Stemless vs. Stemmed Wine Glasses: Which Glassware is Right for You?

Being a serious wine drinker and collector means having a never-ending selection to choose from. To start with, you can choose between red, white or blush; sweet or dry; sparkling or still.

And now — thanks in large part to glassware manufacturer Riedel — you can also choose between stemmed and stemless glassware. While much of your decision will depend on your own personal preference, each type of glassware has its pros and cons.

If you’ve been building your wine collection for several years, you’ve already seen plenty of wine trends come and go. You might see stemless wine glasses as just another fad. But this contemporary style of glassware has plenty to offer.

Read on for more details on when and why you might chose stemless or stemmed glassware.

Schott Zwiesel Glasses
Schott Zwiesel Wine Glasses

Wine glasses deconstructed

Traditional wine glasses have three main parts: the bowl, the stem and the base. The bowl holds the wine. The stem is the slender part that connects the bowl and the stabilizing base. Contemporary stemless glassware has neither stem nor base, earning it a less-than-glamorous nickname: The tumbler.

Riedel Wine Glasses
Riedel Stemmed Wine Glasses

The pros of stemmed glassware

If you’re more of a traditionalist, you may prefer stemmed glassware. Other pros to stemmed glassware include:

  • Fingerprint-free and elegant

  • Stem keeps body heat from fingers away from the wine itself

  • Easier to view, analyze and assess the wine itself with a stem to hold

  • Makes swirling easier

  • Available in a greater variety in bowl sizes, configurations and material types, including lead, barium crystal and plain glass

  • Easier to eyeball correct portions

  • Better suited for formal affairs and place settings

Riedel O Stemless Wine Glasses
Riedel O Stemless Wine Glasses

The pros of stemless glassware

If your style is more contemporary and you might want to use your glasses for beverages other than wine, stemless glassware might be more up your alley.

  • More stable and less prone to breakage

  • Can easily double as water glasses for kids, teens and non-drinking adults

  • Easy to transport to picnics or away events

  • Most are dishwasher safe

  • Take up less storage space when not in use

  • Easier to hold and drink from – especially for elderly guests

  • Typically more affordable

Since both types have their pros and cons, you don’t necessarily have to pick one or the other. You could always bring out the stemmed glassware for special occasions, and keep a set of stemless glasses for everyday use or casual get togethers.

Do you prefer stemmed or stemless wine glasses?

About the author: Shannon Cutts is first and foremost a birdie mama (to a very pretty and quite precocious grey parrot named Pearl.)  She is also an author, freelance writer, speaker, mentor, nonprofit director, lover of wine and retro threads. Visit her at Visit Pearl at

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