How To Choose The Right Wine Glass

Oct 5, 2023

We’ve all been there—standing in the Home section in front of a sparkling row of wine glasses, each with a unique shape, size or stem length, feeling completely overwhelmed. Is it truly essential to have a specific glass for each wine type? Does the shape of a glass really enhance the wine-drinking experience?

The simple answer: yes, it does!

Different wines do have their preferred vessels, and the shape of a glass can significantly affect the aroma, taste and overall drinking experience. And whether you’re a casual sipper or a wine connoisseur, understanding the art and science behind wine glasses can transform your appreciation for this age-old elixir.

We’ve got you covered on the basics—dive in to learn about how to choose the ideal wine glass to elevate every sip.


Hungry for more? We’ve got everything you need to host the wine tasting party of your dreams—from glassware and ice buckets to drink markers and reusable corks.

Shop Our Collection of Wine Glasses & Wine Accessories

types of wine glasses

Why is glassware important?

Just as the vineyard’s soil and climate influence the character of each bottle, the glass that you drink out of plays a big role in the wine experience, accentuating the vino’s best qualities and providing a more enriching sensory journey. Here are some ways that the glassware affects the wine:

  1. Aeration: The wine glass’ bowl shape and size can influence how much air comes into contact with the wine. A wider bowl provides a larger surface area for the wine, allowing it to “breathe” and interact with more oxygen. This can enhance the flavors and aromas, especially in red wines.
  2. Temperature: The stem of a wine glass allows the drinker to hold the glass without transferring body heat to the wine, maintaining its optimal serving temperature. This is particularly important for white and sparkling wines, which are best enjoyed chilled.

By no means are stemless glasses a bad choice! Stemless glasses are less likely to tip over and are more compact for storage. Some people find them more comfortable to hold as well. For many people, the convenience and aesthetic appeal might outweigh the potential temperature considerations.

  1. Aroma: The bowl’s shape and taper towards the rim can concentrate or diffuse aromas. A narrower opening can help to concentrate delicate aromas, making them more perceptible, while a broader opening might let more volatile compounds disperse.
  2. Taste: The curvature and angle at which the wine is poured into the mouth can emphasize different taste profiles. In fact, the glass can direct wine towards specific parts of the tongue, accentuating acidity, sweetness or bitterness.
  3. Effervescence:  For sparkling wines, the shape of the glass (like a flute) can help in retaining and showcasing the bubbles, preserving the effervescence and enhancing the sensory experience.
  4. Swirling space: A good wine glass will provide ample space for swirling without spilling. Swirling helps release the wine’s aromas, making complex notes in the wine more accessible and enjoyable.
which wine glass infographic

Red vs White Wine Glasses

At the most basic level, wine glasses can generally be divided into two categories based on wine color: red and white. Here’s how the types of wine glasses differ:

Red Wine Glasses

Red wine glasses are generally larger and rounder than white wine glasses, with a wider opening. This design facilitates more aeration, allowing the complex flavors and aromas in red wines to emerge. It also directs wine to the center of your palate, balancing the wine’s fruit, acidity and tannins.

Popular types of red wine glasses include:

  • Bordeaux glass: Tailored for full-bodied reds like cabernet sauvignon or merlot. It has a tall stem with a broad bowl.
  • Burgundy glass: For lighter, full-bodied wines like pinot noir. It has a wider bowl than the Bordeaux glass to collect the delicate aromas.

White Wine Glasses

Typically smaller than red wine glasses, white wine glasses preserve floral aromas and help the vino maintain a cooler temperature. The narrower opening directs wine to the tip and sides of the tongue, emphasizing the wine’s freshness and acidity.

Popular types of white wine glasses include:

  • Chardonnay glass: For full-bodied white wines. It has a wide bowl, almost similar to red wine glasses, allowing for more aeration.
  • Sauvignon Blanc glass: Narrower than chardonnay glasses—ideal for crisp, light and young white wines.

Other Types of Wine Glasses

Beyond the standard red and white wine glasses, there’s a variety of specialized wine glassware designed to enhance the experience of specific wine styles and categories. Popular options include:

  • Sparkling wine glasses: Also known as flutes, these have a thin and tall design, which allows bubbles to rise to the top, preserving the wine’s effervescence.
  • Dessert wine glasses: Smaller than standard glasses, they are designed for wines with a higher alcohol content, like port, sherry or sauternes. Their shape helps direct these rich, often sweet wines to the back of the mouth.
  • Universal wine glasses: A recent trend in the wine world, these glasses are designed to cater to both red and white wines, ideal for those who do not wish to maintain an extensive glass collection.
  • Rosé glasses: Combines features of both red and white wine glasses. These usually have a slightly flared lip and a long stem. Some designs are similar to a shorter champagne flute, especially for sparkling rosés.
how to choose the right wine glass

How to pick the right wine glassware for your needs

Each type of wine glass is designed to highlight the unique characteristics of specific wine varieties, from the effervescence of champagne to the robust flavors of full-bodied reds. When selecting wine glasses for your collection, consider the following factors:

Type of wine

The type of wine you predominantly enjoy should heavily influence your choice of wine glasses.

For red wines, which are often complex and benefit from aeration, glasses with larger bowls are ideal. In contrast, white wines have subtler scents that need to be concentrated for better appreciation. Glasses designed for whites typically have narrower bowls to capture these delicate aromas effectively.

Sparkling wines are best enjoyed in tall, slender flutes. The design of these glasses preserves and channels the bubbles, heightening the sensory pleasure. Lastly, for dessert and fortified wines, which are generally stronger and sipped in smaller amounts, smaller glasses are preferred to accentuate their richness without overwhelming the palate.


Crystal wine glasses, being more refined than regular glass, offer a clearer view of the wine and often provide a finer texture, enhancing the sensory interaction. However, they tend to be more delicate and can be pricier.

On the other hand, standard glass wine glasses, while durable and often more affordable, can still deliver an enjoyable wine experience. The choice between the two usually hinges on preference, budget and where and how you’ll be using the glasses.

Rim thickness

A thinner rim is generally preferable, as it provides a smoother flow of wine and is less obtrusive, letting you focus on the wine itself.

Stemmed vs stemless

Stemmed glasses allow you to hold the glass without touching the bowl, preventing the wine from warming from your hand’s heat. Stemless glasses, on the other hand, are more casual and less prone to being knocked over. They’re easy to store and versatile, but may not be ideal for wines sensitive to temperature changes.


If you’re looking for a set that can serve multiple purposes, consider universal wine glasses or those suitable for a range of wine styles.

Cleaning and storage

Delicate glasses might require handwashing. Consider your willingness to maintain them—and the storage space you have available.

Tasting vs drinking

For everyday drinking, standard glasses will do. But if you’re into wine tasting, having specialized glasses can enhance the experience.

Remember, the best wine glass for you ultimately depends on your personal preferences, the types of wine you typically drink and how you plan to use them. Consider what aspects are most important to you and let that guide your selection.


Hungry for more? We’ve got everything you need to host the wine tasting party of your dreams—from glassware and ice buckets to drink markers and reusable corks.

Shop Our Collection of Wine Glasses & Wine Accessories

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