Now, you might be wondering why on earth I’m suggesting cheap wine glasses as a Christmas gift! Well, the truth is that for many people, fancy stemware can be more of a bother than a convenience. Just think about it: the finest stemware may take up valuable space in the cabinet, require hand-washing, and be rarely used.

While fine stemware makes a great gift, having some great everyday -- and, yes, even cheap -- stemware might be just the thing every wine lover really needs, and wants, but is embarrassed to ask for! And just think what a great gift some cheap wine glasses would make when paired with a few other treats, like a great corkscrew, decanter, or bottle of wine.

Cheap wine glasses don’t have to be bad wine glasses, and for most occasions cheap wine glasses might actually be the best choice. There’s a big difference between drinking wine and tasting and evaluating wine. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I have drunk wine out of simple tumblers -- in fact, as recently as last week in Italy, where I enjoyed one of the finest meals of my life with a bottle of Lambrusco served with a tumbler. Cheap wine glasses make life easier and, depending on the wine you are serving, you may not even notice the difference between your everyday, cheap wine glasses and something a bit more special!

So, what should you look for in a wine glass that can make even a cheap wine glass worth buying? It’s simple actually.

1) The bowl should be generous, at least 10 ounces, but I would opt for larger rather than smaller.

2) The shape of the bowl should be properly proportioned for swirling. I prefer a Burgundy bowl for most of my wine, but the classic Bordeaux shape is considered the ideal all-purpose glass.

3) The lip of the glass should be smooth. Heavy, so-called rolled lip glasses tend to be clumsy to drink from.

Where to buy your cheap wine glasses

There are many options available for cheap wine glasses, some more consistent than others. Hands down, my greatest find for cheap wine glasses have been at IKEA! For as little as $2 a piece IKEA offers impressive quality stemware that is attractive and functional.

Macy’s is offering super-aggressive pricing on wine glasses this holiday season. I found many great offers online, ranging from a set of six Stolzle Revolution Break-Resistant Classic Wine Glasses or Ultra Bordeaux glasses for only $30 to Macy’s own The Cellar Basic White wine glasses, $15 for a set of four. I much prefer the proportions of this basic white glass to Macy’s basic red glass, even for drinking red wines.

From the folks who brought you the rabbit wine opener, the Houdini Wine stems are fine all-purpose glasses that are usually around at a very good price. I’ve found many offers for these glasses this year at around $20 for a set of four glasses. I like both the basic red and white bowl shape of the Metrokane glasses, but have to say I am not a fan of their Burgundy and Champagne stems.

Spiegelau produces a wide range of wine glasses, including some of the top quality glasses. Its Festival line has been designed specifically to resist the effects of machine dishwashing. The Festival Bordeaux stem features a classic bowl shape, with a shortened stem to allow for clearance in most dishwashers, though at 8.5 inches tall they would be able to squeeze in mine. At $14.99 per pair (at Bloomingdale’s of all places!), they are a good value. I might prefer the Chianti-style glass that makes up part of Spiegelau’s Festival line, though that shape seems more difficult to find and is marginally more expensive at $16 per pair.

These 22-ounce wine glasses, Stolzle’s so-called Classic Red Wine Glasses, are generously sized and well shaped. You might think the price is a bit expensive at $28 for four stems but, as of this moment, Amazon is running a sneaky special. These glasses are eligible for Amazon’s 4-for-3 promotion. Evidently this offer can change at any moment, so while getting these stems at $5.06 is an exceptional value, even $28 for four stems is a deal in my book!

To view the photos for this article, go to Cheap Wine Glasses.