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Types of Wine Glasses

Whether sweet or dry, white or red, robust or light, wine requires very specific serving procedures in order to reach its full flavor potential. In addition to proper serving temperatures, each type of wine requires a specific style of glass for service. To get the most out of your wine collection, browse through the links below to choose the ideal wine glass for your needs.

Shop All Wine Glasses

Two glasses of champagne on a table with a stem of leaves in the background

Anatomy of a Wine Glass

A wine glass is composed of four parts – the base, the stem, the bowl, and the rim. The base is what gives the glass its stability. From there, the stem elongates the glass while giving the customer something to hold on to without raising the temperature of the wine within. It also prevents fingerprints from getting on the bowl of the glass.

Atop the stem sits the bowl. The bowl is arguably the most important feature of the glass. It should be large enough to comfortably swirl the wine without spilling or splashing it, and it should be tapered to retain and concentrate the aroma of the wine. Full-bodied red wines need room to breathe and to release their aroma; therefore, a larger bowl is needed when serving these wines. Conversely, white wines are typically served in smaller glasses, ones that are shaped like a "U" and narrower than a red wine glass. This gives the wine enough room for the aromas to be released but also helps in maintaining the cooler temperature of the white wines. Finally, flutes are often used to serve sparkling wines, as they help the bubbles last longer.

The uppermost part of the bowl is where the rim lies. A thinner rim is less distracting to drinkers as they sip their wine, and a smooth rim will not impede the wine as it flows from glass to mouth. Thicker, rounder rims are the sign of a cheaply made glass, and while the glasses serve their purpose, they may be more distracting to the drinker.

Wine Glass Types Chart

Below is a chart showing you which type of wine glass to serve with various types of wine.

Types of Wine Glasses Chart

What is a Standard Pour of Wine?

There is no legal measure for a standard pour of wine, however, in the restaurant industry, it falls somewhere around the 5 oz. mark. This allows a sommelier or host to get about 5 glasses out of any 750 mL bottle of wine. Some restaurants will pour as much as 6 oz. and some may offer less, depending on the price of the wine. Some glasses have pour lines printed on them, for a precise pour every time.

For tastings, a standard pour falls around 2 oz., enough to properly smell and taste the wine without initiating a buzz too quickly. Similarly, dessert wines are usually served in 2 oz. pours since they are much sweeter and higher in alcohol than other types of wines.

The size of the glass also plays into how much wine is poured at a time. A smaller glass will make it seem like there's more wine, whereas a big balloon glass will make even a generous pour look light. Sparkling wine is often served in 5-6 oz. servings, like white or red wine, but it might look like a smaller pour because of the shape of the flute. It's important not to overfill a wine glass, as the extra space in the glass is there intentionally, to hold aromas.

Learn how to open a bottle of wine using the proper corkscrew for the job.

Crystal vs. Glass Wine Glasses

Below we go through the differences between crystal and glass, so you can choose the best material for your needs.

What is the Difference Between Glass and Crystal?

All crystal is glass, but not all glass is crystal. In general, the lead content of glass determines whether it is classified as glass or crystal. The presence of lead softens the glass in crystal, making it more easily cut and engraved. Unlike traditional glass, crystal is heavier and diffracts light. In traditional lead glassware, the lead has a tendency to leach out of the crystal. To combat this, today's crystal glassware is typically unleaded.

When deciding between crystal and glass, consider the environment in which the wine glass will be used and your washing situation. You may choose to purchase some of each, so you can use either glass in the correct situation depending on your needs.

Crystal Wine Glasses

Burgundy Wine Glass

Crystal wine glasses enhance the aromas in wine and offer an elegant design, making them perfect for high-end dining rooms and formal events.

Pros and Cons of Crystal Wine Glasses:
  • Can be spun very thin to create a very thin rim
  • Yields a smoother drink flow against the tongue because it eliminates the thicker lip edge
  • More expensive than glass
  • Very fragile; can easily break
  • Porous and must be washed by hand

Glass Wine Glasses

All-Purpose Wine Glass

Glass wine glasses are more durable than their crystal counterparts, making them a better fit for bustling casual restaurants and bars.

Pros and Cons of Glass Wine Glasses:
  • More durable and less likely to break
  • Non-porous and usually dishwasher safe
  • Less expensive
  • Not as delicate as crystal
  • Usually not as well designed as crystal glasses to enhance wine’s flavors

Choosing the ideal type of wine glass ensures optimal taste. Be sure to also master the art of serving and pouring wine correctly to further create a seamless wine experience for your guests.

Red Wine Glasses

Below are the typical characteristics of a red wine glass:

  • Large glass with a full, round bowl and large opening
  • Opening enables you to dip your nose inside to detect the aroma
  • Full bowl provides air contact for the complex aromas and flavors
  • Increases the oxidation rate, which smooths out the complex flavors

Burgundy Wine Glass

  • Type of wine: lighter, more delicate red wines, like Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, red Burgundy, and Dolcetto
  • Large bowl (broader than Bordeaux glass) with narrower top directs wine to the tip of the tongue, allowing the drinker to detect flavor nuances
  • Broad bowl allows aromas of delicate wines to accumulate
  • Thin rim makes it easy to drink from

 

Pinot Noir Glass

  • Type of wine: Pinot Noir and other light red wines
  • Similar to Burgundy glass; easily interchangeable
  • Wide bowl which enables the wine to come into contact with plenty of air, improving flavor and aroma

 

Bordeaux Glass

  • Type of wine: full-bodied, heavier red wines with high tannins, like Bordeaux blends, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec
  • Tallest red wine glass; has a broad bowl, but not as broad as other red wine glasses
  • Height of the glass creates distance between wine and mouth, which enables ethanol to dissipate on the nose, allowing more oxygen to soften tannins (tannins contribute to wine’s bitterness)
  • Directs wine to the back of the mouth, minimizing bitterness and maximizing the flavor spectrum

Cabernet Sauvignon Glass

  • Type of wine: Cabernet Sauvignon and other bold wines
  • Tall glass, though not as tall as a Bordeaux glass
  • Broad bowl; some variations have a very narrow rim
  • Enhances the smell of the wine. Broad bowl enables wine to breathe, and the aroma is subsequently accumulated by the narrow mouth

Standard Red Wine Glasses

  • Type of wine: medium- to full-bodied red wines with or without spicy components, like Zinfandel, Shiraz, Carignan, Merlot, Chianti, and Malbec
  • Due to the small opening, flavors meet the tongue in a continuous flow as opposed to all at once, which softens the spiciness and rich flavors

White Wine Glasses

Below are the typical characteristics of a white wine glass:

  • Bowl is more u-shaped and upright than a red wine glass
  • Slightly smaller bowl than red wine glass
  • The shape enhances and preserves aromas while also maintaining the wine’s cool temperature
White wine glass filled with sauvignon blanc on an elegant table with tulips in the background

Sauvignon Blanc Glass

  • Type of wine: Sauvignon Blanc and other light- to medium-bodied, fruity or floral wines, like white Bordeaux, Fume Blanc, Loire, Vinho Verde, Chenin Blanc, Muscadet, Muscat Blanc, and Pinot Grigio 
  • Tall glass with slender bowl, which captures the nuanced, delicate floral and fruit aromas and guides aroma straight to the nose
  • Sides of the mouth detect acidity the most; this glass causes the tongue to form a U-shape, directing the wine down the front towards the center of the palate, causing a smoother sip

Two montrachet glasses filled with montrachet wine and fruit on a white serving tray

Montrachet Glass

  • Type of wine: white wines with complex notes, such as Montrachet, White Burgundy, Corton-Charlemagne, Meursault
  • Large bowl allows the heavy complexities to interact with sufficient air and open up
  • Large opening enables drinker to smell complex aromas and enables wine to flow from edges of tongue and either side of the palate to taste sour and acidic flavor spectrum

White wine glass filled with chardonnay wine on an elegant table

Chardonnay Wine Glass

  • Type of wine: Chardonnay and other full-bodied wines, like Semillon and Viognier 
  • Larger opening guides wine to the tip and sides of tongue, enabling the palate to detect the sweetness of the wine
  • It’s a balancing act: bowl provides just enough aeration to concentrate the aroma while the larger opening balances out the sweetness and acidity on the palate

Sweet wine glass filled with riesling wine on an elegant table

Riesling Sweet and Standard Sweet Wine Glass

  • Type of wine: Riesling sweet and other sweet varieties, such as Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gruner Veltliner
  • Smaller overall, including a smaller rim, which guides wine towards the center and the back of the mouth to avoid overwhelm from the sweetness 

Dessert Wine Glasses

Below are typical characteristics of a dessert wine glass:

  • Usually smaller due to the high alcohol content of dessert wines
  • Dessert glasses usually also direct wine to the back to the tip and back of the mouth to allow for adequate sweetness detection
Dessert wine glass filled with port in front of an elegant dessert, complete with fresh strawberries

Port Wine Glass

  • Type of wine: Port or other dessert wines
  • Narrow mouth reduces evaporation and concentrates the aromas
  • Tall enough to allow sufficient swirling to release the aromas
  • Designed to lead wine slowly down the center of mouth towards the back to enable just enough sweetness detection

Two sherry wine glasses filled with sherry wine on a bar

Sherry Wine Glass

  • Type of wine: sherry, cordial, and other dessert wines 
  • Small size is ideal for dessert wines, which have a higher alcohol content
  • Directs wine to the back of the mouth so the sweetness doesn’t overwhelm 

Sparkling Wine and Champagne Glasses

Below are typical characteristics of sparkling wine glasses:

  • Upright, narrow bowl to preserve carbonation and flavor

Flute Wine Glass

  • Type of wine: young sparkling wine or champagne, including Cava, Franciacorta, Prosecco, and Asti
  • Short- to medium-length stem with long, narrow, upright bowl
  • Bowl successfully retains the carbonation and captures the flavor 
  • Bead at the base prompts bubbles to gather and quickly rise

 

Two tulip wine glasses filled with sparkling wine in front of a stainless steel wine cooler

Tulip Wine Glass

  • Type of wine: young or mature champagne, such as Cava, Franciacorta, Prosecco, and Asti 
  • Slim base that slightly opens up to a wider bowl then narrows towards opening
  • Bead at base makes bubbles rise, while the wideness allows room for flavor complexities to open up
  • Narrower top prevents excess carbonation from escaping while directing aromas towards the tongue instead of up the nose

Coupe wine glass filled with a fruity drink, garnished with a slice of fresh pineapple

Vintage and Coupe Glass

  • Type of wine: sweet champagne, Cava, Franciacorta, or Prosecco; is also used to serve cocktails
  • Stemmed glass with short, yet broad and shallow bowl
  • Reminiscent of the speakeasy era; originally used during the roaring 20’s to serve bubbly dessert champagne that was made with a heavy dosage of syrup 
  • Bowl enables wine to come in with plenty of air; less popular as a champagne and wine choice today because air exposure quickly dissipates bubbles and aromas 
  • Holds a small amount of liquid; ideal for themed events or cocktails

Rose Wine Glasses

The best rose wine glass depends on whether you are drinking a young or mature rose. Below we go through the characteristics of a flared lip glass or a glass with a slight taper.

Flared lip rose glass

Flared Lip Rose Glass

  • Type of wine: young, crisp rose or young white wine 
  • Long stem ensures that heat from the hand will not warm the wine
  • Flared lip directs the wine first to tip of tongue where taste buds are most sensitive to sweetness. Enhances the sweetness of crisp wine; balances flavor and minimizes any bite

 

Slight taper rose glass

Slight Taper Rose Glass

  • Type of wine: mature, full-bodied rose
  • Short bowl that is rounded at the bottom with a slight taper instead of a flared lip

All-Purpose Wine Glasses

If a single glass type is all that your circumstances permit, an all-purpose wine glass is the way to go. Although the experience may not be the same as when you use the proper glass type for the application, these glasses offer a similar function at a lower cost and increased efficiency.

Two stemmed wine glasses filled with wine on an elegant table

With Stem

  • Bowl shape is in between that of red and white wine glasses, making it acceptable for use with both types of wine

Stemless wine glass filled with white wine on an elegant table with roses in the background

Stemless

  • Same shapes and styles of bowls as traditional stemmed wine glassware
  • Wines may be warmed faster
  • Boasts a contemporary appearance

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