Designing the Wine Merchant's Glasses
All wine-lovers recognise that the quality of glass used can hugely influence the enjoyment of the wine served in it. Much as tea tastes better drunk from a fine bone-china cup rather than an earthenware mug, so a wine’s flavour and bouquet is enhanced if drunk from a fine piece of delicate stemware.
The choice of glassware is vast, so we at Berry Bros. & Rudd decided to simplify matters by designing from scratch our own range of exclusive glasses. We chose as our partner John Jenkins & Sons Ltd., a family business with a long-established reputation for working very closely with the wine trade, and already supplying an impressive number of top restaurants around the world with bespoke glassware. The objective is quite simple: to produce a small range of glasses which, firstly, look supremely elegant on the table and, secondly, deliver wine to the palate of the consumer in a way that maximises its enjoyment.
All are hand-made, and have also been designed with balance in mind. They are not top-heavy when half-filled with wine, and the stems sit easily in the hand to enable the glass to be swirled to release the wines’ essential aromas. The rim is exceptionally fine and the stems have been drawn from the bowl, not added on separately, thus creating balance, stability and durability.
Recent advances in technology also ensure that the range, which is totally lead-free, has exceptional clarity whilst retaining excellent durability. Our chosen supplier enjoys the reputation of being one of the finest manufacturers of high-quality, hand-made glassware.
The story behind The Wine Merchant's Glasses
Shortly after my grandfather retired from the business in 1931, work began on producing a range of glasses, to his design, which Berry Bros & Co. would sell to their customers. Two years later the designs were approved and the glasses appeared in our price list for the first time.
Francis Berry was known as a connoisseur of glass as much as of wine. After his death in 1936 his extensive and unique collection of glassware, dating from Ancient Greece to the Nineteenth Century, ended up in the British Museum, the Fitzwilliam and forming the basis of the collection of the Vintners’ Company. His obituary was written by his great friend André Simon, who spoke of my grandfather’s "passion for collecting beautiful and rare glass."
But glass was never just a beautiful object to sit on a shelf and be admired: it needed to be used, and its prime purpose was to enhance the enjoyment of wine.
As André Simon also pointed out, Francis Berry was "the most admirable host imaginable, giving his guests the finest wines… in the finest possible glasses." His oft quoted belief was "twenty percent of the enjoyment of wine comes from the glass it is drunk from."
Simon Berry, Chairman