Shaping the Wine Tasting Experience

Introducing the Vintner Collection

“We set out to build a glass line with characteristics that are designed for the serious wine taster.” -JM

Last May, Jay Benson, Dana Sabatino, and James Murray ventured on a trip to the California wine country to visit tasting rooms and meet with wine producers we are considering for partnerships. Being inspired, we came back to Vermont and created new stemware to appeal to people serious about wine tasting, and lovers of thin, hand-blown glass that enhances the tasting experience, without having a glass that overtakes the wine, in weight and physicality.

The pulled-stem technique that we use, results in a thinner, more lightweight stem and bowl typical of a classic Sommelier’s glass.  The thin stem and base offer functionality and grace.

The line was designed with modern proportions, taking cues from our Bristol red wine glass in form.  The glasses are generously scaled to show off the wines within.

There are many options of wine tasting glasses by European makers that are machine made, and have a seam on the stem.  The Vintner Collection from Simon Pearce does not have seams because we hand-craft each glass.

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The thin bowl of the glass is designed to have a lot of volume, and room for air to circulate with the wine, and yet not be heavy. Ripple lines of our handcrafted process still appear in the bowl of our glass, different from machine made glass by other wine tasting glass companies in the industry. Our bowl shapes are ideal, and relate to how quickly  we want the wine to pass into the taster’s mouth, which effects the experience and flavor.

An additional benefit of the thin base, is that it is easy to swirl the wine while holding the foot, during a wine tasting.

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The Vintner Collection is sure to please anyone looking for the “whole wine tasting experience”, with the refined balance of the preferred wine in a high quality hand-crafted glass.

The Waterbury Collection

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In design, we continue to be inspired by the natural surroundings here in Vermont. The immersion in Nature easily influences our perspective on developing objects, as the natural elements are filled with interesting forms, textures and colors.  When we consider a new glass line, we strive to capture the artistry that comes from the handmade formation of glass, and the impressions that Nature makes on us.  Fluid and malleable glass is almost unlimited in the possibilities of what can be achieved, and we impose our ideas and reflections on it.

While hiking the Waterbury Trail, we happened upon a small waterfall, and were stuck by how the element of water is always a delight for sense of sight, sound and touch. We also ventured to nearby Moss Glenn Falls for a more dramatic experience.  We  wanted to capture the essence of water flowing and the swirling textures that occur in a new glass.  We started R&D of the glasses based on sketches, but looked to the glassblowers to turn out each glass with a unique interpretation of the watery impression.  Each glass captures a moment in time, with an artistic gesture.

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The collection started with a tumbler, and then we scaled the same design up to a hurricane shape, which looks incredible with candlelight going through the swirling effects.

To compliment the tumbler, we created a carafe with a simple elegant form that lends itself to the layering process of gathers to create optic effects.

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Thinking about lighting, and the interaction with gathered glass effects, Simon created the Waterbury lamp in two sizes, to compliment the collection.  As the glassblowers work with these voluminous shapes, the layered effects of the double-gathered glass give a feeling of water movement that is visually stunning.  The lamps come to life when you see the light going through the glass, much like the dynamic impression from the streams and waterfalls of Vermont.

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Holiday Decorating

Hygge Holiday 

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At Simon Pearce we are embracing the Swedish lifestyle of Hygge (“hoo-gah”) by creating warm and cozy moments where our handcrafted glass and pottery are at the center. Styling our extra large hurricanes with multiple candles and some seasonal fill such as pine cones, sugar (as snow) or bits of nature we gather creates a centerpiece for a hygge atmosphere where candlelight is central.  We include Crystalline teardrop vases in candent with our alabaster and selenite votive holders, and we have the perfect mix of subtle and soft textures and colors.

Holiday Centerpiece

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Create a centerpiece with our new Echo Lake Bowl. With the same light reflecting qualities that inspired our Echo Lake Hurricanes, the texture of this bowl can either illuminate or subtly reflect the contents of the centerpiece. 

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Here we show natural elements on their own and illuminated by string lights, as well as cranberries floating in water, illuminated by our floating candles. The shape of the bowl also makes it a natural for serving trifle desserts or other holiday food you wish to highlight.

Small Touches 

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Some of the finest details can make the most memorable moments for friends and family over the holidays. In our stores, the customers’ faces light up when they see our 1” glass ice cubes wrapped like presents with ⅛” red ribbon and placed around our glass Christmas trees. Groupings can adorn the table or mantle in this way.

Recently, we added a place card holder, created from our ice cube molds. Try wrapping the cardholder with red ribbon around the sides and add a name card for each place setting, or simply wrap a cube for each guest, or both!

Crystalline Ornaments

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The allure of our subtly textured crystalline inspired our potters to try the mysterious glaze techniques on something our customers love, ornaments. The small round porcelain shape our potters create has the perfect contour for the glaze crystals because it is all about timing and shape with our crystalline glaze. As the ornaments are slowly cooled, and then held at a certain temperature, the liquid glaze becomes more like molasses. Only certain components of the glaze move around within the liquid and form crystals, their size determined by the amount of time they remain in this state. It is the magic and unpredictability of this process that creates the beautiful surface of our crystalline.

Holiday Floral

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The Silver Lake Bowl has a wonderful icy texture that hides the stems of beautiful greenery and florals that you might gather outside your home. What we love about this bowl is how it makes floral arranging for the holidays so simple. Skip the florist, in favor of gathering greens and berries left on branches, while you walk the dog, or stroll with a friend, then bring them inside and arrange with ease, as the tapered base holds the stems in place for you. Flower arranging, Vermont style.

Illuminate the Holidays

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Our LED bases have illuminated our glass evergreens for years, but more recently we are enamored with silver strands of tiny LED lights. A 30 ft. plug in strand with a blank leader works well for creating mantle and centerpiece displays or to decorate your Christmas tree. The shorter 15 ft. strand has a battery pack for use in other, more precarious situations, such as inside one of our hurricanes in place of a candle, for coffee table vignettes or even around place settings at a holiday table, with the battery pack hidden under a table runner. It’s even possible to use these strands to adorn branches with hanging glass ornaments over your dining table for the ultimate holiday atmosphere.

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Shimmering Trees

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Building upon the much loved Echo Lake design, that is inspired by the ice formations occuring over the waterfall at the Mill, we attempted the same technique on a few tree shapes and were excited about the result.

These eye catching wintery trees are the perfect balance of classic & contemporary design and make a statement for any centerpiece.  The perfectly imperfect strands of molten glass are finely wrapped around each tree form to create this shimmering effect.

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Echo Lake Trees: 8″, 10″, 14″

Celebrate the season, by creating a cluster or even a forest of mixed trees, for a grand tablescape, or mantle display that will be a delight through the winter months.

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Throughout the wintry months in Vermont, we take photos of the different states of water and ice over the waterfall, for design inspiration.

Elegant Designs & Enduring Connections

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From Left to Right: Jay Benson, James Lawless, Corin Mellor, & Simon Pearce

On a cool November day, we were pleased to host Corin Mellor and James Lawless, from the David Mellor company.  They made the trip from England, driving up from Boston, to visit our flagship Mill in Quechee to provide some product background about their flatware, and reconnect over lunch with Simon.  Corin is the son of master metalworker, designer & retailer David Mellor. Today, Corin carries on the tradition started by his father as the creative director, and leads the company’s design efforts with new creations, and curation of what they sell in their stores.  Corin, and James Lawless (sales manager), had lunch with Simon and Jay, to hear stories from Simon, of the enduring connection between David Mellor and Simon.  Both went to the Royal College of Art, and both had the same interest in functional and beautiful design. When David Mellor opened his first shop on Sloane Square in London, it was a destination for design and offered Simon’s glasses that he produced in Ireland.  With their connection, Simon also carried David Mellor flatware in his shop. Simon’s penchant for making glass was an influence on David, and they both were part of a maker’s movement that was happening, at the time.

David Mellor was from Sheffield, which was a center for flatware and metal work.  He was first trained as a silversmith, and specialized in metalwork but also designed beyond flatware, pursuing a variety of industrial design opportunities such as home accessories and even street furniture. He was a pioneer of modern design in England, and is famous for his flatware which won numerous design awards with Pride being one of the most highly regarded patterns.

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Paris 5-Piece Flatware Setting

The Paris pattern was created in 1993, and originally intended for the The Silver Trust in England, it is now a highly popular design for us, and has an incredible finish.

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Pride 5-Piece Flatware Setting

Pride is a modern classic and yet has some design cues that originate from Georgian proportioning; a very similar origin to the classic influences on Simon’s first glass designs.  Pride was designed in 1953, and was first created in silver with a bone handle for the knife, but was later redesigned in stainless steel. This beautiful flatware set exudes all the hallmarks of elegant design, with simplicity as the primary characteristic.  Corin explained the progression of making the flatware and how the buffing and finishing requires many steps.

The philosophy behind the Pride pattern is synonymous with what we stand for at Simon Pearce. The flatware pattern compliments the timeless quality of our glassware and dinnerware, and has been with us for decades. While style and tastes come and go, these designs stand the test of time.

Harvest Gatherings

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The warm hues of turning leaves are made vibrant by the fading light of Fall and inspire the way we mix glass, pottery and textiles on our harvest tables.  The tone is set with plentiful candlelight and we layer pottery in shades of slate, dove and grey marble for that “Equinox” feel. The mood is rich and the feel is casual.

The place settings are grounded with our natural weave Nettle runner and NEW matte slate glazed Cavendish dinner plates. Layered on top are glossy Cavendish side plates in the dove white glaze and Andrew Pearce 7” Cherry Live Edge Salad Bowls.

To balance the feel, we set each place with a Hampton Stemless Tumbler, a modern take on our refined Hampton stemware and Georg Jensen Copenhagen flatware, with its weightless feel.

Custom designed linens in a golden hue of a cotton/linen mix are printed with Fall chestnuts & are gathered with a Simon Pearce glass napkin ring.

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Where there were once three, now there are six heights of our iconic Hartland candlestick. We’ve added three heights in a NEW stemmed design. You can stop here or you can bring in our NEW pineapple candlestick to create a lively mix along the table. The pineapple, a symbol of hospitality, has become a top seller.

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In between Fall gatherings, the high contrast mix of pottery is a natural for the everyday table, made special with the whimsy of the grey marble, which you can collect in place settings, tiny tapas plates or gorgeous show stopping platters and serving bowls.

Let the final embellishment of your table be a Simon Pearce glass Pumpkin. Like our evergreens, they can be collected to create a pumpkin patch for the table or mantle, to be cherished and shown off year after year.

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Cucumber Margarita

 

In a shaker filled with ice:
2 ½ oz Cucumber infused Tequila and 2 oz lime simple syrup
Pour into a lightly salted rimmed Bristol Goblet
Garnish with Cucumber slice (cut on sharp diagonal) down side of glass and lime wedge

Cucumber Infused Tequila:
1 ½ English cucumber, 1 bottle of El Charro Silver Tequila
In a Cambro combine thinly sliced cucumber and tequila
Cover, label with date and time.
Leave to infuse at room temperature for 24 hours. (If in a Liquor room, allow 36 hours.)
Keep refrigerated (will last 3 months if kept cold) and discard cucumbers.

Lime Simple Syrup mix:
3 parts Jansal lime juice and 2 parts simple syrup.
Label and date.

Lemon Basil Simple Syrup:
4 cups water, 4 cups sugar
Boil and remove from heat when sugar is dissolved. Add 20 basil leaves.
Let sit 5 – 10 minutes then remove basil.
Cool, cover and refrigerate.
Fill a squeeze bottle half syrup/half lemon juice.