Roemer Glass- Green Stemmed German Wine Glasses
What is Roemer Glass? These traditional German Wine Glasses with a green stem are all over Germany, where they are used to serve delicious wines from the Rhine or Moselle Region. We had a set in our home while I was growing up… and my family in Germany has them. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that most German families have a set in the Schrank. I even have a few sets myself! But what makes these glasses special? And why are the stems of the glasses Green? And why are they named for Romans?
Turns out, these glasses have a very long history!
What is Roemer Glass?
When the Romans expanded their empire into Germany, they brought an appetite for wine with them. But, since it was easier to produce wine in these far outposts than to haul Amphora over the Alps, they sought out ideal growing conditions for their grapes. In what is now Southwest Germany, they established the first vineyards. The garrison in Trier, Germany’s oldest city, in the Moselle Valley, is ideally situated for growing, both because of the shale soil and the moderate climate. Once the Germanic Tribes on the other side of the Rhine were dealt with, Roman viticulture moved up along the Rhine River Valley. (Fun Fact, vineyards along the Moselle and the Rhine still use the same Roman trellising techniques from that time).
Basically, a Romer Glass is a wine glass with a green base that looks coiled, topped by a clear bowl. The first Römer glasses were produced in the 16th Century along the Rhine and in the Netherlands. The style evolved from “Waldglass”, and started out simply, as a cone on top of a coiled stem called Bekemeyers. Over time, the bowl of the glass got thinner and rounder… and the bottom of the coiled stem was given a wider base.
The green color comes from the potash and sand from the forest. Originally, the entire glass was made green, but wine lovers felt that the green interfered with the color of the wine… so the glasses are now made with a green stem and clear bowls.
Roemer Glass from the late 17th Century on display at the Met- Dutch- Public Domain
By the end of the 17th century, the bowl of the glasses were thin and hemispherical (a half circle). Often today, the bowl is etched with vines or grapes, and sometimes the glass rim is gold. You’ll find them with all sorts of lovely decorations.
Today you can buy modern versions of these old Römer glasses!
Why are the Stems Bumpy?
The base of the glasses were originally made by coiling the glass over a form. This made a hollow stem that stayed bumpy or layered. Because of the thickness, the stem is officially called a “trunk” (but that’s kind of hard to get used to, so let’s continue to say stem).
Most German households have a set of these glasses…. Now you can have them too….maybe as a sign of your heritage, or as a reminder of a wonderful visit in Germany.
Where Can I Buy Roemer Glasses
Vintage Roemer Glasses