How Many Wine Glasses Do You Really Need? Collector's Guide

How Many Wine Glasses Do You Really Need? Collector's Guide

Getting the first set of wine glasses is probably the most mind-boggling of all your attempts to join the wine drinking world. With all the wines and the wine glasses that these wines are supposed to be served in, you never know what to get for yourself.

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Collector’s Guide to Wine Glasses

Here are a few tips to guide you on how to get your first wine glass in your soon-growing collection. 

Choosing Your First Wine Glass

Your first set of glass, at least six, should be for your preferred wine. If you are into red wines, your best bet would be a Bordeaux or Burgundy glass which is large and basic enough for your red wines. 

You can also narrow down your selection according to your preferred body. If you prefer full-bodied, bolder wines like the Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz or New World wines like Malbec and Sangiovese, choose a Bordeaux glass. It is a good all-around glass and is sturdy enough for everyday use. 

For more delicate wines like Pinot Noir and medium-bodied Australian Shiraz, a Burgundy glass with its large bowl and narrow opening is a good choice so that the wine is directed to the front of the tongue where sweetness is most perceived. 

In case you prefer white wines, you’re good to choose a Bordeaux White that will cater to most white glasses.

For full-bodied chardonnay, choose a classic Burgundy White wine glass to enhance the features of the wine. For light-bodied wines like Sauvignon Blanc, choose a glass that best displays the aromatics with a slightly tapered rim.

For sparkling wines like champagne, cava, and prosecco, choose a classic design flute or a small white wine glass like a standard white wine glass. The larger bowl and slightly tapered rim most displays the character of the sparkling wine. The wine may lose its carbonation faster but the white wine actually tastes better when allowed to breathe. 

You might also be tempted to start your collection with a crystal wine glass. However, unless your choice is a lead-free crystal stemware, you are better off choosing a standard glass stemware. Even if it is lead-free, the added expense of these glasses coupled with a higher chance of breakage and chipping is one thing to consider. There is really no evidence that a crystal stemware makes wine better. Other than giving it a more enticing appearance, that is, due to the high refractive index of crystal stemware. Your best option would still be a glass stemware. Choose one that is thin enough to mimic the crystal stemware, without spending more money. 

The Practical Guide to Buying Wine Glass

Unless you are a wine connoisseur with a basement cellar where you store all your wines and wine glasses, then you can afford to buy a wine glass for each grape-varietal wine in your cellar. But the question is, how often do you use it?

The next question you ask yourself, how many of your regular guests love this particular wine? With the thousands of wines in the market, you’ll probably need a butler to constantly remind you which glass you should use for this particular wine.

A more practical take when buying wine glasses is to buy two sets (at least 6 per set) of your most preferred wine glass. A standard red wine glass, preferably a Bordeaux or Burgundy, is a practical choice that covers most of the qualities of the red wine - aroma and flavor. It should be large enough to serve a generous portion (6 ounces) while leaving an equally generous surface area for allowing the air to breathe and to swirl the wine. It should have a sturdy stem and a wide foot to prevent the wine glass from toppling over. 

A Few Reminders

Stay away from stemless wine glasses. They may be practical in terms of handling and storage but it has its unredeemable qualities such as inadvertently warming the wine. Then there is the issue of keeping it clean. You will also need a separate set of glasses if you serve a formal dinner since stemless glasses are a no-no in a formal setting. 

Choose a clear wine glass. A vintage glass with etchings or even a glittered glass may be appealing to the eyes but it denies the drinker an appreciation of the colors and texture of the wine. For the drinker to enjoy wine better, all the senses should work together to have a better perception of the wine.  

Do I Need a Wine Varietal Glass?

As mentioned earlier, try the standard wine glasses and be open to expanding your wine glass collection. It may be sound academic and bookish but taking notes of your observations when drinking your wine in a standard wine glass may save you from cursing your wine. If your current wine glass does not give justice to the wine, you may want to buy varietal-specific glasses for future use.


In the end, your best bet to build your wine glass collection is to start slow. Start with at least 6 each of your standard red and white wine glasses. Try your wines using your current wine glasses. Build your collection by adding two of your next favorite wines that your standard wine glass does not do justice. Before you do so, make a thorough research as wine glasses can be expensive. Read more about wine glasses from trusted wine connoisseur and sommelier’s blog or watch video tutorials to guide you more about wine glasses. 

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