The best wine glass will capture the fullness of the wine’s flavor and aroma and allow your taste buds to appreciate the wine fully. Overall, the wine glass enhances the entire experience of wine drinking, although it is not easy to choose just one wine glass that is the best. What is considered the best wine glass is different depending on a person’s preferences and the type of wine they are drinking. Let this be your guide to choosing the best wine glass for you.
First, it is important to think about your drinking cabinet. What do you reach for the most? Take a moment to think about what wine appears the most frequently in your home. Is it red wine? White wine? Or perhaps you enjoy the bubbles of champagne or the sweetness of a dessert wine.
The Best Red Wine Glass
If you stay within the red wine category, you may want to consider buying a glass that is going to raise your red wine experience. A bold red wine does best in long-stemmed wine glasses like a Bordeaux or a Burgundy glass. These glasses are best for red wine because they have big enough bowls to allow aeration to enhance the bold aroma of red wine, thus enriching the tasting experience of red wine. A Bordeaux glass is a tall glass with a round bowl and a large opening. Similarly, Burgundy wine glasses also feature an even larger bowl, but they narrow at the top to keep the wine concentrated to the tip of your tongue.
The Best White Wine Glass
If you are a white wine enthusiast, you should stick to a slightly shorter and narrower wine glass. The narrower wine glass is better for white wine in order to preserve the lighter aroma. The shortness is so that you can bring your nose closer to the wine in order to smell the subtle aroma. As you can probably tell, the aroma of wine is a very big part of the wine drinking experience. If you find yourself reaching for the white wine more often, you may find it useful to invest in a Chardonnay glass or a Sauvignon Blanc glass. Compared to the largeness of a red wine glass, you can spot the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc glass by their shorter and narrower glass look. A Sauvignon Blanc glass is suitable for most white wines, while the Chardonnay glass is slightly larger to allow for a better experience of full-bodied wines.
If you enjoy chilled white wine you won’t want to pick a stemless wine glass. Stemless wine glasses increase the temperature of the glass and, therefore, the wine. If you enjoy your white wine at a cooler temperature, opt for the stemmed glass.
The Best Champagne Glass
For those who enjoy celebrating the little things in life (we won’t judge you for drinking champagne on a Tuesday), champagne adds a bit of excitement compared to the average wine. This excitement, of course, is because of the bubbles produced by the carbonation in champagne. Specifically, the bubbles are the reason that champagne glasses look distinctly different from most other wine glasses. Champagne “flutes” are tall and skinny. This design reduces the surface area that’s exposed to air, and therefore helps to retain the bubbles. It’s basically the exact opposite from a red wine glass, which maximizes surface area in order to help the wine “breathe.”
Therefore, from a traditional perspective, the best champagne glass is the one that most reduces surface area. On the other hand, champagne glasses have become larger in recent years so that sippers can better enjoy the aromas, similar to the way white wines are experienced. Lastly, champagne is elegant and the best glass may be the one that most complements your style. Feeling extra fancy? Opt for a crystal champagne glass.
The Best Dessert Wine Glass
Dessert wine glasses are much smaller than normal wine glasses. The reasons for this is two-fold. First, dessert wines are much stronger than normal wines. This is because dessert wines are “fortified,” meaning that spirits are added to the wine to increase its alcohol content. This practice dates back to when wine had to travel a long way between the time it was made and the time it reached someone’s glass. Too much air in casks would cause the wine to spoil and turn to vinegar. Winemakers remedied this problem by increasing the alcohol content. Although no longer needed for practical purposes, it still makes for a tasty sip!
Secondly, dessert wines are much sweeter than normal wines. They’re designed to balance well with the sweetness of desserts or be enjoyed by themselves (think: dessert in a glass). Between the strong alcohol content, and the intense sweetness, your taste palette (and nervous system) may overwhelm quickly. The small stature of the glass helps to control portions and promotes small sips. Additionally, the aromas are so sweet and intense that you wouldn’t want to capture them the same way you would use a white wine glass meant for wines with subtle aromas.
If you’re a dedicated drinker of one specific dessert wine, such as sherry or port, it will make sense to invest in a glass specifically designed for these wines. However, if you simply want to sample dessert wines from time to time or impress friends when you host a dinner party, a universal dessert wine glass is perfectly suitable.
The Best All-Around Wine Glass
Maybe you enjoy all of the above- both red wine and white wine. Perhaps you even enjoy a dessert or sparkling wine occasionally. Enjoying a variety of wines does not mean you have to buy a specific wine glass for each wine to have a great experience. If you do not stick to one type of wine, it may be a good idea to purchase an all-purpose wine glass. This type of wine glass will work with any wine of your choosing. Additionally, this is the best wine glass for those looking to save some money, or lacking the space to store many glasses. The all-purpose wine glass usually is in between the size of a Chardonnay glass and a smaller red wine glass. Although not ideal for champagne or dessert wine, it certainly keeps things simple. Use this hybrid glass for all your wines!
The Best Wine Glasses for Different Occasions
While what type of wine you drink the most is a big part of the best wine glass for you, it is also important to consider what you use your wine glasses for the most. Do you use them casually or for fancy gatherings? Do you use them outdoors or indoors?
By asking yourself these questions, you can think about what type of wine glass, beyond the size, works for you.
- Outdoor use: If you are someone who entertains outdoors, using delicate crystal glasses would not be a great idea. Opt for a durable glass wine glass that isn’t too expensive in case one were to break. These wine glasses are also dishwasher-safe, so this makes for easier cleaning after an outdoor gathering. If you are worried about glass breaking with outdoor use, maybe opt for plastic or silicone wine glasses. Plastic is not the first choice, but it is certainly the most durable. It will get the job done with fewer safety concerns.
- Elegant/fancy gatherings: If you host dinner parties or Thanksgiving dinner, you might want to have a more elegant wine glass collection for the occasion. The perfect wine glass for this is made of crystal. The crystal wine glass is very delicate and elegant, with a slightly higher price tag than regular glass. Crystal is more likely to chip or break, but if they are not used frequently, the likelihood of chipping is less. So if you only bring them out for the occasional dinner party, it is worth the investment. Make sure you store your crystal wine glasses with the rim up to avoid chipping and always hand wash!
- Casual/indoor environments: For a casual environment, a stemless wine glass is great because it is dishwasher safe and less likely to break compared to the stems of normal wine glasses. Stemless wine glasses can also be found made out of materials other than glass for increased durability for those that prefer the most durable option. It is important to factor into your decision that stemless glasses typically increase the temperature of the wine. You can avoid this by opting for a double-wall insulated version.