Table of Contents
- Parts of a Wine Glass
- Types of Wine Glasses
- White wine Glasses
- Dessert & Fortified Wine Glasses
Perhaps one of the most adult things that are relatable all around is drinking wine. It is often associated with parties, dining, girls’ night, and even Christmas. But, have you ever had the chance to examine the vessel that contains your precious wine? Probably not, because you’re only concerned about the things that you’re going to consume and you probably don’t have the time to bother about it.
However, this subject is highly regarded by those who are dedicated to this area such as connoisseurs or sommeliers and they believe that the glass also contributes to the wine’s taste. So, if you’re curious about the wonderful invention that is the wine glass, then stay and read. But, before we get to that, let’s learn a little bit of history about the wine glass, shall we?
Back then, there was no glass, so people had to use clay, silver, gold goblets, or bronze tankards to drink from. It was the Romans who actually invented glass but the wine glass didn’t emerge immediately after this. There was a whole evolution of wine vessels that was brought by invaders, alike. It was only until the late 1000s that the first clear glass cup was used to consume wine. It took many years for the standard design of wine glass to be created, with the bowl and stem.
The Venetians were the ones who first modeled the wine glass in 1400 but theirs was fragile. This glass made its way into Britain in 1600 where it was remastered so it would not break every time it was used for wine consumption. But it wasn’t as big as it is now, in fact, it was the size of a shot glass. In 1700, the British wine glass could only hold 66 milliliters of wine. The small size was apparently because of the tax on the glass. When this toll was removed, the wine glass continued to increase in size also thanks to industrialization. The British continued to drink wine despite the emergence of other beverages like beer and spirits and in the 1960s the wine also became popular and available in the market.
Just like all things, the wine glass has undergone many developments which now grew into an array of them. But just how much have they grown? Check them out below!
Parts of a Wine Glass
Before we dig into the types of glasses, it is important to know about the anatomy of a wine glass, that way, when we’re discussing measurements and dimensions, you’ll understand properly and be able to picture each glass.
Base - Also known as the foot as it gives the glass stability. They should be relatively thick and sturdy to keep the glass standing.
Stem - What connects the base and the bowl. This not only contributes to the appeal of the glass but also gives the drinker a proper grip so the wine’s temperature is consistent.
Bowl - This is what basically holds the treasure. They vary in size depending on the wine but they should be large enough to enable the drinker to swirl the wine so the aromas will be released, thus elevating your drinking experience. It should be tapered so the aroma can linger. Red wine glasses tend to have wider bowls than white wine glasses.
Rim - this the uppermost part of the bowl where your lips touch. A thinner rim is ideal because it doesn’t distract the drinker when taking a sip since the wine will flow down smoothly. The size and shape of the rim direct the wine to the ideal area of the palate. Their sizes are not necessarily the same as the size of the bowl and can affect the taste. Smaller rims tend to balance sweetness and acidity. Narrow rims can trap aromas inside the glass so when you take a sip, your nose gets directed to that burst of aroma.
With the many types of wine today, the glassware has also expanded. Along with it, dining has also improved and has become more sophisticated. Furthermore, restaurateurs and connoisseurs are known to be meticulous in terms of running their businesses and dedicating to their craft so they’ll do everything to deliver the best to the people. One of these tasks is pairing the glass with the wine as this can affect the taste and overall experience. Here are 18 types of glasses:
Red Wine Glasses
Red wine is probably the most famous type of wine and their glasses tend to have wider and rounder bowls to increase the wine’s oxidation and enhance the flavor and aroma of the wine. They can range 8 - 22 ounces but the standard wine pour of red wines is 5 ounces. The purpose of the extra space given the standard of 5 ounces of wine is for the wine to breathe since reds are bolder.
The Bordeaux wine glass has a tall bowl and has enough space for the wine to be swirled. It measures 21-22 ounces and it is about 8 inches tall and 3.8 inches wide for both the base and bowl. They are designed for full-bodied, heavier red wines such as Cabernet Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec and Merlot. Because it is a tall glass, it directs the wine to the mouth instead of letting it stay on the tongue. This is a good feature because you get all the flavor without it turning bitter.
The shape of the bowl also allows younger wines to breathe and also helps reduce the effects of tannins (responsible for making the wine bitter and astringent) since it indeed directs the wine at the back of the tongue. The height is ideal in a way that it enables the ethanol to dissipate on the nose and allows more oxygen to lessen the effect of the tannins.
Designed for more delicate wines such as Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, red Burgundy, and Dolcetto, the Burgundy glass has a wider bowl measuring around 4 - 5 inches and its rim is smaller and thinner. Its stem has the right height to still support the bowl and you can still swirl it around. The glass is about 9 inches tall and has a capacity of 21 - 25 ounces.
This is designed as such so that when the drinker takes a sip, the wine can touch the tip of the tongue and then gives the drinker an impression of the wine through smell and taste. The bowl also traps the aromas of full-bodied wines and balances the intensity.
The Cabernet/Merlot glass resembles the Bordeaux a lot in terms of appearance and the fact that Cabernet Sauvignon can be served in both. It has a large bowl that can hold about 22 ounces and measures 9.25 inches tall and 3.8 inches wide. Some variations have narrower rims which are essentially designed for getting oxygen to soften the tannins and bring all those fruity notes.
The wide bowl allows the wine to breathe and to accompany this with the narrow mouth just gives you a full experience of the smell.
4. Pinot Noir
Usually used interchangeably with the Burgundy, the Pinot Noir glass does show some similarities, especially overall look. It has a variation wherein the bowl is tapered to the top with a slight curve. They have a capacity of 24 - 28 ounces and are about 9 - 11 inches tall and 4 - 5 inches wide.
They probably have the widest bowls but have shorter stems and the design ensures that the wine has enough exposure to the air to improve the aroma and flavor and directs the wine to the front of the mouth so it focuses on the sweet notes while balancing the acidity. This is a great glass to swirl your wine in especially with the curved bowl variation.
The structure and shape of the Syrah/ Shiraz glass are somewhat typical. It has a 24-ounce capacity, measures 9.2 inches tall, and 3.8 inches wide. The rim is tapered inward which releases the fruit aromas and softens the tannins so it really gives that sweet notes on the palate.
It is practically good for medium-bodied red wines. It has a stemless version that measures 5.4 inches in height and 3.8 inches in width. This structure makes the glass less susceptible to breakage and is designed to deliver the classic aromas of Syrah as well as the smooth and velvety texture.
The Zinfandel glass is a lot smaller compared to the other red wine glasses with a capacity of only 13 - 14 ounces with a height and width of 8-9 inches and 3 inches, respectively. It is the perfect glass for fruity wines and the shape of the bowl gives all the fruit and spice vibes. The rim is also thin which helps in directing the wine into the center of the tongue so the drinker can interpret the complex flavors and acidity.
As opposed to red wines, white wines tend to be less strong and the glasses look fancier because the wine’s color complements the shape very well. The bowl is also much narrower and more U-shaped and this gives the drink a clearer look at the wine especially that whites are light-colored. Basically, the design of white wine glasses preserve floral aromas and maintain a cooler temperature.
Generally, white wine glasses have narrow bowls as mentioned above, but the Chardonnay glass has a wide bowl and actually resembles the Pinot Noir glass but only smaller. They usually are 11 - 14 ounces and have a slightly tapered top and are 7 - 8 inches tall and 3 inches wide.
These are ideal for Chardonnay, obviously, and other full-bodied wines, like Semillon and Viognier. With the large opening, the sweet and oaky notes of the wine are released and allow it to get on the tip and sides of the tongue, enabling the palate to sense all the flavors and acidity. There is also enough space for aeration that is responsible for the release of flavor and aroma.
As the name suggests, the Sauvignon glass is best for Sauvignon Blanc and other light and medium floral wines such as white Bordeaux, Fume Blanc, Loire, Vinho Verde, Chenin Blanc, Muscadet, Muscat Blanc, and Pinot Grigio. It has a 12-ounce capacity, is 8.5 inches tall and 3 inches wide.
The glass is tall and slender enough to introduce a minimum amount of oxygen so that the nuanced, delicate floral notes are captured and delivered straight to the nose and mouth and altogether balances the acidity notes of the wine.
Much like the Zinfandel glass, the Riesling glass shows pretty much the same dimension, with a capacity of 13-14 ounces, a height of 8-9 inches, and a width of 3.5 inches. It is best used for serving wines that are more on the sweet side like Riesling sweet, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gruner Veltliner.
Looking at it, it is slightly taller than the Chardonnay glass, making it look narrower. It also has a smaller rim that guides the wine to the center and at the back of the mouth so as to not overwhelm the sweetness. The tall and tapered top design helps keep the fruity aromas at the upper part of the bowl and the stem keeps the wine chilled.
Among the white wine glasses, the Montrachet glass is the only one that has a fish bowl-shaped bow with a width of a whopping 4.8 inches. It can hold about 18 ounces of wine and is 7 inches tall. It is perfect for wine that has complex flavors like Montrachet, White Burgundy, Corton-Charlemagne, and Meursault.
The wide bowl helps in combining the complexities with enough air so they would open up and release the wonderful range of aromas and emphasizes the creamy texture. It also allows the wine to flow smoothly from the tongue’s edges to the palate so the drinker can taste the sourness and acidity.
Sparkling Wine Glasses
Sparkling wines are considered white wines but they have more carbonation, responsible for fizz and bubbles. With this, the glasses tend to be more slender so there is as little air as possible that can enter into the glass and ruin the carbonation.
Flute glasses are known to be very slender and are best known for serving Champagne. It can hold about 5 - 8 fluid ounces and has a height and width of 8 - 9 inches and 2.8 inches, respectively. Because Champagne is a sparkly drink, the narrow and taper-free bowl helps preserve the bubbles and protect carbonation.
The stem is also long because this is where the drinker holds the drinks so it wouldn’t get warm. The overall look and structure of the flute really complements the Champagnes and makes it more sophisticated and appetizing. There is a variant called a tulip glass that looks very similar but the upper part of their bowls are curved outwards, making them look like tulips.
Have you ever been to a wedding or a party that has had one of those majestic Champagne towers? The glass that they use to build the tower is called a vintage Champagne glass or Coupe glass as others may call it. It has a 9.5-ounce capacity, is 6 inches tall, and 4.2 inches wide. The best way to describe a vintage Champagne glass is to imagine an average wine glass and cut half of the bowl.
So, with an open mouth, it kind of defies the rules of carbonation especially with Champagne but people still use them because they look cool and for building towers. They are more focused on aesthetics rather than function. Other than Champagne, it’s also good for Cava, Franciacorta, or Prosecco and other cocktails.
Rose is neither a white nor a red wine, it’s somewhere in between. Technically, it is made from red or purple grapes but with less skin contact, resulting in stunning pinkish color. Rose glasses have an 11.5-ounce capacity, are 8.5 inches tall, and 3 inches wide. The rim is slightly curved outward so it’s kind of shaped like a tulip and it directs the wine first to the tip of the tongue so the taste buds can sense the sweetness immediately.
The design enhances the sweetness of the crisp wine, as well as balancing the flavors and acidity. There are other forms of Rose glasses though such as the slightly tapered one and the one with the short bowl.
Dessert & Fortified Wine Glasses
Dessert wines are paired with desserts as the name implies and fortified wines are those that are incorporated with a distilled spirit, mostly, brandy. They tend to be sweet and have elevated alcohol content so their glasses are designed to balance out these notes.
The Port glass is similarly shaped with the Bordeaux glass, only smaller and thinner. It can hold about 8.5 ounces of wine, is 6.5 inches tall, and about 2.6 inches wide. The narrow mouth of the glass helps in concentrating the sweet aromas and reducing evaporation. Furthermore, it leads the wine to the center of the mouth then to the back so the sweet accents are emphasized without becoming overwhelming.
There are many different shapes for the Sherry glass, but the most prominent one is the flute-like glass but with a tapered top. It can hold about 4 ounces of wine and it has a height of 7.5 inches and a width of 2.4 inches. It is best for serving Sherry, Cordial, and other dessert wines that have high alcohol content. Just like other dessert wine glasses, the Sherry glass is designed to deliver the wine to the back of the mouth so the drinker is not overwhelmed by the sweetness.
There are other kinds of wine glasses that come in various sizes and shapes. People always find a way to make something and elevate them. Here are some wine glasses that are considered different but still great. Most of them are adored for their aesthetics.
If you think that wine glasses are elegant, then you should see a Hock glass. They are basically the elevated version of a wine glass because instead of smooth surfaces, they are adorned with beautiful and intricate engravings that make them look like diamonds, and if that’s not enough, they’re also available in vibrant colors. They can occupy about 8 ounces of liquid and are 7.5 inches tall.
Hock is basically an old-fashioned term for German white wine. They have small bowls and are not quite ideal for serving white wine. And because of their aesthetics, they are better as displays rather than a vessel. But, there’s no stopping you from using it if you want.
Basically, stemless wine glasses are just bowls and rims. Sometimes, they are referred to as tumblers. Most if not all wine glasses have stemless versions and most of the time, they have the same dimensions and fluid capacity as their stemmed counterparts. They only differ in height because these are without stems.
They are sleek and chic and are famous in contemporary bars, great for parties and wine tasting. They are best used to serve warm wines like red wines because they can stay at room temperature without compromising its taste and flavors.
As the name implies, the International Standards Organization (ISO) glasses are best for tasting wine. They are practically the standardized structure of a wine glass. They help the taster measure the aspects of wine such as shade and clarity. They are designed to enable scrutiny to the highest extent of the taste, look, and smell.
The rounded bowl which is approximately 3 inches allows the wine to be swirled easily without any spillage. The rim also helps keep all the amazing aromas of the wine while enhancing it. They can hold about 10 ounces of wine and are about 7 inches tall.
Which Wine Glass Has the Best Shape?
We have been discussing that the shape of the glass plays a huge role in enhancing the taste of the wine. Red wines tend to be served in bigger and wider glasses while white wines are served in narrower glasses. The glasses are basically designed or structured the way that they are to complement the wine that they’re serving. If a wine is bitter or contains more acidity, there is a wine glass that helps the wine taste not as much bitter or acid since the shape directs the flow of the wine.
Wines may also vary in the size or shape of the rim, some are slightly tapered or curved and some have smaller mouths. These come with the purpose of the course which is to either introduce air into the wine or to avoid air from coming in contact with the wine. In light of this, there isn’t really a single wine glass shape that can be called the best since all of them clearly have a purpose to serve depending on the type of wine they hold. And pretty much everyone can agree that wine glasses are already elegant and sophisticated pieces of glassware.
1. Why are red wine glasses bigger?
Red wines have more complex and volatile flavors, waiting to be released and the way to do that is to introduce air to them even after the decanting period. Wine glasses that are bigger tend to also have bigger rims thus, more air exposure to the wine. From there, the air fully develops the complex flavors of the wine as well as the aromas because they have space to “breathe” and oxidize.
2. Why are red wine glasses wider?
The only way to make a glass bigger is to make it wider. This is to support the explanation that bigger glasses basically enhance the flavor and aroma of the wine. Of course, the whole glass doesn’t need to be filled all the way so the extra space is for the drinker to swirl the wine to finally release those aromas once the air has been incorporated to them.
3. Which is a bigger wine glass or water glass?
Generally, water glasses can hold approximately 8 ounces of water but they can extend up to 12 ounces. With this, wine glasses prove to be bigger than water glasses since they can go up to 20 ounces. But, it also depends on what type of wine glass is used.
4. What size are white wine glasses?
Compared to red wines, white wines don’t need oxidation and to breathe as much for the flavors to be released. Bigger and wider bowls will only make the bubbles disperse faster in the case of sparkling wine, hence narrower and smaller bowls are a more desirable choice. White wine glasses can hold wine in a range of
Wine Accessories That Enhance Your Wine
Wine is a very delicate drink and it takes too long to process. Even after the prolonged fermentation, the wine still needs assistance from other things so the full blast of flavor and aroma can be achieved. One thing is a friendly vessel called decanters. Decanters are basically to separate the wine from its sediments to achieve a more vibrant and clearer wine with better aromas and flavor. Check out these awesome decanters right here. Another thing that improves a wine is by aerating them and what better way to do this than by using aerators? Aerators expose the wine to air thus triggering oxidation and evaporation and ultimately results in, you guessed it, enhanced flavor and aroma of the wine. You can take your pick of the best aerators on this page. You only want what’s best for your wine and what’s best for you.
Dedication is what makes everything excellent and this is evident in the area of art. An example of art is a wine glass. Sure, art pleases the eye and the satisfaction will be increased once you pay attention to details. Overall, the size, shape, and basically the whole structure of wine glasses make them look appealing and at the same time refine the wine that they hold. They also make it easier to handle or grip and treat wines with delicacy and provide the drinker the ultimate experience.