You’ve seen all different kinds of wine glasses out there, big, small, dessert glasses, flutes, etc. But do they really make a difference? I’ll admit it, I’ve had wine from a plastic cup, a mug, and straight from the bottle (this was like once…) and sometimes, that’s okay! We can’t always be fancy and perfect. But for those that truly enjoy wine for all of its special characteristics it has to offer, then drinking from the proper wine glass can make a big difference in what you taste.
When it comes to wine drinking, the number one rule is always drink what you like. This also means drink it how you like. But if you want to expand your palate and wine expertise, drinking from the proper glass can make a difference! Using the right glass can improve the taste of your wine. Good thing in today’s world there is no shortage of wine glass styles and options!
Do you need a different type of glass for every single wine you drink? Definitely not. But having a couple different options can definitely help your tasting improve. Plus it can be fun to collect different styles!
Stems are important on wine glasses because holding a wine glass by the body can actual warm up your wine. This is especially important in whites that we often enjoy chilled. It also makes it easier to swirl your wine and allow the aromas to open up. Stemless glasses are a more casual way to enjoy wine, and they work too! They are typically better for reds that don’t need to be kept cold. I am also not a fan of smudge marks or fingerprints, so I like my stems! But you do you 🙂
Smelling is tasting! You can get so much more flavor out of your wine if you take a few minutes to smell it and really take in the aromas first. The main reason for the shape of the wine glasses has to do with the aromas in wine and allowing you to swirl and sniff it properly.
Swirling isn’t just to look cool, well sometimes it is… but it really allows the wine to aerate and causes more aromas to open up! This is why a lot of big, bold reds are also decanted before enjoying them. The bowl shape of a wine glass helps make swirling your wine easier, which allows it to open up, breath, and for you to capture all of its aromatics.
White wine glasses typically have a smaller bowl because this helps to preserve floral aromas. It also allows the wine to be closer to your nose to help you get the most out of those floral or perfumed aromas. The smaller the bowl, the harder it is for the aromas to escape. Unlike a red wine, whites don’t need as much contact with air to “breathe”. Using a smaller glass style works great for these chilled and refreshing wines!
Red wines glasses have larger bowls so you can swirl away and allow that bold red to aerate. The larger the bowl, the better for fuller body wines so they can open up. A larger opening at the top also allows you to stick your nose in there to get more aromas. The rounder the edges of the glass, the more it allows air to interact with the wine. This is a similar effect to using a decanter, because it allows air to come into contact with the wine.
If I had to choose just one kind of wine glass to have at home, I would choose a medium or standard sized red wine glass. This would have a nice stem and large enough bowl to swirl your wines so you get aromas.
The best part and distinctive quality about sparkling wine is the bubbles! Long, skinny flutes help to preserve the bubbles the most. The smaller the surface area at the top, the longer the bubbles with last. Flutes allow the bubbles (and therefore the wine) to remain fresh!
The coupe glasses aren’t the most ideal for champagne. It makes the wine lose its bubbles quicker. But these glasses can be nice for sweet sparkling or semi-sparkling wines.
Dessert wine glasses are much smaller, which helps to reduces alcohol evaporation. This aids in preserving and highlighting the concentrated and complex aromas that are often found in dessert wines like port. The serving size is also much smaller, so a smaller glass is perfect (plus they are so cute)!
The different kinds of wine glasses don’t stop there. There are multiple different styles of red, white, sparkling wine and dessert wine glasses to choose from.
I love the Riedel collection because each glass is specifically designed to enhance a particular wine or grape variety. Their designs are backed by science and testing with wine professionals! They even have a “Why Shape Matters” section on their website to explain more.
I personally have the tulip flutes and Pinot Noir Glasses by Riedel and am obsessed with both. They are amazing quality!
Schott Zwiesel also has some amazing wine glasses. These are very sleek and a little more modern looking.
You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on good wine glasses. I’ve bought quite a few great sets of glasses from Homegoods and Target! Here are some of my favorite more affordable options.
How you store your wine is equally as important as how you sip your wine. Check out my most recent post on How to Properly Store Your Wine.