To answer this question, we turn to science. What does the research say, you ask? Well, a study published in the Journal of Wine Research (yes, that is a real scholarly journal) conducted by Margaret A. Cliff found that wine glass shape had a significant impact on how wine drinkers perceived the intensity of the flavor of the wine. This was mostly due to the fact that the portion of where the wine sits in the glass (called the bowl) was larger than the opening (from which you sip from). This means a wine glass is the perfect tool for drinking your wine. This science isn’t something that can be replicated using a simple water or juice glass.
Wine Glass Shape and Function
More precisely, the bowl-to-opening ratio is crucial for the proper swirling technique to aerate the wine. The wine glass tapers towards the top of the glass in order to keep the wine within the glass without the risk of spilling out everywhere. Without a wine glass, you’re left to attempt to swirl red wine in a normal glass and risk spilling red wine all over yourself. Therefore, a wine glass is necessary for the proper swirling to aerate the wine.
Wine Glass Aeration and Aromas
Aerating the wine is a very important part of the wine drinking experience because it allows oxygen to work its magic and allows us to smell the aroma of wine without masking alcohol aroma. Thus you can detect the different subtleties of fruit, floral, spice, or herbal in the scent of the wine. You may be asking why we are talking so much about the aroma when it comes to wine. But the smell of wine creates the “taste” of wine for us in our mouths.
Without a proper wine glass, it might be hard to get the most out of the aroma of the wine. In fact, there are specific wine glasses used to maximize a taster’s experience depending on what kind of wine they are drinking. For example, a red wine glass has a large, tall bowl to maximize aeration and capture bold aromas. In contrast, a white wine glass has a shorter bowl. This brings the drinker’s nose closer to the wine, allowing them to better smell the subtler aromas of white wine.
But don’t get overwhelmed with all that! A universal wine glass is perfectly good if you’re not ready to store multiple glasses for different wines—more on this below.
4 Great Reasons Why Wine Glasses are Necessary
Some people ask if a wine glass is “necessary” partially due to the worry of cost, fears of breakage, maintenance, and cleaning.
Could you live without wine glasses? Yes. But why do that when you can find wine glasses that cost well below $10 apiece? You do not have to buy expensive crystal wine glasses to be able to take part in the experience of tasting wine.
Yes, some wine glasses are paper thin and are liable to break if mishandled, but these glasses typically are made of crystal. Don’t be deterred—wine glasses made from normal glass are more durable than you would think! These glasses are almost always dishwasher-safe and therefore cleaned easily. A wine glass is not hard to care for.
The use of different wine glasses goes beyond practicality. The tradition of using different wine glasses helped advance the continued use of wine in today’s society. It is not an elegant or fancy event without stunning wine glasses placed at each seat at the table. Even if it is not an occasion, drinking wine out of a wine glass gives the feeling of sophistication and elegance that simply cannot be replicated with a plastic cup or normal drinking glass.
This is the most impactful reason that wine glasses are necessary. As the research showed us, the bowl of the wine glass is larger than the top of the wine glass, which aerates the wine and enhances aromas. Thus, your wine tasting experience is enhanced.
The Best Wine Glass Options
Universal Wine Glasses
You don’t need to own dozens of wine glasses for different wines and different occasions. An increasingly popular and more versatile option is to buy a “universal” wine glass. The universal glass is best for drinkers who are not excited about the idea of buying multiple different types of glasses or who want a more casual drinking experience. However, if you’re determined to become a true wine connoisseur, read on to learn how to pair each type of wine with the perfect glass.
It doesn’t hurt, though, to have multiple options for wine glasses. For people who thoroughly enjoy wine and want to find the best wine drinking experience, let’s break down the necessary wine glasses for you.
Red Wine Glasses
For red wine lovers, a larger wine glass like a Burgundy glass is necessary to bring out the fullness and boldness of the aroma in your favorite red wine.
White Wine Glasses
A white wine drinker’s necessity is a Chardonnay glass or a similar white wine glass that is on the narrower side. The narrower glass preserves the coolness of the wine while also capturing the lighter aroma in its shortened bowl.
Champagne flutes are also a classic to have on hand. Their shape actually serves a purpose as well! The flute shape of the wine glass helps preserve the carbonation bubbles longer in the glass. Flutes are perfect for sparkling wine or champagne.
Dessert Wine Glasses
Enhancing your collection with a few stand-out wine shapes can also be a plus. Take, for example, a vintage-shaped glass that is great for holding dessert wines. The options are endless, and you get to decide what you need for your home. If you would like to indulge, it doesn’t hurt to purchase some Burgundy glasses, Chardonnay glasses, and maybe some flutes and dessert glasses for fun!
Glass.com has a selection of wine glasses available for any of your wine glass needs. Let us know in the comments what wine glass you find to be a staple and necessity in your home.