The One Time It’s Okay to Drink Wine with a Straw

It’s kind of a controversial move to drink wine with a straw, even if you’re trying to avoid red wine-stained teeth or lips. Trust us, we’ve been there. But glasses like these new sippers from Oenophilia are specially designed to enhance the flavor of port and dessert wine.

Port is a sweet, rich Portuguese wine typically enjoyed as an after-dinner drink. Real port comes from the Duoro Valley in Portugal, and is sold as Vinho de Porto. It’s stronger in flavor and alcohol content than wine, which is why it’s always served in a small glass. Sippers don’t seem super popular these days, so if you’ve ever enjoyed some after-dinner port, it was probably in a small version of a basic wine glass. Since they’re smaller in size, the glasses concentrate the aroma better.

Traditionally, port wine was served in sipping pipes, which look like large glass tobacco pipes. The stem of the pipe acts like a straw, so you sip the wine from the bottom, drinking the port that hasn’t been exposed to air. This way, most of the liquid is untouched by oxygen, reducing the oxidation and preserving the wine’s original, intended flavor. Port sippers date back to the 17th century, when they were called Schnapps Pfeiffen and made of ceramic.

Also in the 17th century, affluent English families would give a pipe of port (which is around 48 cases), to each newborn son to open on his 21st birthday. The port would have twenty years to age, and kick off his wine collection. Can we get this tradition going again?

In addition to enhancing the flavor of port, dessert wines and other liqueurs, Oenophilia’s new Porto Sippers are also designed so your hand warms the spirits while you sip through the built-in straw. Port supposedly tastes best around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, pretty much room temperature. These glasses are also looking pretty spill-proof – check out those little feet the glass is resting on, and the curve of the straw makes it way easier to hold. So long, fragile stemware!

So even though attaching a straw to your wine glass might make it seem easier to get drunk faster, port is meant to be enjoyed leisurely – it’s actually rude to gulp down a digestif and hurry out of a party. Sit back, relax, and start sipping.

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