Is It Ever OK to Drink Wine From Tumblers?

Ever ordered a glass of wine at an Italian restaurant and were surprised to see it served to you in a short tumbler instead of a wine glass? You're not the only one.

Kristy Ellington

Contrary to what you might expect, wine served in a tumbler isn't a sign of bad wine or bad service — it's a sign of tradition. According to chef Matteo Clivati, a Milanese native, currently the chef de partie at A16, and SF's newest pop-up restaurateur, it's common to see wine served in short tumblers in Italy, especially if the cuisine is rustic and traditional and if the owner makes his or her own wine. Some might also say that because wine is a part of every meal in the Old Country, serving wine in such a casual way only enforces its impact on Italian culture — wine isn't as much of a "special occasion" drink as it is here in America.

So if you're served a stemless glass, you're probably about to dive into some seriously traditional Italian eats.