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The Story Behind Our Wine Glasses

September 15th, 2023

If you’ve ever bought wine in our shop, you’ve also been served a taste of the wine before you buy it. Maybe you’ve never given a second thought to those glasses, but they actually have a rich history! 

The Shape

Though we have various shapes of the exceptional Mark Thomas wine glasses for sale, the all-around glasses we use in the shop for tastings are called INAO glasses, so called because they are certified and approved for use by the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine. This is the same body that governs the wine appellations in France, thus ensuring your bottle of Bordeaux isn’t made with Provence grapes. This glass shape was standardized in the early 70s for professional tasters so that wines could be evaluated using the same glass, thus starting from a common baseline. They have specific dimensions, show below: 


INAO glass dimensions

(Image from Wikipedia)

The Production

The INAO doesn’t have a patent on the shape, so there are many producers out there that sell them, with varying levels of quality. The glasses that we use at the store are the best ones out there. They are made by Luigi Bormioli, the original maker of the INAO glass. They are ultraclear so that a wine’s color can be accurately evaluated. In addition, they are lead- and heavy metal-free, and dishwasher safe. Despite their delicate feel, they are actually more break-resistant than normal glass due to being TITANIUM Reinforced ®, a process developed by Luigi Bormioli, which also prevents their discoloration.

And you can buy them!

We actually sell these glasses! You can choose the ones you like best off the rack and go home with them. We have a few designs, including the instantly-beloved Wine Bunnies logo that we debuted a few weeks ago

They may look small compared to your honking Bordeaux glass, but they comfortably hold a full 4 oz pour. And, the beautiful tulip shape concentrates the wine’s bouquet, so you can take in all your wonderful wine’s aromatics. So next time you visit us in the shop, you can appreciate the history and science behind your glass!