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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.


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Types of Wine Glasses Chart

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

Types of Wine Glasses

Red Wine Glasses

Below are the typical characteristics of a red wine glass:

  • Large glasses with a full, round bowl and large opening that enables you to dip your nose into the glass to detect the aroma
  • The full bowl has sufficient surface area that provides air contact for the complex aromas and flavors
  • Large surface area increases the oxidation rate, smoothing out the complex flavors

Burgundy Wine Glass

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

Pinot Noir Wine 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

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

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

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
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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

Sauvignon Blanc Glass

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

Montrachet Glass

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

Chardonnay Wine Glass

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

Riesling Sweet and Standard Sweet Wine Glass

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
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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

Port Wine Glass

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

Sherry Wine Glass

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
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Sparkling Wine and Champagne Glasses

Below are typical characteristics of sparkling wine glasses:

  • Upright, narrow bowl to preserve carbonation and flavor

Flute Wine Glass

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

Tulip Wine Glass

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

Vintage and Coupe Glass

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
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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
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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.

With Stem

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

Without Stem
  • Same shapes and styles of bowls as traditional stemmed wine glassware
  • Wines may be warmed faster
  • Boasts a contemporary appearance
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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, it is the lead content of glass that is the main determinant in the classification of something as either glass or crystal. The presence of lead softens the glass in crystal, therefore making it more easily cut and engraved. It also increases the weight of the glass and causes the glass to diffract light; traditional glass on the other hand is generally lighter in weight than crystal, and light will not diffract through it. 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.

Crystal

Below are the practicalities and benefits of a crystal wine glass:

  • 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 made by glass material
  • More expensive than glass
  • Very fragile; can easily break
  • Porous and must by washed by hand

Glass

Below are the details of choosing a receptacle made of glass:

  • More durable and less likely to break
  • Non-porous and usually dishwasher safe
  • Less expensive than crystal

When deciding between crystal and glass, take into consideration the environment in which the wine glass will be used and what your washing situation is like. While glass offers a more practical solution for casual, bustling restaurants, crystal is perhaps a more fitting solution for high-end, formal events and restaurants. Or you may choose to purchase some of each, so you can use either glass in the correct situation depending on your needs.

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.

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