines. The biggest advantage is that of cost, glass is much cheaper than crystal. Perhaps the answer is in borosilicate glass, which is highly durable, scratch and heat resistant, perhaps you may have seen bodum coffee glass mugs, these are made from borosilicate. Otherwise it’s your choice completely.