Nobody knows for sure how glass was first discovered. However, since the first piece of uneven glass was placed into a window frame, and the first thick piece of glass was fashioned into a goblet for wine, glass has been part of human society.
Like wine, terroir is important in glass, as the content of the soil influence the quality of the finished product. Five areas throughout the world are renowned for excellent glassware, namely Italy, France, Sweden, Ireland and Bohemia – in what is today the Czech Republic. Czech and Slovak glass has few rivals in terms of the quality, range and artistry of their products. These countries pride themselves on their heritage and on the ability to produce items that will become the heirlooms of the future.
Defining the difference between crystal and glass is not an exact process. While it is true that all crystal is also glass, only certain types of glass can be properly defined as crystal. Across the globe, there are different standards that are employed in various countries around the world that determine if the quality and content of a particular substance can be properly classified as crystal or if the item should be identified as glass.
Crystal glass products are often hand blown and cut. This requires exceptional craftsmanship and artistry, and can be very time consuming. Some products are also machine blown and there for often more affordable. The quality of the product is however still outstanding.
People like to use crystal glasses because of their brilliance and sparkle. The way that a crystal glass catches light is very elegant and clear. But crystalglasses’ advantages are not only primarily aesthetic. One factor of crystal is it is generally considered to have a higher index of refraction, thus changing the angle of the light passing through the material.
There for the wine drank from a crystal glass will display its’ true colour and won’t be influenced by the slight blue tint of glass. Crystal is also rougher than glass on a microscopic level, allowing wine in the glass to breathe more efficiently when swirled in the bowl and the aromas to be appreciated better. The metals present in the crystal matrix also offer several advantages in the material’s workability during production. The result is a much finer, elegant wineglass with a thin diamond cut rim, rather than the thick, rounded lip one often sees with glass.
Enjoying a good wine employs all five senses. A glass made of crystal will ensure you experience it to its full potential:
The type of glass you use to drink wine from depends heavily on the kind of wine you drink. If you plan to drink an expensive, finely crafted red wine, selecting the correct kind of wine glass will enhance the experience by releasing additional aroma and flavors in the wine.
Although the material, color, size, and thickness of wine glasses are all important, the single most important aspect of a proper wine glass is its shape. Different wines require different sorts of wine glasses to best appreciate the wine.Each type of wine glass follows the same tulip-shaped design and has three essential components: the base, which keeps the glass upright, the stem which allows one to hold the glass without transferring one’s body heat to the wine, and a body conducive to maximum flavor and aroma for that particular type of wine.
Most wine glasses are designed in a way that directs the wine to the parts of the mouth where its flavour will be most appreciated.Red wine glasses are taller and wider so the complexities of the wine can be better appreciated.
The wide bowl allows the wine to breathe and brings out the rich aromas.
White wine glasses are smaller to help keep the wine cool.
Champagne Flutes are tall and thin, which will allow the bubbles to build up properly. Sweet wines, such as dessert wines, require smaller glasses that dispense the wine to the back of the oral cavity so the sweetness doesn’t envelope the whole tongue and overwhelm by its flavor.
Crystal glasses are rather delicate and need to be handled with care, especially when you clean them. The high temperatures in a dishwasher may cause them to break, as can using too much pressure when hand washing. Wash crystal ware gently by hand and use a soft dishcloth for drying, as crystal glass is fragile and scratches easily. Never pour a liquid that is very hot into a crystal glass, as this can easily shatter it.
Fine glass should be cleaned by hand washing. It’s really best for all glassware because the dishwasher will cause etching and discoloration of clear and coloured glassware.
Fold a dish towel and put it inside your sink. The towel prevents the glasses from sliding around and it prevents them from being chipped on the sink.
Add water and mild dishwashing liquid and warm water. Rinse in water the same temperature. Fine glass can develop tiny cracks inside the glass which ruin its appearance. Never put a glass cold from ice into a hot sink to wash.
Hold the glasses as you wash them by the bowl only and never by the stem. Twisting a glass around while you hold it by the stem can cause the stem to break.
Glasses that have food or liquid stuck inside them should be soaked in water with dish liquid and fabric softener in it. Put one tiny squirt of dish soap and add about 1/2 teaspoon of the softener. By the next morning, glasses should come clean with no rubbing.
Avoid streaking by using a tub filled with water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar or isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. Use this as a rinse after you’ve cleaned the glasses. The alcohol or vinegar will act as a drying agent to prevent any streaks. You can air dry them with this method. Put them upside down on a towel if they’re stemware. Other glasses can be dried right side up.
If you need your glasses to dry right away, dry them carefully–holding by the bowl only again. Pat rather than rub them dry.
With proper care, your glasses should stay in great shape for many years to come.
Tips & Warnings:
Do not set crystal stemware upside down to dry or for storing. This may cause stress fractures as the lip is a very fragile area and will eventually break under the weight of the bowl and stem. Store crystal stemware in a clean, dust free cabinet. Rinse crystal stemware as soon as it is used to avoid the buildup of food or beverage that will be difficult to clean later.
Wear gloves and use caution when holding the stemware over steam to avoid getting burned. Do not wash crystal stemware in the dishwasher as this will shatter them.