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How to Choose the Proper Wine or Champagne Glass

Updated on August 13, 2013

In various shapes and sizes, wine glasses have been around for hundreds of years. They have evolved to a point where there are now specific glasses for specific wines. The proper glass will bring out a particular wine or champagne's taste, aroma and character to the fullest. It's been reported that the shape of a wine glass can have an effect on various compounds found in wine that affect its taste and aroma. A wine glass should not be tinted or etched. Ideally, it should be made of thin crystal. If you would like to enjoy wine or champagne to the fullest, selecting the proper glass is fundamental to the experience. The following descriptions will make your selection easier.

A Red Wine or Bordeaux Glass
A Red Wine or Bordeaux Glass

Red Wine

If you're a lover of red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz etc., what is called, the "Bordeaux" glass is best. It's taller and wider at the bottom of the bowl, with a fairly large rim which concentrates the wine's aroma and enhances the wine's complexities. The fuller flavors in red wines need more room to expand and the wider bowl will aerate the wine, releasing its aroma and softening its mouth feel.

Classic White Wine Glass
Classic White Wine Glass

White Wine

If you prefer white wines, such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, etc.,choose a glass that is slightly taller than a red wine glass, with a longer stem and narrower bowl. The tapered rim at the top of the bowl concentrates the bouquet of white wine, which is more subtle than red wine. The taller, thinner glass allows white wine to stay chilled longer.

Burgundy Glass
Burgundy Glass

Pinot Noir (Burgundy)

Pinot Noir is a specific varietal or grape that is cultivated in the Burgundy region of France. The Pinot Noir grape is considered the most fragile and most difficult grape to grow than any other red wine. If Cabernet Sauvignon is known as the King of red wine, Pinot Noir is the Queen. The wine tends to be light to medium body with an aroma reminiscent of black cherry, its most notable characteristic. Due to its unique character, Pinot Noir merits its own glass, a balloon shape that is broader than the Bordeaux glass. It has a bigger bowl to dispense the aroma of the more delicate Pinot Noir.

Classic Champagne Flute
Classic Champagne Flute


A Champagne glass should not be the kind seen in old movies or offered in party stores and served at wedding receptions. These glasses are totally ill suited for champagne since they have a shallow body and a very large rim, which dissipates the bubbles and makes the Champagne go flat quickly. These glasses are the complete opposite of what a champagne glass should be. A champagne glass, called a flute, is tall and thin, with a very narrow rim or lip that's designed to concentrate the champagne's bubbles, not allowing it to get flat. It has a deep, but small pocket cut at the bottom of the glass which allows a steady stream of bubbles to rise, keeping it effervescent longer.

Standard Port or Sherry Glass
Standard Port or Sherry Glass

Port or Sherry

Sherry is a fortified wine from Spain usually served as an aperitif. Port is from Portugal and is also fortified. It is usually served as a dessert wine. As a Sherry glass it is generally used for serving any of three basic types - Fino, Amontillado or Cream Sherry. But, it is also used to serve Port, both vintage and non-vintage.. A standard sized Sherry or Port glass is shorter than any other glass, with a narrow taper that enhances the aroma and concentrates the flavor of the wine. Similar to other wine glasses, the best Sherry or Port glass should be of thin crystal.


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    • poe9368 profile image

      poe9368 4 years ago

      Thin crystal is the most recommended but is the most fragile.

    • surveyequipment profile image

      Rich Sale 4 years ago from Sandy

      Thanks for sharing this information with us.

      I seem to remember that the type of glass (as in material) should also a significant factor. Some types of glass are more ductile and less prone to breaking when knocked. Nothing worse than buying expensive stemware which will only survive a few outings.