The best wine glasses for your boat? That’s a hard one . . . what’s perfect for me may be all wrong for you. So I’ll first discuss several considerations, then discuss the pros and cons of specific wine glasses. Unfortunately, I haven’t found the glass that meets all the criteria for use on a boat, so you’ll have to decide your priorities to pick “the perfect boat wine glass.”
What Do I Want in a Wine Glass?
The look and feel of the glass are always important, but being on a boat adds a few other considerations: are they likely to tip over? if they tip or fall, will they break? Depending on your location, there may be other factors such as the ability to keep bugs out of the wine.
One problem with traditionally-shaped wine glasses — that is, glasses with stems — is that they don’t fit into drink holders. Or maybe I should say that drink holders don’t keep them from tipping. I recently ran across a drink holder insert designed for stemmed wine glasses (see photo at right) that does prevent tipping.
There are some more good photos of it on the Yoebi web site and you can buy them there — as well as discounts on sets of 4.
9 Wine Glass Options to Choose From
Below are “mini reviews” on 9 wine glasses that are good on a boat. You’ll probably laugh at some — a sippy cup? really? — but each makes sense in certain circumstances. In making these recommendations, I’ve tried to keep affordability in mind but I also know that everyone has a different idea of how much they’re willing to spend and some options (such as stainless steel wine glasses) simply do cost more.
Here are my choices, with “glass” glasses first, followed by less breakable options: plastic and stainless.
If you want a traditionally-shaped glass wine glass, the Libbey Catawba Footed Goblet is my choice. The tulip shape works for either red or white wines.
Being glass, they are breakable, but the glass is heavy enough — particularly in the stem, the most vulnerable spot — that they are less likely to break than many other glass glasses. They are also less top-heavy than many other wine glasses, making them less tippy.
While they have a nice look and feel, the primary disadvantages are the fact that stemmed glasses just can’t be put into most drink holders (but see the Yoebi above), making them more likely to tip or fall, and the fact that if they do fall, they’re glass — if one breaks and you’re barefoot, be careful! The corresponding advantage is that since they’re a footed glass, they hang nicely from overhead glass racks.
Best for boats that often entertain at the dock or in very calm anchorages, and who want a traditional wine glass look and feel.
Stemless wine glasses seem like such a great idea for using on a boat, but there are a couple of things to be aware of. First, many don’t fit in a standard size drink holder (3-1/2″). And many don’t really have good gripping areas — which can be a problem if the boat suddenly rolls.
The Libbey Vina Stemless 17-Ounce White Wine Glasses aren’t perfect, but they are a good choice for boat use if you want a “real glass” stemless wine glass. They will fit in most drink holders (the ones designated as “red wine” glasses won’t) and since they are a little smaller in diameter, they are easier to grip.
They are also thicker than some other wine glasses, so they are less likely to break — but they’re still not heavy glass and thus it’s likely that you’ll have some breakage over the years. Another “disadvantage” (depending on your viewpoint) is that they are large and it’s easy to fill them fuller than you intend.
Sold in a box of four.
Another option used by many boaters for “wine glasses” are actually juice glasses. Admittedly, they don’t have the traditional tulip wine glass shape, which bothers some purists, but they overcome several of the other problems. Juice glasses will almost always fit in standard drink holders (and have heavier bases so they’re less likely to tip even on a table), and most have some design features that make them easier to grip. They are also usually made of heavier glass than “wine glasses” and thus are less likely to break. Typically, they hold 6 to 7 ounces.
- Bormioli Rocco Galassia Tumbler Juice Glasses (pictured above; sold in boxes of 6) — smaller size than a traditional wine glass, but a similar shape. The pattern in the base makes them easy to hold with a finger under the bottom.
- Bormioli Rocco Rock Bar Stackable Juice Glasses (pictured at right; also sold in boxes of 6) — these should fit in any drink holder (even “smallish” ones) and are very easy to grip. They’re also heavier glass than almost anything else I’ve found. No one will mistake them for fine crystal, but for everyday use on a boat, they can be a good option.
Que Tal came with a beautiful set of Lexan stemmed wine glasses. We quickly learned the problem with almost all plastic stemware — it’s top-heavy and tippy. Most of the bases just aren’t large enough, and thin stems will snap regardless of claims of being “unbreakable.” Plastics also have the problem of scratching and clouding with time. In less than a year, we consigned our set to the trash bin.
Unfortunately, I just haven’t found any Lexan or acrylic glasses that I think would do any better, so I’m not listing any.
Plastic Stemless Wine Glasses
I just found these 8 oz. Strahl Unbreakable Stemless Glasses, with a 2.75-inch diameter — so they’ll fit in a drink holder. They are made of polycarbonate with a thick base to reduce tippy-ness.
Strahl also makes a 13-ounce stemless wine glass, with a diameter just over 3 inches:
Another Plastic Option
You’re looking at the picture and either laughing hysterically or wondering if I’ve lost my marbles. But if you’ve ever been in a rolly anchorage, tried to take your regular wine glasses for a sunset dinghy ride or been where bugs keep getting into your wine, then you’ll appreciate this idea:
A sippy cup.
The Contigo Autoseal Kids Cups (14 ounce) are actually an improvement on a sippy cup. You press the button to drink and when you release it, it seals. Totally spill-proof and leak-proof if it tips over. Plastic so it won’t break. And small enough to fit in almost any drink holder, at just over 3″. Okay, so it may not be traditional, and it may not be fancy, but it is useful in addition to your “real” wine glasses. Sold in sets of 2 at Amazon. (Note: they also make larger sizes good for other drinks that you need to protect from insects.)
Some people like stainless wine glasses; some don’t. They are almost impossible to break, but some just don’t like drinking wine from metal. And if you’re drinking chilled white wine in a hot locale, they’ll sweat a lot. But as an alternative to glass, they’re prettier than the other options.
That said, these Stainless Wine Glasses can be a good choice for your boat and they are quite a bit cheaper than some of the other stainless wine glasses available and are sold in sets of 2.