St. Helena, California – For the first time ever, a line of glassware designed around the flavor of wine has been released to trade and consumers in the United States. The set of three glasses corresponds to three key flavor/styles found in wine: Crisp & Fresh™, Creamy & Silky™ and Bold & Powerful™, intuitively putting the power of glass selection in the hands of wine consumers and trade professionals.
Liberating and simple in premise, the Flavor First™ line of glassware was meticulously designed over three years by wine expert and lauded author Karen MacNeil in collaboration with Senior Vice President of Design and Creative Director, Paul Gebhardt of The Oneida® Group, producer since 1880 of fine table and kitchenware to homes and restaurants worldwide.
Their idea was simple—design wine glasses around wine flavor, not around wine regions or wine varietals. Taking into consideration the architecture of the glass, the nature of the human palate, and the desire of consumers and food service professionals to simplify this complex subject, MacNeil and Gebhardt had an “aha” moment together at a wine training Karen conducted for The Oneida® Group. Why, they asked, wasn’t there a stem that took the overthinking out of glassware? Why not focus on the fundamental pleasure and flavor of wine itself?
Trials, tastings, iterations over time, and testing of 40 different design options yielded a simple solution. MacNeil stated, “As a writer and wine teacher who’s taught thousands of people how to taste and evaluate wine, I listen carefully to how people talk about wine and the words they use. Most people are non-technical; they use ideas such as ‘bold reds’ or ‘creamy chardonnays’ to describe what they like. In other words, they use flavor words.”
Always academic and thoughtful in her approach, Karen looked at 35 major grape varieties and realized that the glass diameter at the widest part of the glass had the greatest impact on the expression of the wines. As she states, “Oxygen has a profound effect on wine. For each of our three glasses, the widest part of the glass is at a different position.”
Gebhardt, said of the collaboration, “Karen and her team are amazing, and together we made the idea a reality. Along with flavor as a driver of form, I wanted to create a line that had as many back-of-the-house operational advantages as possible. The design needed to be easy to live with at home, as well as in a commercial operation, both of which are key audiences for our company.”
Importantly, the vessels were designed for daily life at the table, and as such are dishwasher safe. While each glass is endowed with a precision bowl shape and a thin rim typically reserved for glassware three times the price, the carefully calibrated “pulled” stem and foot ensure that the glasses will endure through meals and explorations. All three stems are the same height, making a seamless presentation for a wine tasting or meal with different pairings and ease of storage. The glasses are American designed and made in Germany from lead-free crystal.
The core stems include (all sold at retail in sets of four and six):
Crisp & Fresh™ for champagne, prosecco, sparkling wine, sauvignon blanc, riesling, and pinot grigio plus light rosés and all wines with a fresh, bright quality
Creamy & Silky™ for chardonnay, chenin blanc, pinot gris plus richer rosé wines and pinot noir, chianti, shiraz and all wines with a round, silky texture
Bold & Powerful™ for very full bodied, oaky chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, Bordeaux, zinfandel, malbec, Barolo, syrah and all wines that feature a bold texture and firm structural backbone
Petite Stem: Designed for more casual gatherings, a next generation version of the stemless glass but, importantly, with a foot to allow for swirling and easier handling. It’s also great for beer, iced tea, and select cocktails such as a classic Gin & Tonic.
Available for sale in sets of four and six or as a variety set of six with two stems of each, the glasses are available at a number of retailers such as Amazon, wine.com, Macy’s, Dillard’s, TheBay.com (Canada) and are also available at Oneida.com and KarenMacNeil.com. Priced at $74.99 per set of six, the per stem price averages $12.50, extremely affordable when compared to other similar quality wine glasses on the market today.
About Karen MacNeil
Noted writer, author, and educator Karen MacNeil is the only American to have won every major wine award given in the English language. These include the James Beard award for Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year, the Louis Roederer award for Best Consumer Wine Writing, and the International Wine and Spirits award as the Global Wine Communicator of the Year. In a full-page profile on her, TIME Magazine called Karen “America’s Missionary of the Vine.” In 2018, Karen was named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Wine.” Karen’s firm, Karen MacNeil & Company, creates customized corporate events for companies and individual groups. Among Karen’s clients are Lexus, Merrill Lynch, Disney, General Electric, UBS, and Singapore Airlines, as well as numerous law, banking, and biotech firms.
Karen is the co-creator and Chair Emerita of the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America in the Napa Valley, which has been called “the Harvard of wine education.” More information about Karen can be found at www.karenmacneil.com.
About The Oneida® Group
The Oneida® Group is a leading global marketer of tabletop and food preparation products for the consumer and foodservice markets. With a comprehensive line of tabletop and food preparation products, they market their products globally under a broad range of consumer brands. Karen MacNeil’s range of stemware falls under both the consumer facing Oneida and the trade focused SAPORUS brand of food service. Customers range from Fortune 500 companies to medium and small-sized companies in the consumer, foodservice, business-to-business, and E-commerce channels. The company operates two glass manufacturing plants in the U.S. and sources a variety of proprietary designed tableware products. Visit https://www.oneida.com/ for more information.