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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’s a lot of choices out there, so we understand your fear. You’re able to choose tall and small glasses, thin and wine glasses, large and small capacity glasses, the list goes on!

Just how vital are the look of the wine glass vs the function and how tall or short the stem is. Does the glass affect the taste of the wine? Read on to discover everything you need to know about the types of wine glasses and how to choose the right type of glass for you.

How does a Wine Glass function?

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

There are three parts to every stemmed wine glass:

  • Base – This is also referred to as 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; this 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’re then able to swirl the wine round in the glass, which further releases the aromas and allows you to smell the wine.

All of the above is applicable for 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.

Each of 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 ‘opening up’ more; therefore, the larger-size 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 shape is designed for bold red wines, such as 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 and brings out the fruit flavours.

Bordeaux / Cabernet / Merlot Red Wine Glasses

Syrah / Shiraz / Sangiovese / Malbec Red Wine Glasses

This glass style is shorter than the above with a smaller bowl, designed for medium to full-bodied red wines; harsh flavours and spice are softened because the wine is designed to hit your palette more gradually 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. A shorter stem and wide bowl helps collect the bolder aromas and directs the intense flavours to the correct part of your tongue. Because of this, a larger surface area is apparent that allows for a more significant amount of 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

You generally find that Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling wines can 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 less capacity than red wine glasses. The smaller bowl makes it easier to detect the concentration of aromas in the wine whilst minimising the amount of oxygen in the glass.

Sauvignon Blanc / Riesling White Wine Glasses

Chardonnay White Wine Glasses

Glasses designed for Chardonnay are predominately the complete opposite to the above Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. Chardonnay glasses have a large bowl, similar to that of the Burgundy / Pinot Noir but slightly smaller and feature a much shorter stem. This larger bowl allows for a big surface area to be created, 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. For a user who likes a tipple of both red and white and different styles of both varieties, a universal all-round glass would be ideal.

All-round / Universal - Red / White Wine Glasses

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