#LBSSavoirvivre: Have you ever wondered why a wine glass has a stem?

Have you heard the saying: “there’s power in detail”?
This expression applies to everything surrounding us and what we want to transmit, whether we’re talking about the manufacturing of an object, words chosen in a book, or the manners shown at the dinner table. These are what turn the ordinary into extraordinary.

Yes, showing good manners at the dinner table is about being respectful and showing gratitude for a meal. But what is even more important is the way we are doing so. Being proper, elegant, and polite are all prerequisites, but what we are about to see are the minor touches of good conduct that one should display in order to transmit its appreciation in the classiest way possible.

Have you ever wondered why the wine glass has a stem?

The anatomy of the wine glass is very precise and has a meticulous logic behind it that enhances our wine-tasting experience. One of the most common mistakes one can make when tasting wine is holding the glass by its bowl and not by its stem. Many can deduce the most obvious reasons why this is a mistake: beside changing its peak optimal temperature by warming it up with our palm, it is also unaesthetic, as we leave unwanted fingerprints on the crystal-clear crafted glass.

However, the origin of the stem is linked to a less glamorous story, dating back to the 17th century. The first wine glasses with stems appeared as a precautionary response to a series of poisonings that were occurring at the French court, called “L’Affaire des Poisons”. The servants were plotting against the regal house, so they were discreetly pouring poison into the guests’ cups. As a result, the servants were obliged to hold the glass by its stem, permitting the guests to clearly see what was being poured into the bowl during the wine service. It was impossible to pour poison into the drink, as their hands would never get close to nor ever make contact with the edge of the glass. This stemmed design then spread throughout Europe and the rest of the world, becoming a sign of nobleness and distinction, a symbol of elegance and refinement. Today we are not confronting the issue of noble poisonings anymore, yet, what is left of this past is a beautiful item of glassware that has a long and interesting history that should be treasured. We shall keep on looking and using the stem as the dance partner of the wine, the one that makes it waltz and spin, and accompanies it gracefully and delightfully.

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