Have flutes lost their fizz?

By Stephensons

- Last updated on GMT

Sparkling wines have always been popular with the British, and Prosecco has recently risen to the top of the class. Until now, the drink has typically been served in a Champagne flute, but with the rise of the tipple may come the crashing of the glass as sommeliers turn their noses towards a broader bowled glass.

Most people will expect their Prosecco served in the traditional, elegant flute synonymous with Champagne and celebration. However, a broader bowled glass is believed to allow the fragrant beverage to nose better and therefore increase the drinker’s enjoyment of the wine’s aromas. Well-known manufacturers such as Artis and Riedel have already launched glassware in this new style, and whilst it is not the same as a classic wine glass, it is noticeably different from the well-known flute.

Introducing this new style of glass offers the clear benefit of giving customers greater enjoyment of a critical element of their beverage: the aroma. However, the alteration of people’s expectations is a change to make gently. Whilst a pub may understand that its choice of glassware serves a real purpose, its clientele may benefit from an explanation of the change. Bar staff and wine teams can be at hand to relay to customers the reasons for using different glassware, and how it will positively affect their drinking experience. Today’s consumers are becoming ever more knowledgeable about the beverages they choose to drink and should be receptive to premium glassware chosen by ‘the connoisseurs’. The serving of gin has taken a turn away from the hiball towards broader bowled glasses designed to enhance the spirit’s aroma, reflecting the movement towards especially designed Prosecco glasses.

Not all sparkling wines are made equal, with the less sparkling wines labelled frizzante ​and the more sparkling known as spumante.​ The British market has grown accustomed to spumante​ wines like Champagne, but Noel Reid, Wine Buyer at Robinsons Brewery, picked a certain type of glass to get the best bubbles from the frizzante​ Prosecco. “We chose a nucleated glass from Luigi Bormioli to ensure we could have the maximum response from the wine, producing a small, steady stream of bubbles in the glass.”

However, the customer’s thoughts are what truly count. Operators should take on board customer feedback and not shun the traditional flute. An etched flute can create the effervescence expected of a far more spumante ​wine, and a flute still creates a sense of occasion and is particularly suitable for buffets and weddings. One method of introducing the new style of glass is to offer it when serving higher quality Proseccos, along with an explanation of its benefits in enhancing enjoyment of the drink.

Many operators are yet to see how pub goers may react to a step away from the flute, but constant innovation in glassware is making the serve of certain wines and spirits all the more exciting and pleasurable. 

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