Drinking Vessels: Modern history

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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The majority of drinking vessels are glass but despite its use for thousands of years, glass has not always been available (see glass, history of). In such times, the principal alternative was silver. There are other occasions when glass was too fragile for a particular environment. Clear drinking glasses were an expensive commodity beyond the means of most people in the 18th century, but then so was wine—at least in countries where wine was not produced.

Silver was most commonly used for wine drinking vessels until the Venetian glass industry burgeoned in the 16th century. Although glass became preferred, trade in it was limited and, but for exceptional grand occasions and settings, in each country wine was usually consumed from indigenous vessels.