Zaltos for beginners

Since it had been mentioned in the Somni thread on LA, I looked up “Zalto” since I know nothing about wine glasses. A funny (and perhaps informative) article here:


Thank you for posting. The author is making many great points about Zalto glass.
I do find phrase “Each wine smelled and tasted smoother from the Zaltos” quite ridiculous.
In my opinion, “smoother” is not a compliment when describing wine.
At home I use Zalto Universal glass and love it.
Many high end restaurants in the US and Europe use Zalto glasses.
They are sturdier then they appear. I have only broken one glass over about 3-4 year term.
Where the stem is attaching to the bowl is their weak point.
Here is another nice write up about Zalto.

Glassware That Raises the Wine Bar

Not all drinking vessels are created equal. A look at the stemware that will change the way your wine tastes

From left: Gabriel-Glas One for All; Riedel Sommeliers Bordeaux; Zalto Universal; Stölzle Bordeaux Exquisit; Spiegelau Hybrid Burgundy F. MARTIN RAMIN/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL


Lettie Teague

Jan. 3, 2014 1:13 p.m. ET

SOME CHILDREN GROW up in musical families and learn how to sing or play an instrument. I grew up in a family whose focus was glassware. Did you ever see a glass so well-proportioned? Did you notice how it catches the light, my father might ask, holding up a wine glass made somewhere like Poland or France. (He rarely mentioned the wine.) A running joke between my sister and me was that no matter what the topic might be, my father could turn it to glassware.

My father spent decades working for a variety of glass companies, and our cabinets contained glasses from all over the world: Ireland, England, Austria, Finland, Germany and the U.S.



Today, my own glassware collection is much less wide-ranging. There are three types of wine glasses in my house—red, white and Champagne—although the red wine glass is the only one that I consistently use. The white wine glass is too small, and the flutes are too fussy. Perhaps it’s a very late form of childhood rebellion, but I don’t focus overmuch on glassware.

After a few memorable encounters with some particularly impressive stemware, though, I began to think I might be missing out. And as Aldo Sohm, chef sommelier of Le Bernardin restaurant in New York, said to me recently, one glass simply isn’t enough. Or as he put it: “Life is simple. But not that simple.” In fact, Mr. Sohm went even further, saying, “You can’t love wine and not care about wine glasses.”

Mr. Sohm was one of two New York sommeliers whom I met with in recent weeks to talk about glassware. The second was Thomas Carter, wine director of Estela, a trendy newish restaurant downtown. Both men are quite knowledgeable about glassware, and could even be described as glassware-obsessed.

Mr. Carter is an impassioned audiophile, and he finds many parallels between the two worlds. “Speakers are to music as glasses are to wine,” was one of the first things that he said to me when we met at Estela. Although Mr. Carter’s restaurant is small and the wine list is short, his collection of wine glasses is large and somewhat untraditional. For example, he likes to pour Champagne into white wine glasses. “Champagne flutes make no sense,” he said. “Champagne is a wine that just happens to have bubbles.”

Mr. Carter believes that a wine glass can alter the taste of a wine—for better or worse—and he pulled together a sampling of his stemware to prove his point. We had six glasses for tasting two wines—a red and a white. There was a bulbous Burgundy glass, a straight-sided Bordeaux glass and a smaller white wine glass, all made by the German company Stölzle, as well the 7-ounce glass from Bormioli Rocco that Mr. Carter was using for all of his wines by the glass. He also brought out two possible replacements for the Bormioli—a glass made by Riedel and one by Spiegelau.

He began with the red wine, a Gamay from the Loire, which we tasted from each of the glasses. The Bormioli glass was so small that I could barely get my fingers around the stem, let alone fit my nose in its bowl. It didn’t offer much of an impression of anything. The wine was as lacking in distinction as the glass. The Bormioli glass’s two possible replacements were a bit better—they had larger bowls and more room between the bowl and the stem. (Mr. Carter explained that he initially chose the small glass to convey a certain casual, unpretentious attitude about wine.)

But the bowl of a wine glass must be large enough to facilitate swirling, which all serious wine drinkers do to coax the aromas out of the glass. (Mr. Carter, a dedicated swirler, calls it “kneading the wine.”)

‘ ‘You can’t love wine and not care about wine glasses,’ said a sommelier. ’

The wide-mouthed Burgundy glass accentuated the wine’s bright cherry notes, and made it seem pleasingly fruity. (Burgundy glasses are generally believed to accentuate fruit; they tilt the wine toward the front of the tongue.) The taller Bordeaux glass showed a higher acid side of the wine. (Bordeaux glasses generally orient the wine to the back of the tongue, and are said to highlight a wine’s structure.) The white wine glass made the red wine seem rather herbaceous. "Some people might even call that aroma ‘mousy,’ " Mr. Carter offered. That was a very good reason not to serve the wine out of this glass, I thought to myself.

The differences were striking, and they turned out to be even greater in the case of the white, a Chardonnay from Jura, in eastern France. The Bormioli bombed once again. The wine tasted like something you’d be served in coach class on a plane. (Mr. Carter, equally displeased with the glass, has since switched it out for one from Spiegelau.) Clearly the glass from which we were tasting wasn’t doing the wines any great favors. The Chardonnay was pleasant if simple in the smaller, tulip-shape white wine glass. In the rounded Burgundy glass, it seemed a bit flat. But in the squarish Bordeaux glass, the Chardonnay was round and generous, even complex.

It was an interesting, if somewhat inconclusive exercise. There wasn’t one glass that consistently showed best. Mr. Carter said it would have been different if he’d had his Zaltos, Austrian glasses with a slight trapezoidal shape and a cultish following. “Everything shows in a Zalto,” he said. Alas, his Zalto glasses were at home, not at the restaurant. “They’re just too expensive,” Mr. Carter explained.

I’d heard about Zalto glasses many times. They’re delicate, hand-blown, lead-free crystal glasses whose angles, the company says, are designed to mimic the tilt of the Earth (which somehow improves the taste of the wine, according to Zalto). The one time I drank from a Zalto, I was worried it would break. When I mentioned this to Mr. Sohm, he told me that the glasses weren’t fragile at all—in fact, he’d carried two in a bag on the subway from Manhattan to Queens and back without breakage. The intra-borough odyssey was one of several tests that Mr. Sohm performed before signing on as the “American face” of Zalto glass.

Mr. Sohm said that the glasses were the “most powerful” he’d ever encountered. He still uses Riedel and Spiegelau stemware at the restaurant; in fact, when I stopped by Le Bernardin one afternoon he brought out a couple of Spiegelau glasses to compare with the Zaltos in an impromptu tasting of Meursault and Champagne.


Millennium Punch


Once more, there were stark differences—the bulbous Spiegelau Burgundy glass made the Meursault seem fatter and flatter while in the Zalto Universal glass, it was more minerally, showing a higher level of acidity. In short, it just seemed more precise. I tried them both over and over. The Spiegelau shows the fruit and the Zalto shows the minerality, said Mr. Sohm.

Mr. Sohm was certainly an impressive advocate, but since he earns a royalty from the company, I needed to try the glass again for myself—and against the one I’d been using at home. So I bought a Zalto Universal (said to work with all wines—never mind Mr. Sohm) for $59 from Crush Wine & Spirits in New York. I poured a simple Dolcetto into both glasses. The wine was pleasant, if a bit muted, in my standard glass. It was brighter in the Zalto, but it seemed a bit simple and one-dimensional. That’s another thing people say about Zalto—everything is sharper, for better or worse. I thought of Mr. Carter’s audio analogy. It was like hearing mediocre music blaring out of very good speakers.

I repeated the experiment a couple of days later with a much better wine—the 2010 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Les Baudines. The wine was still young and showing a fair amount of acidity. Marked by citrus notes with a firm mineral thread, it was lovely in both glasses, but it practically vibrated in the Zalto.

My husband, who had been happily drinking from our basic glass for years, tasted the wine from both. He preferred the Chassagne-Montrachet in the Zalto, but he was even more impressed by how the Zalto looked, and the way that it felt. “I don’t want to stop holding this glass,” he said.

That’s another quality of a great wine glass—it must be lovely to look at and to hold. That was something that my father knew best.


I quite like Zaltos. I use them for their Champagne glasses and Burgundy glasses. Gabriel Glass is another nice stemware maker, and Californios was using another, smaller brand which was pretty nice as well at an approachable price point. They gave me the card - I’ll dig it up sometime.

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Lol, Is Spiegelau unfashionable? Personally I like that they feel more sturdy

Please do, when you get a chance. SO would like to get some nice stemware that doesn’t break the bank.

Zalto sighting at a sushi bar

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So you can tell just by looking? It seems like I see this shape occasionally at places where I know good and well that it’s not anything pricey.

Yes, usually you can. Plus when you pick up a Zalto or other high-end glass, there is no confusing it with something else. That said, all Zaltos have the brand etched into the glass on the base.

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I’ve never heard of crystal being engraved with the brand. Is this a common thing these days.

And thanks for the info.

So after trying to Google the info. I broke down and asked. Sohpienwald Is the name of the wine glass maker.

Sophienwalds are nice too!

I’ll concede that until I started shopping for wine glasses they all looked pretty much the same to me, but now I can discern subtle differences.

Maybe the appropriate term is laser etching or maybe it’s just a stamp. Tried to take a picture of both my Zalto and Schott Zweigelt bases for you so you can see the marking.

Btw, where to buy Zalto?

Almost impossible to find the Universal glasses right now. I’ve been waiting over 2 years for an order and don’t expect it to come anytime soon.

For the past half year zalto has been making glass for the expansion of a wine club into Singapore. So no one gets zaltos until March or April. It was supposedly February but keeps getting pushed back. Something like 20,000 stem order is being fulfilled.


This is what they’re telling their US Distributors:

*We are writing to give you the most transparent and detailed information regarding the ongoing delays with Zalto stock. *

Currently, these delays will continue and there is no longer a firm ETA for when we will receive glassware. This is due to a perfect storm of issues both Covid-related and not, and we want to share some of those with you so that you have a better idea of the full picture.

There are of course the obvious reasons, some of which we have relayed previously, beginning with the repeated lockdowns that have either affected the glasshutte (where the glasses are blown), the Zalto HQ office, or both.

But as the glasses are all hand-blown, there is the human component that we may not have outlined clearly enough. The glassblowers work in teams of 8, and every time one tests positive, the entire team has to quarantine for 14 days. Their work is so specialized that simply finding and hiring additional or “backup” teams of 8 isn’t a possibility. These are true artisans who have trained for literally years to be able to do the different parts of what it takes to create a Zalto glass. At no time since the pandemic began were all of the teams able to work at 100%, and now, with the Delta variant surging, this pattern of having one or more teams sidelined will most likely continue to be the case.

Now let’s add the next layer, which was not Covid related. Glassblowing furnaces require some fairly major maintenance every 6-7 years, and those repairs usually take about 6 weeks minimum. It was planned from before Covid hit that one of the furnaces would go “offline” for these repairs. However, it then became clear that a second furnace would need this same maintenance earlier than scheduled, which meant shutting two down back-to-back. Zalto had enough stock in their warehouse to cover the first furnace repair, but it was impossible to predict all of the impacts of Covid with these additional repair delays, and all of that reserve stock was quickly depleted.

At every step of the way, Zalto let us know the new pushed-back estimates, and we relayed that information. But again- that they were never able to work at full capacity since Covid reared its head, combined with the needed repairs, each of those estimates for the ability to deliver stock became simply impossible to hold to.

This brings us back to the crux of the situation: we are currently about 5 months behind in fulfilling PO’s at their regular turnaround. At this time, neither Zalto HQ nor we will be accepting new orders to add to the back-order list, and we can’t make any promises as to when we can fulfill those orders we did keep on hold. If you have one of those with us, please reach out and we will communicate further with you separately.

We leave it to your discretion to handle your customers but would strongly suggest not making any promises for delivery by the holidays. We hope it doesn’t come to that, and we will let you know right away when we have some solid dates for when stock will arrive and things can get back to normal, but it could happen that things are not stabilized until early 2022.

Zalto is doing its best to overcome all of these hurdles as quickly as possible, but will always do so with an eye on keeping their people safe, and ensuring that every piece of glassware meets their exacting quality standards before arriving to you.

*From our side, we will always be as transparent as possible whenever new information is available, and we would like to thank you now for your continued patience and understanding. *

Best and Cheers as Always,


:face_with_symbols_over_mouth: Singaporeans!

They are only filling one PO right now for the last six months. 20,000 stems to 67 Pall Mall in Singapore and Verbier Switzerland. Verbier just opened in December and Singapore opened this month. They not only store a ton of Zaltos for themselves, they sell it to their members hence the heavy stock.

Worked out for competitors as it gives them a new entrance point in the market. I’ve had restaurants ask me for stem recommendations as they can’t get any Zaltos right now and you’re seeing higher end wineries branch out to other stem makers.

Still love my Zaltos though :smiley:

pretty good reason to try

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Did you see this?
Why are Zalto glasses out of stock?

A furnace critical to the production also had issues in 2020, necessitating a shutdown and a total rebuild. While demand is escalating, all of these delays reveal why we are in the current situation where stock is tough to come by, and we cannot predict when our current backorders will arrive.Feb 4, 2022


Zalto Stock Availability 2021/22 - › zalto-stock-upda
](Zalto Stock Availability 2021/22 -

that was my fault i bumped into the furnace