How to Choose the Right Wine Glass

September 24, 2018
Does the wine glass matter in how you taste your wine? ~ Yes!  Even subtle differences in glass design can significantly impact how you experience a wine.  Follow these general guidelines on how to choose the right wine glass to get the best out of how you experience your wines. 

How to Choose the Right Wine Glass Image


For those who know me well, it's no surprise that I love my wine.

But when it comes to enjoying wine, does your wine glass really matter?

The answer is an absolute yes!  Even subtle differences in glass design can significantly impact how you experience a wine.

How, you ask?

Because wine glass shape and style impact how much air comes in contact with the wine, how much aroma is released from the wine and reaches your nose, and especially where the wine first hits your tongue.

All these elements together ultimately impact the flavor you taste.

The moral of our comparative glass tasting story?  If you're not enjoying a particular wine, try it in a different glass.

Many years ago, my Mom and I did our first comparative glass wine tasting.  We tasted several different wines, each one in several different glasses, to taste the impact that different glass elements have on how you taste the wine.

We'd always been told that the glass matters, but were totally shocked to see ... and taste ... how much!

Truly, the glass can completely change how you experience the wine.

Since that first comparative tasting, we've done a couple more ... all with the same results.  The glass matters!

The moral of our comparative glass tasting story?  If you're not enjoying a particular wine, try it in a different glass.  You may just find you love it once you switch.

Choosing the Right Wine Glass Image

So let's talk wine glasses.  Because different glasses are shaped to enhance different aspects of wines.

The three things to consider in your wine glass are:
1. Bowl shape
2. Stem
3. Thickness of the rim

When choosing your wine glass, it's best to first and foremost take bowl shape into consideration, matching the bowl to the type of wine.

Ultimately the best wine glass choice for any particular wine is the one in which the wine tastes best to you.  

Then give consideration to stemmed versus stemless, and to the thickness of the rim.

Do keep in mind, though, that all the guidelines about matching wine glasses to wines are simply just that ~ guidelines.  Ultimately the best wine glass choice for any particular wine is the one in which the wine tastes best to you.

Don't like how a wine tastes?

Before you blame the wine, give it a try in a different glass!
   

1.  Consider the Bowl Shape

Consider the Bowl Shape When Choosing the Right Wine Glass Image

The width of a wine glass's bowl impacts the amount of the wine's surface area that's exposed to air.  It also affects how much of the wine's aroma is experienced by your nose.

With wide bowls, much of the wine is exposed to air and a lot of aroma reaches your nose.  With narrower bowls, less wine is exposed to air and less surface area is present to release aroma to your nose.

So which bowl size and shape go with each type of wine?  Let's take a look ...


Choose a Wide Bowl for Reds

Wide Bowled Glass for Drinking Red Wines Image

Red wines typically require a large wide bowl to best allow their bigger bolder aromas and flavors to emerge.

Wider wine glass bowls allow more aromas to waft up to your nose and also help aerate the wine as you drink, helping release more of the wine's flavor.


Choose a Narrower Bowl for Whites

Wine Glass Bowl Shape for Drinking White Wines Image

Because most white wines have more delicate flavors and aromas, a narrower glass helps channel these subtler aromas more toward your nose.

It also exposes less of the wine's surface area to air and helps preserve white wines' chill.



Choose a Tall Narrow Flute for Sparkling

Tall Narrow Flute Bowl Shape for Drinking Sparkling Wines Image

Who doesn't love sparkling wine's fun little bubbles??

Sparkling wine loses its carbonation once exposed to oxygen.  So to keep those bubbles dancing as long as possible, choose a tall narrow fluted bowl that minimizes the amount of air touching the surface area of the wine.  This will best preserve all those beautiful bubbles.

But what if you're still in doubt about what type of glass shape is best for a particular wine?

Sparkling wine loses its carbonation once exposed to oxygen.  So to keep those bubbles dancing as long as possible, choose a tall narrow fluted bowl that minimizes the amount of air touching the surface area of the wine.  

When in doubt, choose a medium-sized all-purpose wine glass designed for use with both red and white wines.  With plenty of room to allow the wine to breathe, these versatile glasses will provide an adequate drinking experience for most wines.

For me personally, I've found I enjoy a lot of my wines best in a globe-shaped round glass ... even some of my favorite oaky chardonneys that most would say to drink in a narrower-bowl glass.  When I'm finding I don't care all that much for a wine? ... I pour it into my globe-shaped round glass, for sure.



2.  Consider the Stem

Stem vs. Stemless Wine Glasses Image

When it comes to choosing a stemmed versus stemless glass, it's mostly a matter of personal preference.

Stemmed glasses do seem a bit more formal whereas stemless are a bit more casual.  Consider the type of event when choosing your glasses, if you'd like.

Hosting a cookout in your backyard, for example?  Stemless may be the way to go.

When it comes to choosing a stemmed versus stemless glass, it's mostly a matter of personal preference.

Do keep in mind though, drinking from a stemless glass can increase the wine's temperature because of your hand holding where the wine is instead of holding the glass's stem.  So stemless glasses may not be the best choice for white wines that are served chilled if you like to keep the chill on your wine.

But truly, when it comes to stems choose what you prefer for your wine drinking experience!




3.  Consider the Rim

Thin-Rimmed Wine Glass Image

The thickness of a wine glass's rim impacts how the wine flows onto your tongue while you drink it, and can therefore impact how you taste the wine.

A more thinly cut rim with no lip (like on the glass in the photo above) allows wine to flow smoothly onto your tongue.

Thicker, more rolled rims (like that on the glass in the photo below) inhibit smooth flow onto your tongue and can accentuate acidity and harshness in the wine.

Personally, I prefer to drink from glass with a thin rim ... and will generally go with thin-rimmed crystal glass when one's around.

Thick-Rimmed Wine Glass Image

Once you've selected your glass and poured that wine, enjoy the best part of all ~ drinking it.  

And remember, if you don't like how a wine tastes, try it in a different glass!  It may just change your whole flavor experience with that wine.


Three Wine Glasses Image

Enjoy!



Please enjoy these tasty wine cocktails from The Kitchen is My Playground ...








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4 comments

  1. Tracey, I don't care for the stemless glasses at all, for either red or white. Don't want to warm up the white, as you mentioned, and if I want to warm up the red with my hand, I can do that just as well with a stemmed glass. The one thing I don't need in my kitchen is more glasses! :D And, yes, rimless with no lip is definitely the best. I like your suggestion for when you're not really liking a wine: pour it into a different shaped glass. I'm definitely going to do that next time.

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