Fire and Vine: The Story of Glass and Wine

July 3, 2021 – December 31, 2022
Gather Gallery

Explore the many ways glass touches wine as it travels from the grape to your goblet in Fire and Vine: The Story of Glass and Wine. 

The entwined histories of glass and wine extend back thousands of years, from lavish feasts of ancient Rome, to the polite society of Britain in the 1700s, to formal dinner parties of post-war America, to an essential experience within our contemporary food culture. The strength, impermeability, and versatility of glass has played an important role in every step of wine’s journey, from the production, distribution, sale, and ultimately the enjoyment of this intoxicating beverage.

During your visit, you’ll see a rare 2,000-year-old fragment of cameo glass depicting a grape harvest, a still-sealed bottle of wine found in a shipwreck off the coast of England, and an exceptional 400-year-old document describing an “almost unbreakable glass jar” that could prevent wine from spoiling.

A fragment of translucent deep blue and opaque white glass carving of a male walking to the right, carrying a basket of grapes suspended from a pole resting on his shoulder.
Cameo Glass Fragment with Grape Harvest, 25 BCE–50 CE. Probably Italy. Cast or blown, cased, carved (cameo) glass. H. 5.1 cm, W. 4.4 cm. 66.1.59.
A green circular glass wine bottle with embossed grapes, leaves and tendrils in a circular beaded frame in the middle.
Wine Bottle, 1730. England. Blown, impressed, trailed, and applied non-lead glass; liquid wine, lead, foil, and paint. H. 18.5 cm; Base W. 10.5 cm. 68.2.11.
A kidney-shaped clear glass pitcher with a pouring lip at one side and cut glass star pattern on the bottom.
Wine Jug in "Russian" Pattern, about 1882–1890. Probably J. Hoare & Company; glass blank probably manufactured by Corning Glass Works. Corning, New York. Blown, cut glass. H. 22.2 cm, W. 10 cm, L. 19.6 cm. 95.4.361, gift with funds from Harriet Smith.

A focal point of the exhibition will be a dense display of dozens of wine glasses from around the world, representing many styles and tastes, fit for a variety of occasions. You will be able to envision the stories behind the glasses—and imagine yourself partaking from this delicate stemware that’s been part of countless life moments.

In the exhibition, you'll also explore how the story of glass and wine has particular relevance in the Finger Lakes of New York State, which has been a nexus for both the glass and wine industries for more than 150 years.  Independent, entrepreneurial winemakers and glass artists have found a mutual home in this region, building on historical tradition with new creative energy that makes Corning and the Finger Lakes an international hub for the entwined industries of fire and vine.

Fire and Vine: The Story of Glass and Wine opens July 3, 2021.

Meet the Curator

Katherine Larson

Curator of Ancient Glass