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Which Wine Goes in Which Glass?

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Some of us struggle with dinner table protocols. It can become confusing when there are two to three forks on the left, two spoons on the right, a couple above the place setting, and a bread plate on BOTH sides. Not to mention, there are two wine glasses to the right of your plate. Which do you choose?

Which wine goes in which type of wine glass is a prevalent question. This is particularly true with the plethora of glassware available on the market today. The options from which to choose keep growing — tall and short, thin and wide.

There are three elements to a standard stemmed glass- the bowl, the rim, and the base. Stemless glasses have become increasingly popular, however. These contemporary glasses without a base have found their place with wine lovers around the world.

It’s not rocket science, and a lot depends on personal preference. So today, we review which wine goes in which glass with examples for:

  • Red Wine
  • White Wine
  • Rosé Wine 
  • Sparkling Wine

Which Glass Does Red Wine Go In?

Your red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Bordeaux, and Burgundy, are best enjoyed in large bowls and wide rims. This is because red wines need to aerate to allow them to achieve the optimum drinking experience. More oversized wine glasses and rounder allow more air to enter the glass and let the drinker inhale all those excellent “notes” in the wine. You involve both your senses of smell and taste with a nice big glass.

So, when you are ready to shop for your set of red wine glasses, go big. But, no need to go big on price.

Which Glass Does White Wine Go In?

White wines do not require as much surface area for aeration, so the glass does not need a wide rim and a big bowl. The smaller glass bowls can concentrate the wine’s character and complexity. Also, because white wine is generally served chilled, white wine glasses tend to have long stems. This way, the warmth of your hand doesn’t warm the wine- an element not as crucial with red wine.

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Riedel Extreme White Wine Glasses (4-Pack) with Microfiber Polishing Cloth and Wine Pourer Bundle
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Which Glass Does Rosé Wine Go In?

Rosé wines are gaining in popularity. Believe it or not, wine connoisseurs will tell you the best glass for a rosé depends on whether it is young or more mature. The best way to know this is to ask! Ask the owner or staff person at your wine store or see if you can find the wine buyer in your local market, grocery, Costco, etc. We’ve found they are more than happy to talk to customers about the stock and share their expertise.

Younger rosés are best served in a flared-lipped glass. This is because the first sip hits the tip of the tongue, where your taste buds are most sensitive to sweetness. Older rosés are best in a shorter bowl with a slightly tapered lip. A good glass option here could be a simple stemless glass that could also nicely fill in for other wines in your wine cellar – or most of us, otherwise known as the cupboard.

Riedel Extreme Rose Wine Glass, Set of 2
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This Zwiesel La Rosé glass may just be the best rosé glass that money can buy.​
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 Which Glass Does Sparkling Wine Go In?

Ah! The wonders of sparkling wines. We won’t go through the different varietals in this post, but there are many. Think Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, Moscato and more.

Sparkling wines are fizzy due to their carbon dioxide content. The fizziness is part of their charm and celebratory nature.

Sparkling wines can be sweet or dry (brut) and come in reds, whites, or rosés. The most common glass for sparkling wine is the flute. A champagne flute is a tall, thin glass that allows the wine to keep its bubbles for as long as possible. The more air that gets into the glass, the quicker the bubbles and the aroma will dissipate.

Back in the day – the typical glass for sparkling wine was called a coupe. A coupe is a saucer-like glass with a wide rim, given the size.

For the reason above, a coupe is not necessarily the preferred choice. However, it is still perfectly acceptable and vintage and elegant! Darling, you’ll feel like Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan.

Orrefors Premier 10 oz. Champagne/Flute Stemware, Set of 2
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Riedel Vinum Champagne Glass, Set of 4
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 Universal Wine Glasses

Using the glasses above can help you eke out extra aroma and flavor when you drink wine. If you’re attending a formal function, you’re likely to use two or more of the glasses above. However, if you aren’t keen to maximize how your wine tastes while at home, a universal glass will do just fine.

Universal wine glasses typically have a smaller bowl than red wine glasses, but a larger bowl than white wine glasses. This puts it in a sweet spot to make the most of both types of wine. It’s the perfect compromise that will still allow you to fully enjoy all types of wine. The best part is you can save money and space by not having to buy multiple glasses.

Fusion Air by Wine Enthusiast Go-To Universal Wine Glasses - Set of 4
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Zalto Denkart Universal Wine Glass sits in a white background
Zalto Denk'Art Universal Wine Glass Hand-Blown Crystal
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Please note, this article may contain links to Amazon products. As an Amazon Associate, earns from qualifying purchases.



Amy Hennes

Amy Hennes is outreach manager for Key Media & Research , supporting marketing and communications and working to engage audiences with KMR’s industry-leading events and products. Before joining KMR, she was director of global communications for Guardian Industries, one of the world’s largest glass manufacturers. Find out more about Amy on Linkedin.

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