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Not only is there an art and science to producing and understanding wine, but there is also an art and science to understanding how to consume your wine. Good wine is something to be enjoyed and appreciated.

One of the best ways to do that is by selecting the right glass for the right wine. So, does a wine glass affect taste? Any wine connoisseur would answer that question with a resounding “yes!” But, will you immediately become a wine aficionado by having seven different wine glasses in your cupboard? This time the answer is a resounding “no.”

However, if you are on a journey to learn about and appreciate wine, understanding how a wine glass affects its taste is a great place to start. And you will wow your friends by dropping a few of these factoids at your next dinner party.

Wine Glass Basics

Before we begin, it’s essential to know that there are three main parts of a wine glass:

  1. The Bowl
  2. The Stem
  3. The Base (also referred to as the foot)

The bowl will be the primary component for how the glass affects taste. Still, you’ll learn the foot and stem play roles as well, especially in terms of affecting the temperature of the wine.

zinfandel-red-wine-glassRed Wines

Red wines are most commonly served in glasses that have a large bowl and wide rim. They can be stem or stemless, but the key here is aeration, or the ability to get oxygen into the glass.

Breathing Red Wine

Red wines like to “breathe.” So once the bottle is open, it is often best to let the wine sit after pouring a glass. An even better option is to use a decanter (a reason you rarely see a waiter decanting white wine at fine dining establishments.)

Additionally, a wine glass with sloped sides can affect the taste of the wine because it directs the wine to a specific part of the taste palate. The science of taste and smell comes into full play here.

Different areas of the palate experience different tastes, well, differently. And in a particular order. The more you experience wine, the more you’ll begin to detect the subtleties.

Red Wine Tasting Tips:

Try to experience the complexity of the wine aromas through your sense of smell. Really get your nose into the glass and breathe in as you sip.

It’s important to note that even among red wine varietals, the glass will affect the taste. The above is a general recommendation, but you may want to explore more glass options as you start tasting different reds.

Here are three red wine glasses that you should consider (the name of the glass is not specific to the type of wine. You will see if it can be used for several reds):

The Bordeaux Glass

This tall, wide glass shape is excellent for bold, full-bodied wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, some red blends, and, of course, most Bordeaux. Do your research to determine if the wine you’re purchasing and ultimately drinking is full or more medium-bodied.

This timeless glass  made in Germany allows for the ultimate wine tasting experience with its generous 26 oz bowl and fine edges.

schott-zwiesel-bordeaux-glass
Schott Zwiesel Tritan Crystal Glass, Red Wine Glass, 26-Ounce, Set of 6
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The Burgundy Glass

The Burgundy glass is broader than the Bordeaux glass. Its wide bowl accumulates delicate aromas, such as those from Pinot Noir.

Austria-based Riedel creates well-crafted wine glasses that combine art and science. This glass can “offset the acidity of the wine by directing it right to the zone on the tongue that registers sweetness.” As you begin to experiment with wine and wine glasses, you’ll start to pay closer attention to this component of glass.

Riedel Burgundy glass against a white background
Riedel Vinum Burgundy/Pinot Glasses, Set of 4
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Standard or “Universal” Red Wine Glasses

These are great for medium- to full-bodied reds. If you want to go with a big bowl, try this magnum glass – that bills itself as the largest available. The glass is ideal for swirling and it’s super fun also to hold.

delbrenna-universal-wine-glasses
Riedel Ouverture Magnum Glass -Set of 2
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White winewhite-wine-glass (3)

In general terms, a glass for white wine tends to be straighter and more narrow than red. But “tend” is the operative word as white wine glasses can have even more variation in style than red.

For example:

  • Complex Chardonnays are best served in something wide and shallow.
  • Sparkling wines are served best in tall and tapered glasses.
  • Lighter, crisper wines such as a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc are best served in a glass with a smaller opening for less oxidation.

As you research glasses, you will find that the Chardonnay works well in a red wine glass because of the larger bowl. In addition, Chardonnays are very aromatic and like to be swirled and aerated.

Chilled White Wine Tip:

If you’re reading this on a steamy summer day – open up that Pinot Grigio. But hopefully, you planned ahead. The bottle should be refrigerated for at least an hour and a half before pouring chilled wine. Be sure to use a tall-stemmed glass, so the heat of your hand does not warm up the wine.

White Wine Glasses

We have selected a few great white wine glasses that can affect and possibly improve the taste of your wine. With its tall stem, handcrafted quality, and elegant design, this Elixir glass is a great glass to add to your collection.

4 Elixir white wine glasses lined up with a tall, rectangular box
White Wine Glasses Set of 4 - Hand Blown Crystal Wine Glasses
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The outstanding feature of this Libbey glass is the bowl – it gives you a visual cue for the perfect pour. Stylish, functional, and well-made, the glass has it all going on.

Libbey White Wine Glass against a white background and white wine in the glass
Libbey Signature Greenwich White Wine Glasses, Set of 4
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Finally, if you tend to deviate from traditional, take a look at this sleek, very modern, very stunning white wine glass from Schott. This well-known glass manufacturer takes care to create a glass that will work well with various white wines.

schott-zwiesel-white-wine-glass
Schott Zwiesel Tritan Crystal Glass, White Wine Glass, Set of 6
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We hope you’ve learned a bit about how a wine glass will affect the tasting different wine. Now, put your knowledge to the test by selecting the perfect wine glass the next time you crack open a bottle.

Cheers!

Please note, this article may contain links to Amazon products. As an Amazon Associate, Glass.com earns from qualifying purchases.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.

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