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Glass vs. Crystal Wine Glasses: How Do They Differ?

Most wine glasses in bars, restaurants, and homes are made with glass or crystal. It might not seem like a significant difference, but it is. It’s time we talk about glass vs. crystal wine glasses and the types of wine glasses made with each material. But most importantly, we’ll tell you how you can tell good quality wine glasses from average ones. 

The wine glass used impacts how you perceive and enjoy wine, and the material used in the different types of wine glass matters. Let’s talk about glass vs. crystal wine glasses. 

Glass vs Crystal Wine Glasses

The difference between glass and crystal glasses is in the material’s properties. Glass is an affordable, non-porous material that is translucent and dishwasher safe. Still, glass is fragile, so producers must make thick wine glasses to make them durable.

On the other hand, crystal has added minerals, including lead, magnesium, and zinc. This makes the material stronger, allowing wine glass producers to make thin pieces that are much more elegant. Crystal is also shinier, and it has a ring to it, making for more excellent wine glasses. 

How Can You Identify Good-Quality Wine Glasses? 

The easiest way to know if you’re dealing with a glass or crystal wine glass is by inspecting the rim’s thickness. Glass wine glasses have a thick lip, and crystal wine glasses are incredibly thin.

You’ll also notice crystal wine glasses have more refraction — those are the minerals in the material. When in doubt, tap the wine glass with any object. If made of glass, it produces a clunky sound, but crystal wine glasses have a long-lasting ring. 

Although crystal wine glasses are thinner than their glass counterparts, they can be heavier, as the minerals in the material make them quite dense.

Wine Glass Anatomy

Let’s go back to the basics. Now that you know the difference between glass vs. crystal wine glasses,  we’ll discuss the typical wine glass anatomy. Keep in mind the types of wine glasses available vary in size and shape. 

wine glass anatomy


The rim is one of the most important parts of any wine glass, as it’s the only part of the glass in touch with your lips. Thin edges provide a more sensual experience. 


The shape and size of the bowl determine if the wine glass is best suited for red or white wine. Generally, you want to pour wine to less than the bowls’ half capacity. The bowl collects the wine’s aromatic molecules as well. 


The stem is where you’re supposed to hold the wine glass. Today, stems can be thin, but they’re more resistant than you think. 


The foot allows you to put down the wine glass. High-quality wine glasses have a foot and stem made with the same piece of mouth-blown glass

The ideal type of wine glass depends on what you’re looking for. You can classify wine glasses for their material, but you can also categorize them for their uses. The materials used to make wine glasses are the most significant factor when choosing the right wine glass for you. For wine lovers and quality-minded establishments, crystal is the way to go. For caterers and casual eateries, glass might work.

How Is Crystal Glassware Made? 

Although machines make most crystal glassware with giant molds, the best wine glasses are still handmade with the traditional mouth-blown process. The impact on the taste delivered by any wine glass is also essential. If the glass is too clunky and thick, you’ll miss out on the wine’s subtleness. The pricing, washing, and storage of the different wine glasses can also influence your buying decision. After all, we all have different needs.

How to Tell the Difference Between Glass and Crystal? 

Inspecting glass and crystal wine glasses side by side is the easiest way to see the differences between the two very different products. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask! 

If you want to ensure your wine glass collection is of the right quality for the job, order glass or crystal glasses online - find a supplier you can trust!

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