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Beginners guide to different types of Wine glasses

Selecting a wine glass that's right for you can be confusing and daunting; admittedly, there are a lot of choices out there, so we understand your fear. You can choose tall and small glasses, thin and wine glasses, large and small capacity glasses; the list goes on!

How vital is the wine glass's look compared to its function, and how tall or short is the stem? Does the glass affect the wine's taste? Read on to discover everything you need to know about the types of wine glasses and how to choose the right kind for you.

How does a Wine Glass function?

How does a Wine Glass function?From a starting point, there are two types of wine glasses: stemmed and stemless.

There are three parts to every stemmed wine glass:

  • Base - This is also called the foot; this part is required to keep the wine glass standing and stable.
  • Stem - This is the functional part that the user holds (very important!); it keeps the base and the bowl together.
  • Bowl - This part is the most important; it holds the wine. We recommend filling the glass (red, white, rose, and all of the above) to the widest point of the bowl. This maximises the wine's contact with the air, as you need space above the wine (to the top of the glass) to collect the aromas.

Aromas are collected in this 'space', and you can swirl the wine around in the glass, releasing the aromas and allowing you to smell the wine.

All of the above applies to stemmed glasses, whereas stemless glasses feature no base or stem and tend to have a bowl with a flat 'bottom' to sit on the table.

The above parts will vary from glass to glass, but the bowl's shape, size, and style are the most important. ‚Äč

Different types of Red Wine Glasses

Red wine glasses are generally more oversized in height and more significant in bowl size than white wine glasses; this allows the wine to come into contact with more oxygen. Red wine tends to require more 'opening up'; therefore, the larger bowl allows the wine to breathe a lot more as the aroma and flavours are released.

Most glassware manufacturers offer grape and regional-specific wine glasses designed especially for that particular style of wine. This is great if your preferred choice is a specific style or grape type, but not so good if you don't have a particular kind of wine you generally opt for. In this instance, an 'all-round' or 'universal' wine glass would be ideal, as these types of glass shapes work well for various styles of wine.

Bordeaux/Cabernet/Merlot Red Wine Glasses

This glass style is the tallest, and the bowl is designed for bold red wines like Bordeaux, Cabernet and Merlot. A broad base and medium/large stem hold a large bowl that tapers/closes at the opening.

The design allows a more significant amount of oxygen to contact the wine; ethanol evaporates. The wider opening makes the wine taste smoother, bringing out fruit flavours.

Bordeaux / Cabernet / Merlot Red Wine Glasses

Syrah/Shiraz/Sangiovese/Malbec Red Wine Glasses

This glass style is shorter than the above and has a smaller bowl. It is designed for medium-to-full-bodied red wines. Harsh flavours and spices are softened because the wine is intended to gradually hit your palate from the smaller opening. The narrower bowl tends to taper slightly more, which helps to trap the aroma.

Syrah / Shiraz / Sangiovese / Malbec Red Wine Glasses

Burgundy/Pinot Noir Red Wine Glasses

The widest and shortest of the most commonly used red wine glasses is designed for Burgundy and Pinot Noir. Its shorter stem and wide bowl help collect the bolder aromas and direct the intense flavours to the correct part of your tongue. Because of this, a larger surface area is apparent, allowing more oxygen to contact the wine.

Burgundy / Pinot Noir Red Wine Glasses

Different types of White Wine Glasses

White wine glasses are generally smaller in height and bowl size when compared with red wine glasses; this allows the wine to be in closer contact with your nose as the aromas are much lighter.

Sauvignon Blanc/Riesling White Wine Glasses

Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling wines can generally be served in the same style and shape glass. The mid > long stem and the narrow bowl will taper in slightly; the bowl is usually thinner and has less capacity than red wine glasses. The smaller bowl makes it easier to detect the concentration of aromas in the wine while minimising the amount of oxygen in the glass.

Sauvignon Blanc / Riesling White Wine Glasses

Chardonnay White Wine Glasses

Glasses designed for Chardonnay are the complete opposite of Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. Chardonnay glasses have a large bowl, similar to the Burgundy/Pinot Noir, but slightly smaller and feature a much shorter stem. This larger bowl creates a big surface area, ideal for full-bodied white wines such as oak-aged Chardonnay.

Chardonnay White Wine Glasses

All-round/Universal Wine Glasses 

These are an excellent idea for someone looking to save space in their kitchen cupboards and don't require all the varying shapes. A universal all-round glass would be ideal for a user who likes a tipple of both red and white and different styles of both varieties.

All-round / Universal - Red / White Wine Glasses

Click here for more information and to view our extensive range of wine glasses.