Friday, December 05, 2008

Wine in Plastic

If you are more than just a casual drinker of wine you know that there is a whole industry producing glasses so that you can savor your favorite wine. Should you wish to you can purchase a seemingly endless array of wine glasses of different shapes and sizes to draw the most out of your Shiraz or Zinfandel, or Chardonnay, or just about any other variety. There are even glasses made that supposedly suit wines from different regions. There are completely opaque glasses that hide the wine from view to glasses that lack both the foot and stem of the conventional wine glass. And, of course, all this can come at considerable expense. Plus you have to wash them and if they are expensive that means hand washing with special detergents and drying clothes to preserve their pristine appearance. And then someone drops one and all you are left with is a mess to clean up. Why doesn’t someone make a shatterproof, durable, dishwasher friendly and cheap wine glass so that I don’t have to worry about how much longer my good glasses have to endure mistreatment by those who don’t really care about either the wine or the glass?

Drum roll, Cue curtain. Enter the Govino shatterproof wine glass. These glasses are stemless and made from Polyethylene Terepthalate Glycol (PETG) which has uses in blister packaging and plastic bottles. My order of Govino shatterproof wineglasses arrived last night and so we put a couple through their paces (see below). I purchased the glasses through the Govino website and with UPS ground shipping and tax the final cost came out to a little over $4/glass. Each glass comes in its own plastic sleeve and there sitting on top of all of them was a printed note advising that they be hand washed because of the variability in dishwashers! Whether they will survive our usual dishing cycle will be tested soon because I really don’t feel like hand washing a $4 glass.

First the “glass” itself is extremely light and very transparent ("crystal clear") so viewing the color of a wine is no problem at all. And the nose and taste of the wine we drank last night (Carlisle 2005 Knights Valley "Pelkan Ranch" Syrah, 15.7%) was the same in both the Govino and a similarity shaped and inexpensive stemless glass from Crate and Barrel. And the alcohol in the Carlisle didn’t melt the Govino on contact. Yes, I’m being facetious but it is worth pointing out that PETG is apparently quite durable, although it can be scratched. I would think that dropping the Govino onto a hard surface would cause little damage in terms of breakage. Miranda wouldn't let me test that on our stamped concrete floor.

An indentation at the widest point of the glass does help hold the glass because it is quite firm at this point. However the top of the glass can be compressed by simply squeezing your fingers together. Fortunately the plastic is so thin and flexible that it springs back into shape. The real problem is the lip. For some reason the lip has been made to curve slightly into the glass. It’s a small curve, probably less than a millimeter, but you notice it as soon as you put the glass to your mouth and take a sip of wine. It may be that without this curl the plastic lip would be quite sharp but each time I took a sip of wine I thought to myself that it would be quite easy to cut your own lip if you were bumped while drinking. Miranda liked the Govino, didn’t see the lip as a problem, and thought I was being more paranoid than normal. Her argument was that I've been bumped while drinking from glasses with very thin lips and I'm still here with my lips intact, in fact not even scratched.

After we had our wine I simply rinsed the Govinos with cold water and let them drain overnight. This morning they were water stained (as is usual with San Diego water) but unlike their cheap glass cousins from Crate and Barrel the Govino cleaned up nicely with a simple wipe using a soft cloth.

So is the Govino a quality wine glass? No. This is not the glass to use for a dinner party or even as a cheap replacement for wine tasting. But I can see it as a good alternative in situations where there is the possibility of having your quality glassware mistreated and broken, like at a gathering of folks who simply want a glass of wine and don’t care what the glass or wine is. Or for when Miranda’s mother visits; she is the only person in our household to have broken a glass while drinking. So the Govino will get a run at our next BBQ or informal gathering of non-wine tragics. One thing is for sure we will be able to leave them out to drain overnight without worrying about whether the cats have smashed them onto the kitchen floor during their own social event.

1 comment:

Domain Names 4 Sale 24-7 said...

Hello: Your Blog is fantastically filled with wine knowledge and information. Very well done! I'm quite impressed. I'm going for a glass of wine right now. mc

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