The Remarkable History of
Bottega del Vino Crystal
A few years before Columbus sailed for America, an osteria opened and began serving food and wine in the already ancient City of Verona about 60 miles west of Venice. As the centuries came and went, despite the many changes that time and conquering armies brought to Verona, the osteria remained and in 1890 became known as “Bottega Vini”. In 1986 Severino Barzan, a man who had spent his life from the age of 14 in the world of wine and hospitality, purchased Bottega Vini. Mr. Barzan began to expand the cellar and by the mid 1990’s wine lovers around the world began to speak about Bottega del Vino as a significant destination in the wine world, due to the breadth and depth of it’s wine list.
During the same period, the wine world had begun to appreciate the innovative Sommelier glasses made by Claus Reidel and indeed, these stems were used in Bottega del Vino. Crystal had been made with lead for centuries, because the lead offered excellent cutting and grinding properties for creating highly decorated (and usually very thick walled) crystal stemware and other objects. The problem was that when making large, thin rimmed glasses out of traditional leaded crystal, the finished product was extremely fragile and this created an economic hardship on wine lovers around the world, including those at Bottega del Vino.
Seeking a solution, Mr. Barzan visited a number of glass producers in the region and explained the problem. With time and much trial and error, an answer came to light – create the stems from crystal that was similar to optical crystal, which is made without lead. Lighter, stronger and clearer than leaded crystal, the result was a stem that had the desired lightness and balance, yet was amazingly durable and dishwasher safe. As far as we know, back in 1996, Bottega del Vino was the first company in the world to produce wineglasses using crystal made without lead. Mr. Barzan also simplified the concept of different varietal stems, based on his lifetime of work in the field.
Over the next few years guests at the Bottega marveled at these wonderful glasses which were durable enough to be used in a restaurant, yet an absolute joy to look at and hold in the hand. From time to time, a guest from a foreign country would approach Mr. Barzan to purchase some stems to take home and share with wine enthusiasts in their own country. In 2000, Robert Hall, a frequent guest from Chicago, sent 5 pallets of stems home, planning to share them around Chicago, but the demand for the stems grew across the country. Today, Bottega del Vino Crystal is admired around the world. The company does not chase trends or compromise quality for any reason. The mission is to make the very best, simple, elegant, hand-made wine glasses possible and offer them at fair prices to wine lovers around the world.
Taking a sip of wine is the last step after years of hard work required to bring the wine to you. You can spoil most of the pleasure of a good wine by using a bad wine glass. Or, you can make the most of that moment with Bottega del Vino Crystal, because it’s really true:
If the wine matters, so does the glass™.