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Choosing the Right Wine Glass

Choosing the right wine glass can be a matter of personal preference. However, those in the winemaking industry will tell you that either one glass fits all or a separate wine glass is required for each blend and grape variety.

We have seen an increase in wine glass shapes over the last ten years, ranging from simple and inexpensive to indulgent and extravagant, which can make the choice quite overwhelming.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the key decisions you’ll need to make when looking for the perfect wine glass for you.

Why Is It Important to Choose the Right Wine Glass?

The style, shape, and thickness of a wine glass can have a significant impact on how the wine is presented and tastes. While many winemakers would argue that the wine is the most important aspect and that no glassware can improve a poorly made blend, having the right glass can improve your appreciation and enjoyment of any wine.

All wines, regardless of type (red, white, rosé, sparkling, or fortified), contain important aromas that play an important role in the overall character of the wine.

Exploring the aromas of your wine is enhanced by choosing the right wine glass.

3 Things to Consider When Choosing the Right Wine Glass

  1. Bowl shape
  2. Rim thickness
  3. Stem or no stem

The bowl shape

The shape of the bowl influences how much air gets to the wine, which influences the aroma and taste.

Smaller bowls make it more difficult for the aroma to escape, keeping the delicate flavours of white wine within the glass. When tasting from a smaller bowl glass, you will notice more aromas travelling towards your nose, which you may miss if you use a larger bowl.

Red wines typically have stronger aromas that require more aeration to release the flavours. For this reason, a larger bowl allows more oxygen to reach the wine. Fuller-bodied wines, such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Bordeaux blends, are traditionally served in larger bowl shapes.

Champagne and sparkling wines are best served in a narrow flute to preserve the bubbles that would otherwise be lost in a wider Champagne coupe. However, some argue that without the air space at the top of the glass, a flute will not aid in the development of more complex aromas in an older Champagne. For many, choosing a flute, coupe, or otherwise remains a matter of personal preference.

Rim thickness

The thickness of the glass at the rim can obstruct the smooth flow of wine from glass to mouth. A thin-cut rim with no lip allows the wine to reach your taste buds more smoothly than a thicker glass with a rolled lip.

Thinner glasses may be more fragile, which should be considered when storing and durability.

Stem vs Stemless

Stemmed glassware is the traditional wine glass choice. However, it is not all for show. The temperature of a wine can influence how its aromas and acidity are perceived. Carrying the glass by its stem can prevent the temperature of the wine from rising. This is especially important for those who enjoy white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, which are best served chilled or lightly chilled.

The heat of your hands can cause the temperature of the glass to rise, which is less of an issue with red wine than with white wine. Red wines are best enjoyed at temperatures ranging from 13 to 18 degrees Celsius.

Tumblers provide more stability than stemmed wine glasses and may be a more practical solution for presentation and storage.

Is it better to have one glass for each grape or one glass for all?

Not everyone can store different glasses for Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir but they may be able to store a red and a white wine glass.

Alternatively, choosing an all-round wine glass – one with a shape that complements a variety of wine styles – may be more beneficial.

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