Wine Talk

Snooth User: passthepitonspete

Stemware - Eisch "breathable" glasses - anyone tried 'em?

Posted by passthepitonspete, Nov 21, 2009.

How's it goin', eh?

I'm a wannabe wine snob from Toronto, Ontario. I spend a couple-three months a year climbing walls in Yosemite, California, and try my best to get in some time visiting the wineries in Napa Valley.

Last winter, I scored a week of timeshare off of mom [gotta love it, eh?] and spent a week in South Lake Tahoe skiing at Heavenly. They had a wine bar at the base of the gondola, so you know I ended up there a few times.

When it became evident to the wine steward that I knew my stuff, he suggested I try drinking my wine out of an "Eisch breathable glass". Reidel is, of course, the industry leader in stemware, but Eisch is up there, too.

I'm like, "Dude. A glass is a glass. Just pour the wine."

And he's like, "Seriously. Try this. I'm going to pour the wine into a regular Reidel on one side, and an Eisch glass on the other. Taste the difference."

So, three people from novice to advanced wine tasting, three varietals, nine blind tastings. And get this - nine fer nine, the wine tasted better out of the Eisch glass each and every time! Unbelievable! You can't reject the empirical evidence - the taste was absolutely better from the Eisch glass every time. Without doubt. Amazing.

Now being the consummate skeptic, and a graduate chemical engineer, of course I had to ask "how". But the Eisch people have kept their formula a secret. The designers first approached Reidel, who rejected them - bad move.

So I went back home and googled this stuff. Found a few entries, the first of which usually began with "what a load of crap," but these entries were inevitably followed by, "no, check it out - the glasses really DO work!"

Now my theory, as a chemical engineer, was that there is some sort of catalytic reaction going on with the wine in the Eisch glass. A catalyst is something that affects a chemical reaction, but doesn't take part in it. Think about your platinum catalytic converter in your car - what happens is that the atoms separate and "stick" to the platinum, which enhances the combustion reaction. I wondered if this might be what was going on with the Eisch glasses.

So I googled "Eisch" and "catalysis" and got a hit on this chemistry prof from a university in New York State by the name of Eisch. Too funny, eh? So I wrote him, turns out he's second cousins with the Eisch guys in Germany. Basically he told me that they wouldn't tell him how it works, but that he reckoned there was some catalytic reaction going on in the glass, that basically caused two things to happen - firstly, the wine was able to breath more quickly, and secondly, it might enhance the settling of the sediments.

I'm not sure WHAT is happening, just that it IS happening. I've since done the comparison of the same wine poured into a regular glass, and an Eisch glass, and served it to friends. It's great fun to see their faces light up. We've found the most pronounced difference is in wines that "need a little help". You don't seem to notice so profound a difference with more expensive wines.

I'm a cheapskate. I don't believe you have to spend more than ten bucks to get a great bottle of wine, and occasionally I will even spend 15. The "7 Deadly Zins" I am currently drinking is one such wine, in spite of its "appelation Lodi". [Sheesh, can you believe Lodi produces a great zin?] But I forked out the $30+ bucks for the Eisch glass, because it works.

Anyone else tried it? If knott, you really have to give it a go. You will be amazed.


P.S. Here is your Big Wall Tip of the Day - check out Amador County, California barbera! They have the climate and the soil. I had never even heard of the varietal until I tried it. It's up and coming. Mark my words - in five years, you'll be hearing about this stuff.


Reply by dmcker, Nov 21, 2009.

So Pete, do you have any relationship to Eisch? ;-)

An interesting, well written story. Stimulated me to google the glasses, and the first article I opened was this one:
The commentary below the article doesn't seem as favorable about the Eisch stemware. Don't know if the posters are affiliated with Riedel, but I'm certainly not.

BTW, Lodi, Amador and the Sierra foothills have produced a lot of good Zin for several years now. Here's an article that Snooth did this past summer:
And you should definitely try some Barbera from Italy. Hunt for Barbera d'Alba as a starting point.

Do you climb anywhere else besides Yosemite?

Reply by passthepitonspete, Nov 24, 2009.

Yes, I'm familiar with Reidel's lawsuit against Eisch. My understanding is that the engineers offered their invention to Reidel first, which rejected it, but Eisch saw the value and scooped it up. And now Reidel is ticked, which makes Eisch look all the better. Obviously Reidel feels threatened enough to sue.

I'm a big fan of 7 Deadly Zins out of Lodi, which in spite of it being a blend from various winemakers, has always been consistently superb.

A couple months ago I tried a chardonnay from Livermore, and was amazed at how great it was. Unfortunately, I forgot to keep the bottle and can't remember what it was!

Right then, will have a look for that d'Alba. Have only tried one Piedmont barbera since the Cali ones, and it didn't even come close.

I don't really climb much of anywhere except El Capitan these days. I leave all my climbing gear pretty much in California, although I do a bit of cragging her in Ontario from time to time. I'm also part of the group that's exploring Mamoth Cave, Kentucky, so I spend a few days underground each month. So far this year, we've discovered, explored and surveyed about 9,000 feet of new passage, lots of it small, but at least one room big enough to fit a small winery.


Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Nov 24, 2009.

I've tried the glasses in a somewhat controlled experiment. perhaps there was some effect but negligible. Not a criteria I would use to buy glassware. Are we really in such a rush that now are glasses need to breath?!

Reply by Doctor Bob, Nov 25, 2009.

Pour less wine voulume in the glass.

Take a second to swerl.

That will give more than enough air.

What glass it is in makes very little difference

Reply by catboots, Jul 28, 2012.

(RIEDEL vs. EISCH WINE GLASS COMPARISON TEST) TEST TIME--I'm looking at both glasses, and difference is, the Eisch glass has a little bit of a smaller bowl, and is heaver in the hand then the Riedel glass. Already I can see that the Eisch glass is hugging the wine better to it's sides, then the Riedel glass. 
TASTE-- Riedel first--Nice and soft with a smokey fruity flavor. Now the Eisch glass--The flavor is defiantly softer and more condensed and tighter then the Riedel glass. The Eisch glass--The nose of the wine is more direct, (not as spread out) it also seems to make the fruit flavor in the wine more pronounced and direct. The Riedel glass is o.k. but I think the Eisch glass wins over the Riedel glass.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS-- Unless you have both glasses side by side, you probably wound't notice any difference. 
BOTTOM LINE--Try to buy the best glasses that you can afford, because the glass you choose, can make the
world of difference. 

I just wanted to add one more thing about the Eisch Glasses. These glass are quite expensive. To give you an idea of how expensive they are, I can tell you they cost "twice" as much as Riedel glasses. Reidel glasses start at about 15$ each, and they go up from there. I bought my Riedels off of Amazon for 24.99$ for 2.. I bought "1" Eisch for 25$!! Do I think they worth the extra money?? "NO" But there'r different, and you know the old saying ("verity is the spice of life") Or you could put it a different way, and a different saying ("a fool and his money are soon parted").

This test was preformed with red wine glasses, and a bottle of 2010 Ravenswood Merlot.

Reply by rcs914, Oct 22, 2012.

So I snagged an Eisch Breathable Red glass from a thrift store over the weekend for $1.  Not sure why a $37 glass was dumped at the goodwill, but who am I to argue?

I'm no stranger to decent glassware.  I have a cabinet full of Riedel, Spiegelau, Schott, etc.  but this is the first time I had seen an Eisch glass.  I took it home, and my mother in law whom we were staying with opened a cheap bottle of Blackstone Merlot, which I haven't had previously.  I poured some in my new glass (after a thorough washing) and one of their regular wine glasses, which is one of the old style small bowl "traditional" wine glasses that most Americans had until recent years.  

I was drinking the wine out of the Eisch and thinking "not terrible - pretty smooth, no tannins or oak, jammy", when I decided to try it out of her glass.  What a STUNNING difference!  This was not a small difference - this was something drinkable out of one glass, and something that was unpalatable out of the other!  Out of the small glass it was bitter and astringent, and not smooth in the slightest.  What is incredible is that time in the glass, being exposed to air, didn't help the wine in the small glass.  You could try it out of that glass, make a face, and pour it from that glass to the Eisch and it would be perfectly drinkable.  

When my wife got home, I repeated the experiment.  I poured about 2 oz in each glass, and had her first try the Eisch, and then try the other glass.  She sipped from the first one and shrugged - basically that it was "ok" - and then tried the second.  She shuddered and looked at the second one sharply like there was something wrong with it, and asked me "what did you do to this one?".    I even pulled a Riedel Chard glass out (the only one at her house) and repeated the test.  The Eisch was still a clear difference.

As a previous poster stated, when we tried a better Cab, the Eisch glass didn't make nearly the difference that it did on the cheaper wine.  The Cab was a bit different from each glass, but it wasn't as stark of a contrast.  I would have to state that the best way to test these is pour some dreck like 2 buck Chuck, and it will be much more apparent when doing a comparison.

Reply by JonDerry, Oct 22, 2012.

Usually appreciate when old threads are dug up, and this one's no different. Plus, it's the only time we can really see D's posts these days, and many that are resurrected I wasn't here to participate in.

There has always been interesting stemware debates/discussions on this folks have the old world small bowl glasses, and I usually feel like I'm getting cheated a little bit, at least on the nose with pretty much any wine I try out of them. Hopefully I can have similar luck as you RCS, and find these Eisch on the cheap. 

Reply by outthere, Oct 22, 2012.

I'm no stranger to decent glassware.  I have a cabinet full of Riedel, Spiegelau, Schott, etc.

But you shop in thrift stores? Uh, OK and your post isn't out of the blue for a first post. Resurrecting a 3 year old thread.

Reply by rcs914, Oct 26, 2012.

Sorry about digging up the old thread for my first post - each forum is different as to what is preferred.  Some want you to make a new thread if it is over 6 months old, others I am active on want anything on the same topic to be in the same thread regardless of age.  In this case I felt it was best to insert my observations in this thread, since there wasn't a ton of discussion regarding it previously, and this was on topic to what had been posted previously.

Anyway - yes, you would be surprised what you can find in thrift stores.  99% of the stuff is complete garbage, but sometimes there are some amazing finds.  Also my 75 bottle Danby wine cooler came off of Craigslist.  Just because I am cheap doesn't mean I don't enjoy the finer things in life ;-)  Honestly I don't go much any more because I have better things to do with my time, and I have too much stuff already.

Reply by LoisMeyer, Dec 31, 2013.

I really enjoy wine; but till I was introduced to Eisch Breathable stemware, I have not lived.  While living in Germany I purchased one glass, which I thought was expensive (10 euro) at least to me.  Now I want a set and am looking everywhere.  So moral of the story is: make the purchase if you want this stemware, it is worth every dollar.

Reply by dee doka, Jan 4, 2014.

I love eisch wine glasses. It used to sell at bed bath beyond. The titanium dioxide coated in the glass makes the wine breath faster. It helps the wine to reach its peak potential and got your money worth. I bought it online now. Riedel diminates the wine glass market. I think it is better for consumers to have more quality brand to choose from. I wonder if passthepitonspete decides to buy the eisch or not b

Reply by wineisfinebwq, Jan 4, 2014.

I used to use Eisch before they all got broke.   Not only did I notice a difference but my liver did as well-due to the fact I was drinking more

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