Eisch Ordered to Cease Advertizing Breathable Glass.

Blake Gray thinks the German courts need better tasters.  I respectfully disagree.  The courts found that Eisch’s claim of “breathable” glass was patently false and misleading.  It doesn’t matter if the taste from their glass is different than others (I concluded they do have a distinct sensory profile).

Eisch makes it impossible to determine if the material they use is indeed contributing to the sensory perception.  They will not provide (or sell)  identical glasses made with “normal” glass for comparison (at least not in the US).  Instead they suggest you use a similar glass.  There are two major problems with this approach:

  1. The similar glass is not the same  as the Eisch.
  2. It is nearly impossible to to do blind tasting with two different glasses since there are visual  and tactile clues.

All of the comparisons I’ve seen are compromised by tasters knowing they we evaluating glassware and not using identical glasses. These are not blind tests.  Michael Franz’s  evaluation at Eisch comes the closest to a blind tasting but even this test is an explicit evaluation of  glassware and under Eisch’s control and with glassware that is not available.

Given that is  extremely far fetched that glass could be made so permeable that there would marked taste difference in 2 to 4 minutes.  Judging from the press release the technical analysis team could not measure an uptake of O2 either (probably the plaintiffs had an independent lab measure dissolved oxygen).

The question that needs to be asked is what could they put in the glass to make a difference?  The logical conclusion is a catalyst, most of which are heavy or rare earth metals.  Not something I like having in my household (I don’t use lead crystal either).  Eisch won’t disclose how it makes glass breathable and I don’t recall a prop 65 warning (California hazard’s materials warning) with the glasses so they may not have anything at all in them.  Perhaps this is one of those  “you can fool all of the people some of the time”.  The human consciousness is a complex and wondrous thing but can be subtlety manipulated.

I’m glad the German courts sided with truthful advertising over perpetuating a wine “urban legend” but don’t let that stop you from enjoying wine in Eisch glasses you like what your  mind says is happening.  Just rest easier that knowing that it isn’t magic.

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3 thoughts on “Eisch Ordered to Cease Advertizing Breathable Glass.

  1. Hi Steve,

    I work with Eisch in the U.S. They are a client. A few things I’d like to clarify.

    To remove this obstacle from their business path, Eisch has agreed (i.e. settled) to change the terminology they use to describe the benefits provided by their glasses, which they have renamed Sensis-plus. In the legal and technical milieu of the German Courts, they could not prove that this glass does, in technical fact, breathe. (Happy to chat about this if you like)

    However, the benefits of the glass have surprised many experts.

    We would like to clarify that we have not disclosed the proprietary technology used to produce these glasses to our competitors or anyone else. They do not carry a prop 65 warning, because they are made from lead-free crystal.

    In point of fact, Eisch does have glasses that are the same but without the treatment. We would be happy to provide some of the glasses for you to undertake your own rigorous sensory analysis of their performance. We can send you one with the treatment and one without. You can run your own experiments and see for yourself.

    We are optimistic that you will find exactly what so many winemakers, wine experts, and consumers have discovered: that these glasses are beneficial for the enjoyment of wine.

    Feel free to contact me at mwangbickler@balzac.com if you wish to discuss this further.

    1. Michael,
      I welcome that opportunity to trial both types of material side by side. Please also send a set to Meg Maker in Vermont. What has changed since we last talked?

      From: “Michael Wangbickler”
      To: “Steve Shaffer”
      Return-Path: mwangbickler@balzac.com
      X-OriginalArrivalTime: 29 Jan 2010 20:04:44.0965 (UTC) FILETIME=[4D315550:01CAA11E]

      Hi Steve,

      It turns out that particular line of non-breathable glasses aren’t
      available in the U.S. They suggest comparing it to a similar glass by
      another manufacturer. If this situation changes, I’ll let you know.

      Best,

      Mike

      I stand my my belief that Eisch is best served by not making claims which can not be upheld in either an independent lab or court. The new naming should serve them well.
      Note I have (in the absence of a true blind test) been able to detect a pronounced difference between the Eisch and a “comparable” Riedel. I’m very anxious to be able to distinguish further between the glass shape (I’ve always found the ISO shape pleasing) and the material.
      The fact that the glass does not contain any chemical which would merit a prop 65 warning (the list of halides and other chemicals is extensive) is comforting since I use the Eisch glasses daily at home. I do however remain skeptical of the ability of the material to have a marked effect on sensory perception in the absence of a catalytic agent or mechanical treatment. having examined the glasses I can’t detect a mechanical mechanism; perhaps I need to get out the lab microscope? That leaves a chemical reaction, which to be sustainable needs to be catalytic (not consumed in the reaction).
      I look forward to making a full sensory analysis.

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