What Can I Get For the Money?
Despite what your tongue, nose and eyes tell you, your wallet still speaks the loudest. If you need a lot of glasses, don’t have much money to spend or are accident-prone, head to a restaurant supply outlet. At Pitman Restaurant Supply in inner Southeast, Rose’s Equipment & Supply around the corner or Boxer Northwest in Old Town, cases of inexpensive stemware are stacked among Fryolators and refrigerators. Most of these glasses are made by Libbey, the first company to produce machine-made stemware and feature a rolled rim rather than the thin, cut rim that Martin and other wine connoisseurs favor. Still, at just a few dollars each—and with discounts for multiple-case purchases—this could be the way to go for your extended family reunion or block party. Periodically, you can also find deals online and get higher-end glasses for next to nothing. Groh found the Spiegelau glasses he uses at home for $3 each, on sale at Amazon.com.
For something a little more elegant, head to Liner & Elsen in Northwest Portland, which stocks Riedel’s dizzying array of glasses. The Vinum series is a good midrange line and goes for about $15 to $20 per stem. If, on the other hand, you want glasses that pair well with your European Masters collection, drop your pocket change on the fine crystal at Zell Brothers Jewelers downtown. Products from European crystal makers like Saint Louis (who King Louis XV honored with the title “Royal Glassworks” in 1767) stand alongside other glasses from modern designers like Vera Wang. While some go for as little as $150 a stem, the top end ($1,140 each for some of the Saint Louis) is high enough that you’ll have to satisfy your own curiosity about how wine tastes in them.
If off-the-shelf just won’t do, or you want a unique gift, two Portland artisan companies, Elements Glass and Vitreluxe, create custom, hand-blown stemware. Lynn Read of Vitreluxe uses remelted post-manufacturing colored glass, so you can go green even before recycling the wine bottle. Prices start at $180 per glass.