Have you ever wondered why wine glasses come in so many different shapes? Numerous tests and experiments have shown that the shape of the glass impacts the taste of the wine by concentrating aroma and intensifying varietal characteristics.

Glassware companies often go beyond aesthetics with promises that the glass design can alter the taste of the wine. They claim that by pouring a bottle of, for example, merlot into different glasses, the taste of the wine will vary.

Every wine glass has three different parts: the base, which keeps the glass standing, the stem, which is the part that you hold, and the bowl, which is the part that holds the wine. The design of each may not only define what you see, but also what you taste!


Red Wine Glasses

Red wine glasses have rounder, wider bowls, which are intended to increase the rate of oxidation. In return, this allows the complex flavours of red wines to be smoothed.

Some examples of red wine glasses include standard glasses, which are ideal for medium to full-bodied reds, Bordeaux glasses, which work well for full-bodied red wines, and Burgundy glasses, which have larger bowls and are suitable for wines with delicate aromas, such as Pinot Noir.


White Wine Glasses

Glasses intended for white wine vary in shape and size, from the wide and shallow models used for Chardonnay to tapered champagne flutes. Some wines, such as Chardonnays, are best served slightly oxidized, which means they work well in wide-mouthed glasses with a larger bowl.

Glasses with a thinner and narrow bowl are generally suitable for wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. White wine glasses are also a good choice if you are a rose wine drinker because the design brings out the wine's fruity flavours.


Sparkling Wine Glasses

Sparkling wines are generally served in glasses called flutes, which have a slender, tall, and taper-free design. The shape of the glass keeps the bubbles on the tip of your tongue, so you can enjoy the aroma from the first sip.

Narrow style glasses are suitable for serving champagne, Prosecco, and other types of sparkling wines.


Bottom Line

You can easily spot the differences between various types of glasses by trying the same wine from multiple models. Choosing the right wine glass is important for enjoying a particular wine type to the fullest, but keep in mind that glasses cannot transform a bad wine into a good one.

As for drinking wine from a stemless glass? That question is worthy of an entirely separate article.

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