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Types of Wine Glasses

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Glassware from short to tall, thick glass or thin, large or small bowls, deciding which type of wine glass to use can be confusing. A true wine connoisseur is not worried so much about the decorative look of the wine glass, but how using the correct glass will make the wine taste and smell better. The most important aspect of wine glasses is that the bowl of the glass narrows at the rim. That allows the aromas of the wine to concentrate within the glass, so you can detect the fragrances easier and better appreciate them. Typically red wine glasses are larger than white wine or sparkling wine glasses.

Using a type of wine glass best suited for either red or white wines can improve the entire experience of the wine. Paying attention to the size of the rim, shape of the bowl, and even the length of the stem will also enhance a wine. 

Typically, higher quality glassware will have thinner glass and a thinner rim. This allows a more even flow of wine as it leaves the glass. Red wine glasses are usually larger in size; whereas, white wine glasses are smaller with longer stems. The longer stem helps provide a way to hold the drink without warming the wine. Every stemmed wine glass has three parts:

  • Base– often referred to as “the foot” of the glass, keeps the wine glass stable. Stemless wine glasses will not have a base. The bowl of the glass rests on the surface.
  • Stem– the stem is meant to be held while drinking the wine. It allows the wine to stay cool in the bowl of the wine glass.
  • Bowl– the most important part of the glass, this holds the wine. The bowl’s shape, size, and style are the principal reasons for choosing the correct wine glass. 

Red Wine Glasses

Typically, red wine glasses are taller, have a bigger base, and a larger bowl that tapers up to the rim. The larger size allows the wine to come into contact with more oxygen. This is referred to as “letting the wine breathe,” releasing aromas and flavors. The large bowl is also good for swirling the wine, another way of adding oxygen to the wine. Red wines need more oxygen. Aeration helps with the wine’s aromas and gives the tannins a smoother flavor. There are several types of red wine glasses to choose from.

Cabernet, Bordeaux, Merlot Wine Glasses

Perfect for bold red wines, these are the tallest glasses. A broad base with a medium to large stem supports a large bowl that tapers at the opening. The wider opening allows more oxygen contact with the wine,  making the wine taste smoother while bringing out fruity flavors. 

Burgundy & Pinot Noir Red Wine Glasses

This most commonly used wine glass is the widest and shortest style. The short stem and wide bowl allows a great deal of oxygen to come in contact with the wine, which helps assemble the bold aromas, thus directing the flavors to the correct place on your tongue. 

Sangiovese, Shiraz, Syrah, & Malbec Red Wine Glasses

A shorter glass style and a smaller bowl than bold red wine glasses, this glass is good for medium to full bodied red wines. A smaller opening allows the wine to gradually hit your palette, softening the harsh flavors and spices. The narrow bowl tapers a bit more which helps trap the aromas. 

White Wine Glasses

White wines do not need to breathe as meticulously like red wines do. This is why white wine glasses are smaller in bowl size. With a tulip shaped round bowl that tapers at the top and a long tapered stem, this glass allows the wine to stay cooler. White wine needs less aeration and the smaller bowl allows aromas to gather at the rim of the glass. This heightens the smell and taste of the wine. The longer stem allows the wine drinker to hold the glass at the stem, ensuring that the white wine does not warm up. There are a few different white wine glasses to choose from. 

Sauvignon Blanc/Riesling White Wine Glasses

Both of these white wines can be served in the same shape and style of glass. The stem of the glass is medium to long with a narrow bowl that tapers in a bit. It is typically a smaller bowl and holds less liquid than red wine glasses. The smaller bowl allows less oxygen in the glass, helping the taster to detect the aromas in the wine. 

Chardonnay White Wine Glasses

Chardonnay glasses are the opposite design. They have a large bowl which is a bit smaller than a Burgundy glass and a shorter stem. The larger bowl allows a bigger surface area which is good for full-bodied wines. 

Champagne & Sparkling Wine Glasses

Both of these bubbly drinks should be served in a flute glass. Flutes have a long stem with a tall slender bowl. The narrow shape of the bowl helps the wine stay chilled and keep the bubbles from becoming flat. An added roughness to the base of the bowl helps bubbles form and travel up to the surface. Although a flute glass is the favorite choice for sparkling wines, some choose to drink out of a tulip or coupe glass.

Dessert Wine Glasses

Dessert wines such as Port, Sherry, and Marsala, are sweeter than most wines and have a higher alcohol content. The pour of a dessert wine is small; therefore, the glass is petite in size. These types of glasses are mini versions of larger style wine glasses. You do not have to own special wine glasses to drink dessert wine. But the smaller bowl encourages sipping, which can keep the wine from becoming too overwhelming in sweetness and taste. 

Unique Shaped Wine Glasses

If you like to think outside of the box or just want to shock your dinner guests, then an interesting looking wine glass is just for you. From simple wine tumblers and plastic wine glasses for your pool party, to fancy statement pieces, it is worth a few minutes to look up these unique gems.

  • Port sippers
  • Colored wine glasses
  • Silicone
  • Hand painted 
  • Funny
  • Metallic
  • Stainless Steel
  • Reusable
  • Rose Shaped
  • Body Shaped

Standard Wine Glasses

If you do not have the time or shelf space to expand your wine glass supply, then a standard wine glass will work just fine. A universal wine glass can support all varieties of wine. A standard wine glass will have a medium size bowl and a tapered rim. A universal wine glass will work with white, red, dessert, and sparkling wines. Every home should have a set of “go to” wine glasses for that quick glass of wine.

When using wine glasses, it’s important to ensure the glasses are completely clean. Residue from dirt, detergent or fingerprints can impact how the wine tastes and in worst cases even spoil the wine. Always be sure the glass is clean and polished before using or serving others.

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