Wine connoisseurs or sommeliers believe that the glass contributes to the wine’s taste. Just like all things, wine glasses have undergone many developments and grew into multiple arrays. But just how much have they grown all through the years?
Here are the types of wine glasses and why their dimensions, volume, and height matter.
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Parts of a Wine Glass
Before we dig into the types of glasses, it is essential to know about a wine glass’s anatomy. That way, when we are discussing measurements and dimensions, you’ll understand and picture each glass properly.
Also known as the foot as it gives the glass stability. They should be relatively thick and sturdy to keep the glass standing.
What connects the base and the bowl. This contributes to the glass’s appeal and gives the drinker a proper grip, so the wine’s temperature is consistent.
This is what 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.
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.
Different Types of Wine Glasses
With the many types of wine today, the glassware has also expanded. Furthermore, wine connoisseurs are known to be meticulous and one of their tasks is to pair the wine with the perfect glass to enhance the overall drinking experience.
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.
These wine glasses can range from 8 to 22 ounces, but the red wines’ standard wine pour is only 5 ounces. The purpose of the extra space is for the wine to breathe since reds are known to be bolder.
The Bordeaux wine glass has a tall bowl and has enough space for the wine to be swirled. It measures 21 to 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 useful feature because you get all the flavor without it turning bitter.
The bowl’s shape also allows younger wines to breathe and reduces 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 that it enables the ethanol to dissipate on the nose and allows more oxygen to lessen the tannins’ effect.
Designed for more delicate wines such as Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, red Burgundy, and Dolcetto, the Burgundy glass has a wider bowl measuring around 4 to 5 inches; 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 to 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 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 its overall look. It has a variation wherein the bowl is tapered to the top with a slight curve. They have a capacity of 24 to 28 ounces and are about 9 to 11 inches tall and 4 to 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.
Hence, 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 aroma and softens the tannins to give that sweet notes on the palate.
It is practically useful 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 aroma of Syrah and the smooth and velvety texture.
The Zinfandel glass is a lot smaller than the other red wine glasses with a capacity of only 13 to 14 ounces with a height and width of 8 to 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 direct 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 intense, 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 more detailed look at the wine, especially that whites are light-colored. 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 resembles the Pinot Noir glass but only smaller. They usually are 11 to 14 ounces and have a slightly tapered top, and are 7 to 8 inches tall and 3 inches wide.
These wine glasses are ideal for Chardonnay and other full-bodied wines, like Semillon and Viognier.
With the large opening, the wine’s sweet and oaky notes are released and allowed 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, this wine glass is perfect 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 wine glass is tall and slender enough to introduce a minimum amount of oxygen. The subtle, delicate floral notes are captured and delivered straight to the nose and mouth and altogether balances the wine’s acidity notes.
Much like the Zinfandel glass, the Riesling glass shows pretty much the same dimension, with a capacity of 13 to 14 ounces, a height of 8 to 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 to 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 bowl-shaped fish 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 with complex flavors like Montrachet, White Burgundy, Corton-Charlemagne, and Meursault.
The wide bowl helps combine the complexities with enough air to open up and release the wonderful range of aromas and emphasize 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, sparkling wine glasses tend to be more slender, so there is as little air as possible entering the glass and ruining the carbonation.
Flute glasses are known to be very slender and are best known for serving champagne. It can hold about 5 to 8 fluid ounces and has a height and width of 8 to 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.
Its stem is also long so the drinker holds the champagne in a way that it wouldn’t get warm. The overall look and structure of the flute complements the champagnes and makes it more sophisticated and appetizing. A variant called a tulip glass looks very similar, but the upper part of their bodies are curved outwards, making them look like the flower.
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 popularly known as coupe glass.
This type of sparkling wine glass 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.
With an open mouth, it kind of defies carbonation rules, 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 suitable for Cava, Franciacorta, or Prosecco and other cocktails.
Rose is neither a white nor a red wine; it’s somewhere in between. It is technically 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 of this glass enhances the sweetness of the crisp wine, as well as balancing the flavors and acidity. There are other forms of Rose glasses, such as the slightly tapered one and the short bowl.
Dessert & Fortified Wine Glasses
Dessert wines are paired with desserts as the name implies. On the other hand, fortified wines are incorporated with a distilled spirit, mostly brandy. They tend to be sweet and have elevated alcohol content, so their wine glasses are designed to balance these notes.
The Port glass is similarly shaped to 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.
This type of wine glass is best for serving Sherry, Cordial, and other dessert wines that have high alcohol content. 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.
Other Types of Wine Glasses
Wine enthusiasts always find a way to elevate the taste and smell of wine. Here are some wine glasses that are considered different but still significant. Most of them are adored for their aesthetics.
If you think that wine glasses are elegant, then you should take a look at a Hock glass. It is 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. If that’s not enough, they’re also available in vibrant colors. They can store up to 8 ounces of liquid and are 7.5 inches tall.
Hock is 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.
Stemless wine glasses are just bowls and rims. Sometimes, they are referred to as tumblers. Most wine glasses have stemless versions, and they often have the same dimensions and fluid capacity as their stemmed counterparts. The only difference is the height.
This type of wine glasses are chic and are famous in contemporary bars, parties, and wine tasting. They are best used to serve warm red wines because they make the drink stay at room temperature without compromising its taste and flavor.
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 greatest 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 fantastic 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 discussed that the glass’s shape plays a huge role in enhancing the wine’s taste. Red wines tend to be served in more prominent and wider glasses, while white wines are served in narrower glasses.
The glasses are 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 bitter or acidic since the shape directs the wine’s flow.
Wines may also vary in the rim’s size or shape, some are slightly tapered or curved, and some have smaller mouths. These come with the course’s purpose: either introducing air into the wine or avoiding air from coming in contact with the wine.
So, there isn’t a single glass shape that can be called the “best wine glass” since all of them 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.
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.
Another thing that improves a wine is by aerating them, and what better way to do this than by using aerators? The best aerators expose the wine to air, thus triggering oxidation and evaporation that improve the drink’s flavor and aroma.
Wine Glasses FAQ
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.
Bigger wine glasses also tend to have bigger rims; thus, more air exposure to the wine. From there, the air fully develops the complex flavors of the wine and the aroma because they have space to “breathe” and oxidize.
2. What are big wine glasses called?
The big wine glasses are called giant wine glasses, resembling the shape of the burgundy wine glass. The largest usable wine glass has a capacity of 3 bottles (2.4L).
3. Which is 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 sparkling wine. Hence narrower and smaller bowls are a more desirable choice.
5. What makes a nice wine glass?
A nice wine glass is the one that gives you the best value.
It should be large enough with a capacity of at least 20 ounces to have a large surface area, but slim enough so you can taste the wine and not the glass, and a long stem so you can hold it properly. Also, it should be slightly tapering at the rim so the aroma is directed to the nose.
6. Which glass is ideal for red wine?
If you want only one glass to serve your red wines, the universal wine glass is your best choice. It has a big bowl, long stem and wide foot so the desired surface area is achieved and the wine can be swirled properly.
7. Why are there different glasses for wine?
The different wine glasses are designed to highlight the characteristics and nuances of each wine type. The most important to emphasize are the aromas and flavors of the wines.
The softening of the tannins and diffusion of sulfites also play into the wine glass design. Nuances such as the nose, bouquet, and hints of different types are also emphasized with the right wine glass.
The size, shape, and the overall structure of wine glasses make them look appealing, while refining the wine they hold. The different types of wine glasses also make it easier to handle and treat various wines with delicacy to provide the ultimate drinking experience.
Which type of wine glass is your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below.