History of Champagne Flutes

14 Jul.,2022

​​​​​​​When the subject of Champagne comes up, it is usually accompanied by a debate about which glass is best for sparkling wine.



When the subject of Champagne comes up, it is usually accompanied by a debate about which glass is best for sparkling wine. However, the evolution of champagne glasses is more complex and historically significant than the initial discussion of glass shapes might suggest. Here, we will explore the history of champagne glasses together.

The first champagne glasses

As with other contemporary fashions, champagne consumption quickly penetrated from the court to the upper classes. However, in the early days of Champagne, there were no glasses made specifically for it. As it was an alcoholic, carbonated beverage, it was usually served in the same glasses as beer and cider. These had simple short stems and round funnel-shaped bowls.

Double Wall Champagne Flutes

In the later part of the Georgian period (1714-1837), around 1800, these glasses were formed with a knop in the middle of the stem. Two decades later, more decorative elements were added to the bowl. Beer containers had moments with barley motifs, while cider glasses featured apples. While not unheard of, it is difficult to find examples with vines engraved on them that would have held champagne.

The champagne flute did not appear on the British scene until after 1830, although it remained popular throughout the Regency period. The coupe (a shallow, wide-rimmed, stemmed vessel) was, as far as we know, the first "official" glass of this kind. It is thought that the open bowl was favored precisely because it allowed the mousse (which was considered vulgar at the time) to spread out.

Customized Elegant Tall Stem Modern Goblet Crystal Wine Glasses

Glassware in Russia

French wines, especially champagne, were popular among the aristocracy of the 19th century. In fact, Russia at the time was the second largest consumer of champagne in the world, and the Imperial glassworks produced a range of different champagne glasses for court banquets and palaces outside of St. Petersburg.

The flutes, some a bright cobalt blue, were decorated with floral motifs in silver and gold and often bore the coat of arms or cipher of the relevant court figure. Darin Bloomquist, Head of Russian Art at Sotheby's, noted, "In the second half of the 19th century, artists at the Imperial glassworks produced objects in a variety of historical styles, including neo-gothic and traditional ethnic styles. Russian styles that rejected Western themes. By the end of the century, the influence of Art Nouveau had been fully embraced by designers and artisans."

Balanced Rotary Wine Goblets

As in Western Europe, the influence of Orientalism on the decorative arts was reflected in the interior furnishings of the upper classes. 1862 saw the introduction of factory techniques to imitate the enamel colors and architectural motifs of the Mamluks of the late 12th and early 13th centuries.

The late Victorian period to the 1920s

One of the great myths about Champagne is that the coupe was replaced by the flute. In fact, there was never a dominant champagne glass.

As champagne consumption became more widespread, so did the variety of glasses.

Unique High Fashion Red Wine Glasses

At the end of the 19th century, there was a high demand for Russian pattern cut glass by American gentlemen, probably because the White House ordered two sets of glassware in 1885 and 1891, with later additions. Patent holder Thomas Hawkes came onto the European scene after winning a prize at the 1889 Universal Exhibition in Paris for his collection of TG Hawkes cut glassware.

Champagne flutes produced during the Edwardian period (1901-1910) are still very elaborate. Decorated either with fine engraving, with classical references (floral or Greek motifs), or cut into stylized shapes (crosses shaded and stars), the classic shape of Thomas Webb & Sons at this time was a slightly open bowl, sometimes with a cut foot.

The 1920s is today seen as the era of the champagne coupe or saucer. However, there was no single dominant style, except for decorative motifs influenced by the Art Deco period (1925-1930). Instead, it was a time of experimentation, from heavy bohemian coverings (weighing over 200 grams per glass) to cut flutes with Russian motifs.