Guide to Choosing Glassware

Setting the table with the right drinkware is like choosing the right jewelry for an outfit. The glasses will express your personal style, but they’ll also establish the tone and mood of your event.

Glassware Styles

What kinds of glassware are there?

Stemware refers to drinking glasses with a long stem between the bowl and the base.  Common pieces include wine glasses and champagne flutes.

Barware includes glasses with solid, flat bases, like highballs and whiskey glasses.

In either case, the shape of each glass is designed to enhance the beverage it holds.






Which glasses should I select for everyday use?

Your everyday glassware should feel comfortable in your hand and be durable, dishwasher-safe, and easy to store.  Simon Pearce makes wonderful everyday glasses.

Understanding Glassware Materials

Should I buy glass or lead crystal formal stemware?

It depends on the look you want.  Glass is more affordable, but less brilliant.  Lead crystal, which is produced by adding 24% red lead oxide to glass, is heavier, more clear, and more brilliant.  The addition of the oxide also softens the raw material, so lead crystal can take on more intricate cutwork and designs.  High-end stemware is usually made from lead crystal.

Varga Art Crystal

Suggested Quantities

What shapes and quantities should I buy?

At a minimum, we recommend the following:

12 everyday water or juice glasses

12 formal water glasses

12 formal white wine glasses

12 formal red wine glasses

12 champagne flutes

One pitcher

One wine bucket

One wine opener

One ice bucket

What other complimentary pieces do I need?

Other popular options include beer mugs, rocks glasses (like double old fashioned), cocktail glasses (like martini glasses), shot glasses, and brandy snifters.  For cocktail parties, additional pitchers, carafes, and decanters are elegant serving items to stock in your bar.


Caring for Glassware

How do I care for my stemware?

Fine stemware should be washed by hand and dried with a lint-free cloth. Never use steel wool or abrasives on your stemware. We do not recommend using the dishwasher for any crystal stemware.


How do I store my stemware?

Stemware should be stored right side up to protect the rims of the glasses from breakage. We recommend placing fine stemware near the backs of your shelves to protect them from accidental handling.



Completing Your Set

How do I lay out my dinnerware and stemware?

Place the presentation plate directly in front of each guest’s chair. Next, set the dinner plate directly on top of the presentation plate. The bread & butter plate should be placed at a 10:00 angle to the dinner plate. The water glass should be at the 1:00 angle from the dinner plate and just above the knives. The wine glass is then placed directly the right and below the water glass, and the champagne flute then further to the right and above the wine glass (thus forming a small triangle).

Mario Luca Giusti

To view more bar and glassware collections, click here.


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1 reply
  1. Millie Hue
    Millie Hue says:

    Thanks for pointing out that we should consider the durability of the glassware before buying one. Like you said, we should check if they are safe for the dishwasher and easy to store. I will keep that in mind when buying glasses and other kitchenware this weekend. My boyfriend and I recently got married, and we just moved into the house that we bought. Now, we needed to buy house items to make it feel like a real home. Thanks!

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