According to the Court of Master Sommeliers — the world’s most elite group of veteran wine experts for 50 years -, there are nearly two dozen types of wine glasses available for serving wine today.
This is a lot of space for wine glasses! If you have ever shopped in a home goods shop’s dishware section, it will not surprise you that there is a lot of space for wine glasses. There are many options: tall glasses, shot glasses, tall glasses, and slim glasses. You can even find funny-shaped glasses with curved rims.
What are the differences between wine glasses? And why do they come in different sizes and shapes? What does it really matter what kind of wine glasses you use?
Continue reading to learn more about the different types of wine glasses, their uses, and the various shapes and purposes.
Why are wine glasses shaped differently?
The shapes of wine glasses create optimal tasting and olfactory conditions for specific types.
This makes sense given the variety of white and red wines. The shape of the glass will allow the aromas to escape as you sip. This is essential to fully appreciate the wine’s true nature. The shape of the wine glass will also affect where your sips land on your tongue. Different flavors will be elicited by different wine glass shapes. Some are more direct to your tongue’s tip, while others reach the middle of the roof.
In short, there’s a science to glass shapes – all designed to give you the best-tasting beverage possible.
What are the benefits of matching wine glass with wine type?
You and your guests will enjoy the best tasting experience by matching the wine glasses to the wine types you are serving. This is because each glass for sparkling, red, white, or rose wine highlights the following.
- Correctly aerate wine. Certain wine types — especially bold, tannin-heavy redsBarberaCabernet sauvignon, and other wines — require air exposure before being served. This allows the wine to “breathe,” literally oxygenating certain chemical compounds and revealing their full potential. Although it is better to use a separate decanter for wine aeration, you can also use large, varietal-specific wine glasses as an aerating vessel.
- Nose and bouquet full: A proper red or white glass allows the wine aromas to escape, as we have already mentioned. This sense of smell plays a vital role in tasting. These aromas and bouquets are essential for tasting wine.
- Temperature appropriate: Each wine variety has a preferred serving temperature. It is best to keep white wines chilled, or semi-chilled between 49 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Red wines should be served at room temperature between 62-68 degrees Fahrenheit. The stem shape and type of the stem may influence the temperature. A drinker’s hands can wrap around the glass and cause heat transfer. This can lead to dulled or muddled flavors.
- Attractive aesthetic appeal’s great fun to use beautiful wine glasses. A set of at least two to three wine glasses is a great way to decorate your bar cart or party drinks station. No matter what situation you find yourself in, no matter what wine varietals your friends bring, you will have an attractive and functional set that is ready to go.
- The best sipsWine tasting will be elevated when aroma, temperature, presentation, and aeration are all combined.
Anatomy of All Wine Glasses
Wine glasses have four main design features.
The rim: The rim of a wine glass is the topmost part of the glass. This is the area that touches your lips when you drink. The rim is often called the “mouth” or the “mouth” of wine glasses. The defining quality for wine rims is their thickness. The rim is thinner, which means that wine will be easier to drink and more smooth.
The bowl: The wine glass bowl is the portion that you pour the wine into. The larger the bowl, the easier it will be to swirl the wine before and after sips. You can release nuanced aromas from wine by swirling them. This will give you a deeper taste. Red wine glasses generally have wider rims than white wine glasses.
The stem: Stems are the thin, long part of the glass that drinkers can hold onto without touching the bowl. To preserve the wine’s temperature, hold the stem of glass close to the stem.
The foot: The circular base that allows the dishware to stand straight is called the foot of a wineglass. Most wine glasses have this foot at the end. Some, such as the stemless tumbler do not have this circular foot.
These terms are the best citrus juicer basis for discussing different shapes and sizes of wine glasses. The rim, bowl, and stem all have an impact on how wine swirls and sips, as well temperature regulation and aromas that are emitted while we drink it. These four components are essential to understand the reasons for wine glass shapes and which glass is best to serve wine.
A general overview of the different types of wine glasses
There are many wine glasses available today to display at your next dinner party or just for yourself. Let’s take a look at the top types of wine glasses below. Each has a unique design that helps to extract the best from the drink.
Bordeaux wine glasses are the ideal foundation for profiling wine glassware. Bordeaux glasses are proportionate and taller than other wine glasses on the list. They have a longer stem and a thinner, leaner bowl. The shorter, but still larger, bowl allows the wine to travel straight to your back. This shape is best for red wines that are rich, full-bodied, and mouth-coating. However, they may be too sharp if they cover your entire tongue at once.
Burgundy glasses have similar proportions to Bordeaux glasses, but a larger bowl. Burgundy’s distinctive characteristic is its fuller bowl. It also has a shorter stem. These dimensions allow for delicate, fragrant, and softer red wines to shine. Drinkers can easily swirl their wine with ease thanks to the wide bowl and easy-to-grasp stem.
This allows them access to flavors and aromas that might be hidden in lean glasses. Because the bowl slopes, the wine will hit your tongue first before moving to other areas. This allows for more space to highlight the wine’s subtler flavors.
Cabernet glasses are made to highlight and focus the wine’s aromas. The wide, Burgundy-style bowls slope downward to create a narrow, tightly rim that doesn’t allow for much natural air circulation. A cabernet glass allows wine drinkers to experience concentrated aromas and flavors first.
With a narrow mouth and wide bowl, wine is able to aerate properly. These features combine to create a glassware style that is ideal for red wines with strong, bold tannins. The bowl will allow the wine to cool in the breathable area, while still leaving a distinctive mouth-drying sensation on the tongue.
Pinot Noir Glass
These unique glasses, made in the style of Pinot noir, are among the most unusual on this list. It has a large, generous bowl and flared lips. This means that the rim is slightly curved and not straight. This style of wine glass is often recognizable by its flared rims, which make it one of your most distinctive.
The large bowl allows for smoother reds to gain oxygen to enhance their subtle flavors. Flared lips magnify the soft aromas and transport the wine to your middle.
Red zinfandel wines have a light-bodied and highly acidic variety. This creates a rich, bright, and fragrant flavor profile. Zinfandel wines require a glass that can nurture these aromas while also moderate its alcohol content — Zinfandel can be as high as 17% ABV!
Zinfandel doesn’t require aeration, unlike other red wines. This means that glassware with smaller bowls and a thinner rim is ideal for this red wine. Zinfandel glassware should be slightly shorter than other red wines, with a narrow bowl and a rim that is average in size.
Shiraz glasses are a cousin to the cabernet. Shiraz glasses are a cousin to the cabernet. They have a broad, oxygen-trapping bowl with a narrow, tapered rim that funnels the beverage into the middle of the mouth. A shiraz glass brings out the concentrated fruit flavors and balances the bitter tannins inherent to the varietal that shares its name. These features combine to create a richer, more balanced drinking experience for this dense, full-bodied red wine.
Port wine is a dessert wine that contains additional alcohol. Usually, it comes in the form of fortified spirits. Port wine gets its name from Portugal, it’s home country. This sweet drink is a popular post-dinner aperitif. Port wine glasses are shorter than other glassware due to their heavy dessert-like taste and fortification. Port is served in three ounces. This is in contrast to red and white wines which can be five to six ounces. Port glassware is a miniature version of the Bordeaux glass. It has a smaller bowl and a smaller rim.
The smallest type of wine glassware guide is the Sherry glass. The Sherry glasses are made for Spanish fortified wines with the same name. They have a small, even bowl, a long stem, and a small mouth. The stems of these glasses are almost the same length as the body. This allows drinkers to keep their hands away from the glass as they sip, ensuring optimal temperatures for sweet dessert wines within.
Chardonnay glassware is often called the “universal white wine glass”. The all-purpose design is similar to that of the pinot noir glass. It has a large bowl and a more concentrated rim. Chardonnay glasses don’t have flared lips. They still maintain the classic U-shaped design and a medium-length stem. Chardonnay glasses will be smaller overall.
Chardonnay glassware is well-known for creating even, flavorful sips balancing earthy and fruity notes on the sides and tip of your tongue. This is a great place to start building your stemware collection, especially for dry white wines.
Riesling wine receives accolades for its acidic, perfumed qualities, presenting a particularly aromatic white wine. The glass that is named after it was created to highlight these characteristics. The riesling glassware will be slimmer than chardonnay glassware.
A lean bowl reduces oxygen bubbles in the contents. Aeration can reduce the riesling’s natural floral bouquet. The best-designed riesling glassware pushes the sips to your back, where they won’t overwhelm your taste buds with fruity sweetness.
Sauvignon Blanc Glass
Sauvignon blanc glasses are tall and narrow, with a slightly leaner bowl concentrating a white wine’s fruity flavors. The bowl is proportionate to the top of its rim. This slants gently inward to channel fruit aromas and flavors to the nose.
This glass was originally designed to enhance the bright lime, nectarine, and passion fruit flavors in its sauvignon blanc wine. It also preserves many varieties’ natural acidity. The glass’s shape allows the wine to flow directly to the front and top, keeping acidity sharp and upbeat, and not muddled in the rear.
Flared and unflared rose glasses are available in two styles. Flared lips curve along the rim while unflared retains its classic U-shaped design. Flared and unflared rose glasses have short, sturdy bowls with a long stem that shields contents from the natural warmth of your hands.
When drinking unoaked or younger wines, a flared rose glass is the best choice. The sweetness of young wines tends to be less developed. Flared edges allow the wine to reach the most sensitive areas of the tongue. This increases the ability to deliver complex flavors.
Saucers, also known as vintage or coupe glass, are the oldest type of glassware that is still in production today. A saucer is a great way to remember the Roaring ’20s when this beverage vessel first became popular. A shallow circular bowl leads to a generously sized, flat rim that keeps contents well aerated.
Many people chastise saucer-style glassware and coupes for their style but not the substance. The wide rims of these glasses and their shallow bowls can cause beverages to lose natural bubbles and bouquets due to over-aeration.
Flutes are the ideal glassware for bubbly. Flutes are slim and narrow glasses that hold liquids in a bowl. They are taller than traditional U-shaped glasses, with a longer stem. The upright build retains carbonation better than any other glassware and is why flutes are the best choice for drinking fizzy champagne.
It works like a charm to transfer delicate flavors right to your tongue with its thin flute. Even though it can enhance young bubbly bottles, it can also muffle older wines.
The tall stem and slim body of tulip glasses are similar to flutes. The tulip glasses are a bit different from flutes, which are upright and linear. They have a bulged bowl, which narrows again before reaching its rim. This creates the tulip profile that is so popular with the flower.
The glass’s curvature encourages carbonation to rise continuously due to its shape. The wider bowl allows for more oxygen and extracts additional nuanced flavors from the contents. The best champagne bottles with tulip-shaped glasses are older or more mature vintage champagne bottles.
Stemless glasses, as the name implies, remove the long-handled stems of traditional wine glasses. Instead, the drinker holds their glassware around the bowl. This is a great choice for red, white, and rose wine. However, it’s not the best for sparkling.
Stemless glasses are popular because of their modern appearance. This type of wine glass is easier to clean and less likely to tip over or spill. Cons to stemless glasses can be a result of its design. Drinkers transfer heat steadily every time they hold their glass, which could alter the taste of their drink.
Decanters are large, pouring glasses that are used to aerate wine. You would traditionally open a bottle and then immediately pour it into the decanter. The large, open bowl of the decanter allows steady oxygen flow to open up tannin-heavy wines and enrich their final flavors.
Perfect for: Cabernet sauvignon and Chianti, Chianti, Syrah, Petite Syrah. Barolo, Nebbiolo.
Some varietals do not require a decanter. Some white and red wine types can be affected by a secondary glass. You should think of lighter-bodied reds such as Beaujolais and pinot noir, red Dolcetto, red zinfandel, and red Burgundy. These wines do not require decanting.
Which Wine Glass is Best for What Type of Wine?
When it comes to wine glass shapes and uses, red wine is best served in larger glasses with wide bowls and tapered rims. White wines and roses do well in U-shaped glasses that have proportionately slim bowls.
Instead of worrying about having the right type of glass for every wine variety, stocking different shapes of glasses for each one is a better option. You don’t have to worry if you don’t like one of the four varieties.
- Red wine glasses: Glassware should have taller stems, larger bowls, and a slight to medium inward taper at its rim. This inward slant helps red wine’s stronger tannins not attack your nose with every sip.
- White and rose wine glasses: Glassware should be smaller, lighter, upright, and traditional U-shaped to prevent any delicate flavors from being dullened by too much aeration.
- Wine glasses for sparkling wine: For bubbly-ready special events, choose tall, straight stemware such as flutes or tulips.
Continue reading to learn the perfect wine glass pairings for your favorite wines. Then, invite that special person over.
There are hundreds of red wine grape varietals cultivated around the world. This figure does not include specialty blends that winemakers create to combine complementary flavors, aromas, and textures.
It can be difficult to match specific red wine grapes with the right glass, given the number of available varieties. Explore the specific wine glassware listed below to see how you should serve your favorite type of red wine.
The Cabernet glass’s large bowl and narrow rim make it the perfect portal for bold, big red wines to shine.
This design allows wine’s natural aromas to accumulate at the top. When someone takes a sip from their glassware, they receive an intense burst in primary and secondary aromas. This is also true if the wine has been properly aerated in the large vessel. This allows rich, full-bodied wines with high levels of tannin to be complex and lush without being too heavy.
Burgundy glasses are best for wines with delicate flavors or smoother red wines. The generous bowl and narrow tapered lip of the glassware enhance every flavor. Burgundy’s thin lips preserve the velvety mouthfeels that are innate to a few red wine varietals.
Many wine glasses go well with the varietal they are named. This is no accident. Winemakers have improved their understanding of the chemical compositions of wine grape varietals over the years and designed glasses that optimize these grapes.
Bordeaux glassware is not an exception. Bordeaux, France is home to dozens of white and red wine varieties. It has been a place where wine drinking has become an art form. Bordeaux wine glasses reflect this rich history. They have the highest glass on the list with a large bowl and a narrow lip that are perfect for medium- and full-bodied reds.
Burgundy glasses look very similar to Pinot noir glasses. Indeed, the two are almost interchangeable when it comes to serving a handful of lighter-bodied red wines, including pinot noir itself.
The pinot noir wine glasses are a great choice for introducing red wines to novice drinkers. A glass that enhances the lightness and silkiness can change their expectations, just like pinot noir glassware.
Shiraz glassware is similar to cabernet glasses. These wine glasses are meant to balance and soften the tannin-rich wines they share their names. Shiraz wine glasses shapes capture oxygen in their large bowl and then gently pull flavors forward with each sip through their narrower opening.
Bright, zippy, and tart, red zinfandel is a unique varietal requiring an equally unique glass shape. The medium-sized glass is equally proportioned and provides a rich, vibrant flavor. This is exactly what you want in high-quality red zinfandel. This type of wine glass can be used immediately after opening a new bottle. No decanting is required.
Port is best served in three-ounce portions. Port glasses are a great choice. They have a narrow, tight mouth and thick lips that encourage you to enjoy the beverage.
The right glasses for white wine and rose
As red wines are best matched with specific glasses, match white wines and roses with the stemware.
Chardonnay glasses are perfect for white wines with full-bodied flavors. They have a classic U-shaped bowl, tapered lips, and tapered edges. The shape allows you to easily savor every sweetness, acidic, and mineral note in white wines.
The perfect wines to go with chardonnay glassesPinot grigio, Semillon, and Oaked Chardonnay.
The Riesling wine glassware is small and slim. They have a narrower edge that keeps the wine from your tongue. This is because sweet wines can be absorbed by them. This glass is more delicate when you are looking for bright, fruity, and refreshingly acidic wines such as the following.
The perfect wines for riesling glassesware: Riesling, white zinfandel, Gewurztraminer, Chenin blanc, Gruner Veltliner, Albarino
Sauvignon blanc continues to be one of the most popular white wine varietals in the world. The name-brand glass is slightly larger than other white wine glasses. It has a slim bowl and lean lips that concentrate all the fruit, minerals, and earthy notes of sauvignon blanc. This glass is a great choice for delicate or more complex white wines. Its shape was specifically designed to give a full taste to every drink.
Ideal wines for sauvignon blanc glasses:Sauvignon blanc, Chenin blanc and Chablis, White Bordeaux, pinot noir
Rose-shaped glasses, with their delicately flared lips, add texture and tang when drinking a range of red, white, or rose wine. These versatile glasses can be used with unoaked wines that are younger to enjoy their bright sweetness.
Rose-shaped glasses with ideal wines: Roses, young pinot grigio and Moscato d’Asti, Gewurztraminer
Different types of glasses for sparkling wine
Sparkling wine needs a glass that preserves and encourages its natural fizziness. There is no better glassware for this than flutes or tulips, but don’t forget the elegant coupe.
Flute glassware instantly elevates any occasion. Flute glasses can be used to preserve sparkling wines’ carbonation, whether you are hosting a brunch with friends or a graduation party. Keeping your beverage’s natural bubbles will ensure that its flavors stay fresh and vibrant. Flat bubbly is not fun, after all.
Flute-friendly wines: Sparkling white wine, Prosecco, Cava, and Young Non-Vintage Champagne
Due to their close resemblance with the tulip flower buds, tulip glasses are often more round than flutes. This elegant and unique design is ideal for sparkling champagnes and older champagnes.
The small, round bulge of the tulip glasses traps enough oxygen to allow richer sparkling wines to show their full potential. The slender lips allow drinkers to take in wine’s subtleties and complexity with a single swig.
The perfect wines to use with tulip glasses: Vintage champagne (Premier Cru & Grand Cru), Franciacorta, and Asti (sparkling Italian wine made in Piedmont).
For events where vintage champagne and sparkling wines are the main drink options, the popularity of coupes has fallen a lot. They allow too much oxygen to mix in with the contents. This can reduce sparkling wine’s crisp aromas as well as its bubbles. Sparkling wine can easily fall apart as a result.
This glassware is great for themed parties because of its history and aesthetics. What’s more, coupe/saucer-style wine glasses can be a fitting design for sparkling-wine based as well as classic cocktails. They have a wide base that harmonizes all the flavors and allows for more mouthfuls.