Friends of local glass artist Allysa Thompson brought her animal-themed glasses to the zoo.
"Bring your own wine glass" events may reduce waste and logistical hassles, but local winemakers worry the practice isn't doing any favors for their products.
At a Woodland Park Zoo fund-raiser last Friday, wine glasses were available for a $5 rental fee, but the vast majority of attendees arrived armed with their own receptacles. Tim Narby, owner of Seattle's Nota Bene Cellars--one of more than two dozen wineries offering tastings--was stunned by the range of glasses thrust beneath his bottles.
"I was appalled," Narby says. "I saw terrible things. I saw plastic cups. I saw jam jars. I saw wee little shot glasses."
Lest Narby be accused of stemware snobbery, he points out a glass designed to showcase wine costs less than the zoo event's $25 admission price.
"You can get a damn good glass for $25," he says. "Absolutely the best. Ten dollars is fine."
While oenophiles like to debate materials, shapes, and stem size, everyone agrees a glass should have a bowl of sufficient girth for swirling. "You want plenty of room for the aromas to build," Narby says. "Most of the wine experience is the nose."
A traditional 30-ounce red wine glass is harder to stick in a purse than the novelty glasses used by many drinkers at the zoo, but a few tasting participants managed to show up with proper stemware: Narby saw Spiegelau and Riedel glasses.
"I'm a proponent of positive reinforcement," says Narby, who didn't criticize when tasters presented juice glasses for pouring. "People who had really nice glasses, I told them so very loudly."