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A guide to the different types of wine glasses

Like people, wine glasses come in all shapes and sizes!

If you are not a wine expert the many different types of wine glasses for each type of wine can be quite confusing.

But why is the type of glass so important? For a wine to reach its full flavour potential, especially for connoisseurs, there are certain requirements such as how it is stored, proper serving temperatures and of course.. the right style of glass. Basically certain shapes are better for enjoying specific wines.

*(By the way, it apparently doesn’t matter if the glass is crystal or plain.)

Though there is an array of categories, we will just take a look at the primary glass shapes.

White Wine Glasses

White wines are most commonly served in smaller glasses with the main reasons being that it:

  • Preserves floral aromas
  • Maintains cooler temperature
  • Express’s more acidity in wine
  • Delivers more aromas (even at cooler temperatures) due to proximity to the nose

Further to this, there are subcategories of white wine glasses. For example glasses for Sauvignon Blanc have a long stem and a narrow bowl that tapers slightly, while Chardonnay will be served in a glass with a wide bowl and a top that tapers slightly and Riesling glasses are taller and narrower than those used for Chardonnay.

Red Wine Glasses

The choice of a red wine glass has a lot to do with the fact that the wine needs to “breathe” more and other reasons such as:

  • The wider opening allows a person to actually dip your nose inside to experience the aroma
  • It gives better air contact for the variety of aromas and flavours
  • It increases the oxidation rate, which assists with smoothing out the complex flavours

There are also specific shapes for the different blends. Cabernet/Merlot glasses have an average-length stem, a wide base, and a large bowl that tapers slightly at the top. For Shiraz wines the glasses are smaller than other red blends, while Pinot Noir is served usually in a glass with quite a large bowl and a shorter stem.

Rosé Wine Glasses

White wine glasses are usually sufficient for rosé wines as the narrower bowls are usually better, and a long stem will help the maintain the cool temperature.

Sparkling Wine Glasses

Sparkling wine glasses are slender and are also known as ”flutes”. Its narrow and tall shape retains the bubbles and also helps preserve the aromas. The old-fashioned “coupe” style glasses are not suitable at all as the wide opening means the fizz dissipates too quickly.

Dessert Wine Glasses

There are quite a wide variety of glasses for dessert or fortified wines but the most common are for ports or sherries.

Port wine glasses have a slender shape and the narrow mouth reduces evaporation and concentrates the aromas. A sherry glass is small in size, as the sherry has a higher alcohol percentage and thus prevents the sweetness from being too overwhelming, while they also have a highly tapered rim to make it easy to swirl the sherry.

But at the end of the day, the most important thing is to have good company, great atmosphere and to sit back, relax and enjoy your glass of wine, no matter the shape.



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