Happy Hour With Moorooroo | Vessels Through Time

Goblet late 16th century, Italian (Venice), On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 954

Vessels Through Time

It is only natural for us these days to drink wine out of a glass. Something that’s been common for so long that we now take it for granted. But, do you know the path that has been taken by many before us to bring us to the wine glass as we know it today? It’s quite a journey. Take a stroll with us through time as we explore the evolution of the drinking vessel and the many shapes it has taken throughout the ages.

As far back as Bible times we find wineskins were a common way of storing wine and drinking wine from. Wineskins would be made from sheep, goats or even cattle. Their hides would go through a thorough tanning process, more so than regular tanning procedures. Since the wine would ferment within the wineskin, the wineskin had to be strong enough to withstand the fermentation process otherwise the wineskin would burst. Interestingly, just as we today put our wine into barrels to impart certain characteristics into the wine, so too did the people back in Bible times do something similar. They would hang their wineskins perhaps above a fireplace where it could be smoked, which would add certain desired properties to the wine. It’s good to know that our ancestors had a taste for the finer things in life. 

Drinking Horns
Perhaps the most interesting drinking vessel is the drinking horn. Something that now seems almost novelty was widely used among the ancient world. Found throughout the empires of Greece, Rome and Persia as well as the Vikings of Scandinavia. Made from hollowed out horns of goat, cow, ox or the now extinct auroch, a kind of cattle, the drinking horn has been around for at least 2,600 years. The drinking horn would often be accessorised with metal detailing around the rim and so that the horn could stand alone, metal legs would sometimes be welded to the end. Other than horns themselves, drinking horns could be made from other materials such as glass, pottery and precious metals for those of more noble descent. 

Medieval period drinking horn, made from ox horn. (Photo: Åge Hojem, NTNU University Museum)

The word ‘tankard’ was originally used to describe any wooden vessel, but in time came to mean a ‘drinking vessel’. The earliest kinds of tankards in medieval times would be made of wooden staves, similar to how barrels nowadays are made, they would be essentially drinking out of mini barrels. Tankards could also be made out of horn, ivory, porcelain as well as precious metals such as silver and pewter. 

Fun fact:
“On the handles of many 17th and 18th century tankards are whistles that were used for summoning waiters”.

Derived from the Middle English word ‘gobelet’ meaning cup, the goblet is essentially similar in design to the wine glass and can still be found in households today. A goblet is essentially a much bulkier version of the wine glass with more of a bowl shape at the head and a much thicker, sturdier stem. Goblet designs could be quite simple but often came with intricate detailing using many different materials including precious stones being imbedded into the goblet.

Wine Glass
The wine glass as we know it today first appeared in Venice in the 16th century. Of medieval design with the bowl, stem and base being similar to how we recognise them today. Becoming fashionable amongst the à la russe form of dining in the early 19th century, the wine glass would gradually make its way into households of the common people, rather than being used only by those of importance. These days most people at least have a set of glasses in their cupboards in which to serve wine, or as most people have a whole lot of random glasses from all the different sets they’ve owned over the years. 

Did you know? 
The glass blowing technique began in Babylon in 1CE. 

We hope you enjoyed this journey through the ancestry of the wine glass. Next time you visit us in cellar door, you can be glad there won’t be any ox horns or cow skins in sight but we will have a glass ready for you to enjoy your favourite Moorooroo wine. 


In Bottle
2018 The Moo Shiraz

A wine made to showcase our regions strengths the 2018 The Moo Shiraz is a full bodied and complex wine with bright fruit-driven intensity. As you approach this wine for the first time you will notice it showing aromas of cassia, toffee and oak then with your first sip you will experience liquorice and spice on the palate. Three years of maturation in oak results in a long smooth chocolaty finish that lingers in the mouth appeasing your taste buds. We just can’t get enough of it.

The new vintage 2018 The Moo Shiraz has already made itself a firm favourite with us and we’re sure it will become your new favourite too. We can’t wait to share it with you.