Serious wine glasses: part two
Last July, I went on a search for a high quality universal wine glass. After considering various options, I narrowed it down to three choices based on quality and budget. I wrote:
I cannot resist trying THE ONE red wine glasses from Andrea Robinson. German crystal, professionally designed, holding 19 ½ ounces, and only $13.50 per stem is hard to beat. But I will order four and see how they perform with different wines.
My personal choice for a practical, affordable, and elegant universal wine glass? The Zwiesel Forte collection Burgundy/Light Red and White Wine glass. I would prefer a glass holding more than 14 ounces (full capacity), but I like the practical design, price, and elegant look. They will be great for wine tastings. That said, I’m also order a set from the Gigi line, as a runner-up, but not the red glass. I prefer the Gigi white wine glass height and its enhanced swirling capacity, with a generous enough capacity of almost 18 ounces. I also favor Zwiesel’s strong and longstanding eco-friendly commitments.
All three arrived in Panama via Miami without any breakage or damage. I have tried all three for months in ordinary use.
All three were always hand washed. One of the Forte glasses broke, but only recently. It slipped out of my hand, falling a few inches onto a tile floor, and that was it. I lost two Gigi glasses, but the second time was attributable to uncareful placement in a crowded sink by a third party; the same happened to one of THE ONE glasses.
Overall, all three are sturdy glasses, though I believe the wider bowl and caved design on the Forte glass makes for somewhat clumsier handling (yes, that's if you're picking it up by the bowl and not the stem).
Although prior to actually using these three glasses, my first choice was the Zwiesel Forte, it turned out to be my least favorite. It has a wide bowl, but the shortest stem among the three. It also looks too much like a restaurant wine glass for my use at home. On the positive side, it cleans up easily and has a wide opening. The bowl is big and broad. It's relatively light, but strong. On the negative side, there is an almost imperceptible seam on the stem. It's too short to be elegant. Wine tends to spot on the bowl. It may be too big overall for a universal glass.
I love the Gigi, which was designed for white wine but serves perfectly well for rose, white, and sparkling as well. It's strong and cleans easily. The stem is long and the design angular and modern. It's the tallest of the three. The opening is just barely wider than that on THE ONE. The Gigi cleans up very easily, though it seems like the heaviest of the three but just barely. There is, like the Forte, an almost imperceptible seam on the stem (though for some glasses it almost disappears). I don't worry as much about breaking the Gigi in washing or handling. The design makes swirling wine a cinch even though the bowl is narrow.
THE ONE is impressive. This a a true crystal wine glass with no seams. The pulled stem is longer than the Forte but shorter than the Gigi. It has a more modern design, blending angles and curves, but without being as brash as the Gigi. The opening is the smallest of the three, very slightly smaller than the Gigi. The base is the widest among the three, adding stability. Wine never spots on the bowl. Although designed as a red wine glass, it serves well for rose and white wines, slightly less so for sparkling. Before trying it, I thought it would be more delicate than it is. Overall it has an adaptable, elegant design without being traditional like the Forte or very new-fashioned like the Gigi. One downside is that it can be hard to clean the bottom of the bowl (just don't let red wine sit in the glass for too long).
My choice for a serious wine glass is THE ONE from sommelier Andrea Robinson. The quality to price ratio is outstanding, especially considering the current cost of crystal wine glasses. Although I've seen complaints about the small opening, it didn't bother me. Wine swirls effortlessly. I will order more. The graceful design will embellish a dinner table or a social event. It's a solid wine glass. I will also continue to use the Gigi white wine glass for everyday, and I might even see what the red wine version has in store . . .
Charlie Leary, PhD, has provided his top picks in wine education in his new book Leary’s Global Wineology: A Guide to Wine Education, Mentorships, and Scholarships (Hibiscus Panama SA). The book provides a reference to dozens of wine studies and mentorships programs as well as scholarships in 19 different countries. Consisting of nine chapters, the book is the only comprehensive guide to wine studies options worldwide, which include numerous online options. The number of scholarships for wine studies has increased in recent years.
Leary was interviewed about the book for The Wine Conversation podcast late last year.
The categories Leary chose for this inaugural edition include: The Best Wine Education Buys of 2023; The Three Most Vibrant Scholarship Programs; The Top Three Most Recognized and Valuable Wine Trade Qualifications; The Top Three Most Recognized and Valuable Sommelier Qualifications; The Top Three Schools or Programs for a General Wine Education from the Beginning; and The Top Three Innovative Interdisciplinary Wine Studies Offerings at Any Level. Leary also notes certain notable developments in wineology.
Here are the selected programs:
The Best Wine Education Buys of 2023
o George Brown College Wine Specialist Program: with many online options, qualified instructors, and each course costing about CAD $180–300. Nine courses are required to graduate.
o Certified Wine Specialist, Society of Wine Educators (with member discount): an affordable, recognized wine qualification supported by free online classes for members.
o Argentina Wine Specialist, Napa Valley Wine Academy: an affordable wine certification through online classes and exams focused on a wine producing nation of increasing quality and importance.
The Three Most Vibrant Scholarship Programs
o Gerard Basset Wine Education Charitable Foundation
o Roots College Fund
The Top Three Most Recognized & Valuable Wine Trade Qualifications
o Master of Wine from the Institute of Masters of Wine
o Diploma from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust
o Certified Wine Educator from Society of Wine Educators
The Top Three Most Recognized & Valuable Sommelier Qualifications
o Master Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS)
o Diploma from the Association de la sommellerie internationale (ASI)
o Diploma from Le Cordon Bleu, London or Paris
The Top Three Schools or Programs for a General Wine Education from the Beginning
o WSET Levels 1-3: Although the WSET curriculum could use reform and instruction quality varies among its 800+ approved program providers, it provides a ladder for rapidly progressing from no general wine knowledge to an advanced level.
o San Francisco Wine School: Starting with its Intro to Wine Series, the School offers numerous options for both aspiring professionals and enthusiasts to advance their wine knowledge, including proprietary courses; prep for SWE, WSET, and CMS qualifications; online options; various proprietary certifications; and intensives.
o Napa Valley Wine Academy: With its proprietary Wine 101 Foundations and Wine 201 Wines of the World courses, the NVWA seeks to “demystify” wine for beginners and then offers all WSET levels in addition to specialized courses in a variety of important wine regions. There are 35 course options.
The Top Three Innovative Interdisciplinary Wine Studies Offerings at Any Level
o Hochschule Geisenheim University: provides a diverse curriculum, expertise across all aspects of the wine world, important collaborative options, and inter-disciplinary learning programs leading to both undergraduate and advanced degrees.
o Linfield University: a small university close to Oregon wine country offering an interdisciplinary curriculum emphasizing theory and practice, including BA or BS degree options, plus advanced study programs in wine business, including a 5-year undergraduate/master’s program in conjunction with one of France’s top wine universities.
o HEC: Paris-based, advanced international business program touching on all aspects of the wine trade spectrum alongside world-class instruction.
Notable Recent Developments in Wineology
o The Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas’ reforms and changes, including an online course as well as alterations to the exam structure for their qualifications and the regulations governing courses and exams, including an aim of increasing “inclusion of underrepresented communities”
o The University of Strasbourg’s new program on geo-sensorial tasting leading to a university diploma combined with Wine Scholar Guild’s WSG Tasting Lab™, which also uses geo-sensorial principles
o Washington State University’s new wine tasting room certificate
o Brock University’s new Foundations of Winemaking course, with both in-person and online options
o Cordon Bleu London’s new online certificate course in wine tasting
Some of Leary’s picks may be expected by those knowledgeable about the world of wine, but others may surprise readers. The books includes numerous little-known programs, such as the University of Strasbourg’s new diploma program on geo-sensorial wine tasting.
The books is available as a paperback on Amazon and as an eBook through Kobo, Amazon, Apple Books, and Google Books.
Charlie Leary has worked as a sommelier and wine director since 1995. He earned a doctorate in history at Cornell University and taught briefly at Tulane before entering the hospitality business. He holds numerous wine qualifications. In 2004, Random House published his cookbook on Creole cuisine.
Charlie Leary earned his PhD in history at Cornell University. He has served as a wine director for restaurants in New Orleans, southern France, Canada, Costa Rica and Panama since 1995. He is a certified Spanish Wine Specialist, Cava Educator and Expert and has studied wine through Washington State University, the Wine Scholar Guild, California Wine Institute, and the Rioja Academy. Charlie is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers.
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