Wine has an international appeal. People drink it on every continent and more often than not, from a glass. Has the question ever crossed your mind though, why glass? Why not from a mug, wooden goblet or plastic cup? The answer is unfortunately not that simple. Wine is actually drunk from a number of non-glass containers in different countries. For example, wooden cups are used in Thailand and in Japan they often drink their wine from a ceramic vase-like cup. However, the overriding choice of tableware drinking vessel, wherever you go, is glass. It's really more a result of other methods not being appropriate than glass being that special in any way. Lets examine what else is on offer.
Wood. As mentioned previously, wine is drunk from wooden cups in some places but it does have some major flaws. Firstly, if you are drinking red wine there is a high chance the wood will stain. Even if it is very hard wood, discolouring will occur. Secondly, when wood is in contact with liquid from prolonged periods it starts to rot. So after each use, time would have to be spent drying it out and removing any moisture.
Metal. If you have ever drunk wine from a metal cup you will know itís not the best experience ever. 'displacement' is the chemical reaction that causes this and it comes about as a result of metal have a very high count of 'ions'. This basically means that some of the metals ions move into the wine and so affect the taste. This is why you often pick up metallic notes when drink from this type of cup. Also, because of its very heat-conductive qualities, almost any other material would keep the wine cooler when youíre holding it
Ceramic. Like glass, ceramic is non porous, does not release any of its qualities into the wine, and can be easily cleaned with a glass cloth. This is why lots of people do use ceramic, although there will never be as many people as use glass because, very simply, you cannot see what is in the vessel. A large part of the experience of enjoying a fine wine is watching it swirl around the glass, admiring its body. The desire is a very instinctive one and something that has been around since the development of glass.