Let’s be honest: Unless you’re a real wine geek, you’ve probably never given a second thought to a wine glass. A glass is a glass is a glass, right?
Well, turns out – yes and no. On one hand, if you’re just looking for a reciprocal to hold your wine while you’re casually having a sundowner on a chilled evening out, then it doesn’t really matter.
But if you’re looking to really appreciate the various aromas and flavour profiles in your glass (and the fact that you’re reading this blog makes us think you are), then you’d be surprised by how much your wine glass matters. In fact, it matters so much that some glass manufacturers have crafted entire ranges dedicated to enhancing the characteristics of different varieties.
While there are hundreds of styles of wine glasses designed for different purposes and types of wine, here are a few guidelines to help you choose:
White Wine Glasses
A general rule of thumb is to select smaller wine glasses for white wine and larger glasses for red wine. Why? Smaller glasses help preserve the more delicate, floral aromas, and the narrower glass helps channel these subtler aromas toward your nose as less of the wine’s surface area is exposed to air.
Another important fact is that the smaller bowl helps maintain the white wines’ cooler temperature, allowing it to express more acidity which keeps that ‘fresh’ factor most of us enjoy in white wine.
Generally, fruitier wines do well in smaller glasses, while more full-bodied white wines like a wooded Chardonnay work better in slightly larger glasses.
Red Wine Glasses
Always choose a glass with a wide bowl for your red, to best allow for the bolder aromas and flavours to emerge. Typically, red wine has something white wine doesn’t have – tannin. And so your choice of red wine glass has a lot to do with mitigating the bitterness of tannin by providing a larger surface area for the wine to aerate.
The wider wine glass also encourages more aromas to waft up to your nose. A good rule of thumb is to match the size of your red wine glass to the ‘size’ of the wine – meaning, a bigger, bolder red wine such as a Bordeaux blend is given more room to breathe and express its aromas.
Sparkling Wine Glasses
When it comes to sparkling wine glasses, there is some contention among wine experts. Some believe that a standard white wine glass is better, as it provides more surface area for the bubbles to aerate, encouraging the aromas to come through.
However, there is something extra special about a celebratory flute of bubbles, and this glass has become iconic for a good reason. As the bubbles are made of carbon dioxide, the tall, narrow fluted bowl helps minimise the loss of carbonation, best preserving all those beautiful bubbles.