Whether sweet or dry, white or red, robust or light, wine requires very specific serving procedures in order to reach its full flavour potential. In addition to proper serving temperatures, each type of wine requires a specific style of glass for service. Understanding the different types of wine glasses and what makes them ideal for one type of wine over another is essential to getting the most out of your wine collection. Τry using the correct glass and see how it affects your enjoyment of the wine. You might be surprised!

Wine glasses in general, have a stem because our hands need to have some distance from the content of the glass. Under no circumstance should we hold the bowl of the wine glass because the heat from our hands raises the temperature of the wine. The shape of the bowl of the wine glass should be like a tulip (in “U” shape), broad in the bottom and narrow above. This shape helps with the accumulation of aromas close to our noses and allows the necessary shake of the glass without any accidents.

Red wine glasses

Large “Bordeaux” Glasses are the classic red wine glasses. These types of glasses are bigger in size, with a large bowl so that the wine comes in contact with more air. Red wines generally need to breathe, so a fuller, rounder bowl with a wide opening suits them best. The larger surface of the bowl lets ethanol evaporate. The glass becomes slightly narrower on the top, in order to trap the aromas of the wine. Due to the shape of the glass, the drinker will experience tasting the wine first on the tip of the tongue, then throughout the mouth. Some of these glasses have a shorter stem that will keep the wine glass from being at risk of toppling over; these stems are still long enough to permit easy swirling of the wine to incorporate air and enjoy the best possible taste and smell.

This glass shape is best with bolder red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, or Bordeaux Blends. Shiraz glass is similar to this type of wine glasses, although it is taller. A “Burgundy” glass, on the other hand, has the biggest bowl to pick up on aromas of more delicate red wines such as Pinot Noir. This style of glass directs wine to the tip of the tongue.

White wine glasses

For the most part, white wines do not need as large a glass as reds to release their aromas and flavour. The bowl will be more U-shaped and upright than that of a red wine glass, allowing the aromas to be released. Glasses with a smaller bowl also help the wine to retain a cooler temperature. Youthful whites benefit from a glass with slightly larger opening, directing the wine to the tip and sides of the tongue. More mature whites are often served in glasses that are straighter and taller to dispense the wine to the back and sides of the tongue, allowing you to taste the bolder, buttery and oaky flavours.

A great Chardonnay glass will be similar in shape to the Pinot Noir glass, though smaller. On the other hand, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio glasses usually have a long stem and a narrow bowl that converges slightly. The tall, slim design of these glasses minimises the amount of oxygen in the glass, helping the wine to remain fresh.

Rosé wine glasses

Rosés can be served in white wine glasses because the two are produced similarly. However, there are glasses made specifically for rosés, which have fruity, slightly sweeter flavour characteristics. These glasses have shorter bowls that are slightly tapered and sometimes have a flared rim. The rim affects the way you sip, while the flair helps direct the wine directly to the tip of the tongue.

Sparkling wine and Champagne glasses

Sparkling, or champagne glasses are much narrower than other white wine glasses and perfectly upright. This shape helps the glass retain the carbonation of the wine and allows the feeling on the tongue when you drink it. These narrow, tall glasses, ideal for Champagne, Prosecco and Cava are called flutes. They are ideal glasses to capture the carbon dioxide in sparkling wines and keeping them bubbling.

You will enjoy the taste and the aroma of the wine when you take your first sip, thanks to the shape of the glass and the small opening, as the drink will hit the tip of your tongue immediately. The shape of the glass also allows the aromas of the wine to flow upward, making it easier to smell and enjoy. A wide base is important as it ensures that your tall glass does not accidentally tip over.

Dessert wine glasses

Designed for sweeter and dessert wines, these glasses are smaller and have a much smaller rim than other wine glasses. This makes them ideal for directing the wine to the back of the mouth and ensures that the sweetness of the wine is not overwhelming, while the taste and feel of the wine can still be enjoyed.

In addition, swirling the wine will emphasise the acid content, which will also help combat the extreme sweetness found in some dessert wines. Since they often have higher alcohol content than other wines, you will enjoy a smaller serving and the petite size of these glasses makes them perfect for an after-dinner drink. Thanks to the taper on their rim, they are easy to swirl and will keep a great balance between the air and the wine.

Universal style glasses

There are multiple kinds of glasses, possibly for every variety of wine. Ultimately, this is all down to your personal preference. Everyone’s palette is different, and the benefits of certain wine glasses vary from person to person. There is no reason to think you will ever be judged by your choice of glass, and you certainly don’t have to be a professional sommelier to choose the right glass for your taste. If you’ll ever have to choose a universal style, we recommend a thin glass with a large bowl that narrows at the top, ideally holding about 13 oz. of wine.