Wine Glasses

By Carolyn Shearlock, copyright 2010 . All rights reserved.

Wine Glasses

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.

Yoebi ImageOne 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.

This wine glass holder is called a Yoebi, and it fits inside a standard drink holder.  You then slide the foot in and out to drink and set the glass down. See my full review of the Yoebi — I love it!

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 and links to several other wine glasses that I’ve reviewed since I first published this.  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.

Traditional Glass Wine GlassesImage of Traditional Glass Wine Glasses

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.

The Libbey Catawba Footed Goblet is sold in a 4-pack.  If you want a 12-pack, a very similar design is sold as the Sociable Wine Goblet.

Best for boats that often entertain at the dock or in very calm anchorages, and who want a traditional wine glass look and feel.

Image of Stemless Wine GlassStemless Glass Wine Glasses

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.

Image of Juice Glasses Other Stemless Glass Options

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.

Juice glasses that I like for use as stemless wine glasses:

  • 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.

Plastic Stemware

See my post on Nautspill Drinkware.

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.

Amazon:  8 oz. Strahl Osteria Stemless Glasses (set of 4)

Strahl also makes a 13-ounce stemless wine glass, with a diameter just over 3 inches:

Amazon:  13 oz. Strahl Osteria Stemless Glass (individual)

Amazon:  13 oz. Strahl Osteria Stemless Glasses (set of 4)

Also see my posts on GSI Stemless Wine Glasses and Govino Wine Glasses

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.)

Another “sippy cup” option — designed specifically for wine — are the Vino2Go glasses.

Stainless Wine GlassesStainless Wine Glasses

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.

Cheers!

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Comments

  1. Lisa Novak says:

    Another option that I did not see here is big heavy crystal glasses. We have been using them for years. They are pretty strong and we have had a few fall on the granite counter and not break.

  2. Candy Ann Williams on Facebook says:

    I love the creative sippy cup idea!

  3. Creative? More like desperate not to spill . . . or have bees and other bugs in my wine!

  4. Candy Ann Williams on Facebook says:

    Lol!! Know what you mean about spilling.

  5. I’ve tried glass, stainless, plastic, solo cups, and acrylic, and they all have their place. I’ve found I don’t care for the way stainless changes the taste of the wine, plastic and solo cups are great for dock parties where the are lots of people to accidently knock over your glass. Sippy cups are great for dinghy rides ( especially if it’s a little rolly or high speed). But for just hanging out on deck or in the cockpit glass I prefer glass. After being a live-a-board for five years, I’ve only broken 3 glasses. For someone as clumsy as me that’s pretty good.
    On a related note, to add to our cruising kitty, I started painting personalized wine glasses and the first ones I did were for some friends on their sailboat and it blossomed into other personalizations of pets and custom designs. Please check the website for pictures and information. http://www.classbytheglass.com

  6. I like to use the 8 oz Tervis tumblers, as well. Keeps wine the correct temp, fits mostly in our cupholders and even with chilled wines, no condensation!

  7. Barbara Schmitz says:

    I am looking for a place to order stemless wine glasses that can also engrave them with a picture of the boat and the name of the boat. This is a gift for my cousin and her husband. I found a website in September that did that (Rossmarine.com) but at that time I did not know the number of the boat to have engraved on the glass. The website had numbers that matched the model of the boat. I have since found out the number that matches, but now the website is not there. Can anyone help. Thank you, Barbara Schmitz

  8. Libbey makes 9oz stemless glasses, and better yet, Hercuglass (hercuglass.com) will treat them for added shatter resistance. We have Hercuglass champagne glasses (bought treated so that we could bring them on our next boat with us when we take off cruising again) and they have tipped over on wood a couple times now without breaking. I look forward to purchasing a dozen of these smaller, treated wine glasses for our next boat, rather than purchasing random packs of glasses here and there every few months to replace those that broke.

  9. We’ve been using these acrylic glasses from Crate and Barrel. They come in several colors now and are also stack-able which is a huge space saver. They run about $3-$4 apiece.

    http://www.crateandbarrel.com/acrylic-stacking-wine-glass/s569771

  10. Here’s another drink option from a company called Zarcor. http://zarcor.com/products/snapit/udh.php. I have a couple on my boat and they work great for just about every size you can think of. The top opening is 4 inches so it will fit just about everything including wine bottles and even Pusser’s painkiller mugs. The bottom works for holding traditional stemware although I will say that the shorter the stem the more difficult to get the glass in the holder as you have to tip the base out (or the bowl in) in order to get the bowl to rest on the bottom of the holder. The other option is the dedicate stemware holder.

  11. A lot of great options to choose from here for wine glasses on the boat. I love wine, and know how important the glass is to the flavor. I also know that on a boat there’s a higher risk of breaking glass, so the heartier the material the better. At this small online store, Kitchenova: http://www.kitchenova.com/Stainless-Steel-Wine-Glasses-2pc-Gift-Box_p_629.html they carry stainless steel wine glasses for a couple dollars less than the amazon link and they ship free. Using plastic tumblers is a brilliant idea, also!

  12. I was wondering if anyone else has tried using some kind of wine glass “socks” for rack hanging glasses to prevent breakage? I have heard of people using socks, hair scrunchies, and even custom made covers for their stem ware.

  13. We bought 4 stainless steel wine glasses with non-skid on the bottoms from West Marine in 1998. They’ve been used a few thousand times now. No problems yet.

  14. We use the stemless at anchor & our stainless steel drink bottles on the beach. !!

  15. We use Reidel stemless crystal. We’ve broken one in eight years. They feel good in your hand and on your lips. There are a number of sizes available and the smaller ones fit nicely in standard size cup holders.

  16. Stemless just seem to spill less for us. We have stainless steel and although we have never broken one and they fit in the cup holders, they are too top heavy and fit too loosely in shallow cup holders built into the binnacle… and that seems to be the most natural place to put them… we haven’t used them once and not have someone spill red wine.

    the thin stemless with the thumb print, brand begins with a Z but I can’t remember how to spell it… is our favorite.

  17. LLBean sells a plastic stem wine glass which nests the base into the cup, and allows for easy storage. We have had them on our boat for years. They are sturdy, don’t crack, and surprisingly well built for a plastic cup. I worried that the “screw” would wear out, or they would come apart during a sip and spill red wine everywhere. Never a problem. They are cheap, @ 7.95, and LLBean usually warranties their products for reasonable use.
    http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/63533?feat=1099-GN2&page=nesting-wine-glass&attrValue_0=Clear&productId=1067157

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