Wine is an elegant beverage best enjoyed in the company of friends and family rather than alone. While an excellent way to bond and share something truly special, it also means that there is a small amount of pageantry and curating involved. This is especially true when it comes to the vessels in which you intend to serve the wine. Wine glasses come in many shapes and forms, as we have mentioned in the past. However, this variance also means that wine glasses can be made from different materials rather than crystal glass, as you might assume. One such material includes acrylic wine glasses.
Acrylic wine glasses are a common sight in many shops and homes, though you might not see them often in the homes of wine enthusiasts. Despite the fanciful name, an acrylic is simply an alternate form of plastic, and few wine buffs would consider serving their wine in anything less than a glass that is actually made from glass.
However, acrylic wine glasses might have more to offer than their initial appearance might suggest. This is not to say that they are perfect, but weighing the pros and cons can be a good decision. We hope to illustrate the advantages and disadvantages of using acrylic glasses for your wine with this article.
Advantages of Acrylic Wine Glasses
Given that acrylic wine glasses are made from plastic, they come with all the benefits you could expect from plastic dinnerware. Some acrylic wine glasses are meant to serve as a disposable, one-use vessel from which you can enjoy your wine without having to stress about cleanup. This is the first advantage that acrylic glasses have to offer.
Once you and any guests have finished your drinks, rather than having to pile the glasses into the sink or on the kitchen counter to be washed, they can be recycled. This offers a twofold effect of saving you time and energy on cleanup after a night of enjoying wine and saving water that would otherwise be used to clean crystal glasses. Given that hand washing dishes can use up to 20 gallons of water, saving water is nothing to scoff at.
The next most significant benefit of acrylic wine glasses is their cost-effectiveness. Putting money into crystal glasses is not exactly cheap. Getting a collection of four standard crystal glasses can run you over $30.00 by themselves, and luxury glasses can easily exceed $100.00 for half as many. While these glasses add a certain flair and class to the wine-drinking experience, the cost can be overwhelming for many if you are unwilling to invest in wine accessories.
On the other hand, acrylic glasses can be as cheap as $20.00 for eight, allowing you to stock up at a much lower cost. While the first benefit we mentioned was that most acrylic or plastic glasses are disposable, reusable acrylic glasses are also available for those simply looking to get a collection of glasses for a more reasonable price.
The reusable acrylic glasses also bring another major bonus that crystal glasses could never match. Let us pretend that you enjoy a vintage glass of red wine in your most delicate crystal glass on a lazy Saturday evening. You move to take another sip, and your grip loosens by mistake, allowing the glass to fall from your hand and crash onto the hardwood floor beneath you before shattering into several expensive pieces.
The fragility of crystal wine glasses is one of the most grievous drawbacks they have, and there is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing a $100.00 purchase burst into shards. Acrylic glasses are made of durable plastic, are nigh indestructible, and can be dropped without fear of seeing your purchase shatter into useless fragments. Granted, you would still be losing the wine, which is a true tragedy, but the glass being salvaged is a considerable advantage.
Another edge that acrylic glasses have is that they are more easily stored than their crystal counterparts. With traditional crystal glasses, you have to carefully keep them to ensure they are not packed too tightly and do not risk falling out and shattering when you open the container. You can store them with other plastic cups without considering their safety with acrylic glasses. It is still advisable to keep them safe, but you can enjoy the minimal risk of losing them entirely if they are stored a little haphazardly.
There was once a rumor that acrylic glasses were a source of a toxin known as bisphenol A (BPA), which is common in many plastics. However, research proved this false as acrylic glasses are BPA-free and pose no significant health risk. So, in terms of non-glass vessels, acrylic glasses have an advantage.
With all of these advantages, it might seem like acrylic glasses are the way to go no matter what. However, nothing is perfect in this world, and wine glasses are no exception. For every advantage that acrylic wine glasses have, they have a drawback worthy of consideration.
Disadvantages of Acrylic Wine Glasses
Acrylic wine glasses are made from plastic, which seems terrific if your sole concern is practicality. However, wine is a luxurious drink, with every bottle possessing a reputation. Therefore, those committed to the finer things in the world of wine believe that everything from the wine itself to the vessel you serve it in should be equally elegant.
If you prefer to enjoy wine in a group rather than by yourself, you might find that trying to serve your wine enthusiast friends in an acrylic glass will cause some to turn up their noses. This is because the appearance of acrylic glasses matches their pricing. While this is not a significant problem, it can cost you a few points regarding your reputation among wine connoisseurs. However, we want to clarify that we believe wine is meant to be enjoyed as you see fit. If acrylic glasses make you happy, the opinions of others should not deter you.
That said, the aesthetic of acrylic glasses and the reputation of those using them is far from the only or even the biggest problem that you might face. While acrylic glasses are not liable to shatter no matter the impact, they are not invincible. Rather than breaking, they show signs of wear in the form of scratches that make them look pretty beat up.
Again, the aesthetics of glass is only as urgent as your care mandates, but if you are not keen on looking at a damaged wine glass, acrylic might let you down. With proper storage, you might prolong this issue, but you will still likely encounter scratched-up glasses at some point.
If you have elected to use reusable acrylic glasses, you might think you can toss them into the dishwasher with your other dishes. However, acrylic products cannot safely be washed in a dishwasher. The heat from the dishwasher will compromise the integrity of the glass and cause fractures that even blunt trauma would not induce. This is known as a “craze” and will render your acrylic glasses unusable.
While crystal wine glasses are no safer in the dishwasher, the fact that acrylics cannot endure the heat and pressure makes them a less desirable vessel for those who value the elegance of wine above all. On the other hand, wine glasses made of glass rather than crystal are dishwasher safe so long as you use a delicate setting. So, even if you are not using the highest-end glasses, you can still acquire reusable wine glasses that are dishwasher safe and made from a more widely accepted material.
Now, acrylic wine glasses might be able to save you some money and can endure more of a thrashing than your typical wine glass, but they have one big problem. Plastic has a nasty habit of leeching into the liquid you pour into it or even simply causing a reaction with the liquid that can affect the flavor.
Wine is a beverage that is all about the nuance of its flavor profile. Everything from the type of grapes used in the wine, the soil they were grown in, to the barrel the wine was aged in has an impact on the flavor. It is also why so much time is spent decanting red wines before serving to allow the flavor to blossom fully. However, drinking wine out of an acrylic glass could cause the wine’s flavor to be tainted by the taste of the acrylic itself. This can make your overall experience ultimately unpleasant. If you want to be sure you enjoy your wine with the best possible flavor, keeping to a traditional glass might be your best bet.
Acrylic glasses have their fair share of issues and are far from perfect. However, they are generally a safe and practical alternative to traditional glasses or other plastics. However, both conventional and acrylic glasses share a few common issues that need to be considered.
What Disadvantages Do Acrylic Glasses Share with Traditional Glasses?
While acrylic and traditional wine glasses are relatively different in more ways than one, they share a few things in common. The main commonality between them is a few issues they share due to being used to consume wine instead of more common beverages. One of these shared issues is the matter of staining.
If you are an avid drinker of wine, especially red wine, you will likely notice that your glasses begin to stain and take on the hue of the liquid that once filled them. This staining can manifest at different rates depending on the specific wine and the composition of the glass. Conventional wine glasses stain over a longer period, whereas acrylic glasses are more porous and take less time to stain.
Remember that just because a wine glass is stained does not make it unsalvageable. When wine glasses stain, be they glass, crystal, or acrylic, you can wash them to have the stain removed. Though, they might require more elbow grease and some specific tools to be cleaned successfully.
For the most part, this is the only direct commonality between acrylic and conventional wine glasses. These shared traits might serve to close some distance between these types, but acrylic glasses are very different from your standard wine glass at the end of the day.
Raise a Glass With Us!
Acrylic wine glasses are the sort of glass you might see used at a party where everyday wines are being served to a large group. They are great for ensuring everyone gets a glass without worrying about your quality glasses being the victims of an unfortunate accident. They can also be beneficial if you want a quick glass of wine without breaking out the more delicate glasses.
If you have disposable glasses, you are even better off for that purpose since you do not have to worry about washing the glass after. Conversely, conventional glasses are best used for fine wines with more discerning drinkers than large groups simply looking for a drink. When it comes down to it, the choice should be based on your needs and preferences above all, though we believe that wine is best enjoyed in a traditional glass.
Wine glasses reflect your style when drinking wine but are, ultimately, meant to serve as the vessel in which your wine is served. Your glasses do not necessarily have to be expensive, but the decision between acrylic glasses and traditional glasses should be left to your discretion.
Information is just as important as the glass you drink it out of when it comes to wine. We at the Wine Diarist have dedicated ourselves to providing as much information about wine as we can muster. There is so much to consider about how to store, prepare, and even drink wine that those with no experience might be overwhelmed, so we want to help.
If you have questions about wine that you would like to see answered as soon as possible, we encourage you to visit our website and check out our other articles to see if they help. However, we are not so bold as to claim to have answered every question you might have as of yet. If you have a concern or question that we have not addressed yet, feel free to leave a comment so we can address it in our next post. Until then, we will continue to toast to your health and happiness. Cheers to you!