Guide to Wine Glasses

See more about: Wine Accessories   Wine Gifts   Sparkling Wine


You've bought the perfect red wine, you've pulled the cork out, and now all you need is the right wine glass. With so many choices on the market -- crystal or glass, large bowl or small -- picking out stemware can be as overwhelming as selecting the wine itself! With Snooth's Guide to Wine Glasses, you'll be able to tell your flutes from your snifters in no time, and get down to the fun part: having a drink.

Wine Glasses: Where to start?

Walk through the stemware section of any department store, and you'll see a massive array of shapes, colors, and sizes, many purporting to be the "right" glass for a certain type of wine or spirit. Don't worry: you don't need them all. Most wine lovers can start--and finish--with just one style.

As for cost, many of us are best off skipping both the lowest-end models (cheap, badly designed, virtually unusable) and the highest end ones (exquisitely crafted, super-fragile, and, well ... virtually unusable). The sweet spot is in the middle. Here you'll find nicely machine-blown glasses with a deep bowl, priced at a level that allows you to accidentally break a few.

Keep these things in mind as you stroll the stemware aisles:

Steer clear of color. Tinted or colored glass may look pretty in the cabinet, but it will keep you from seeing the color of the wine itself!

Get a big enough bowl. Especially if you're searching for one all-purpose glass, choose one that holds at least 10 oz of liquid. You'll need that space for smelling and swirling.

Look for a thin lip. The cheapest stemware often has a thick rim at the top. You don't need the thinnest, most-fragile of the bunch, but beware of wine glasses that have a fat, tumbler-like lip. It just gets in the way.

Skip the stem altogether? Bring up stemless glasses to a group of wine lovers, and you're likely to stir controversy. Many people just can't imagine drinking from a decapitated cup, while others love the look, feel, and stability that a stemless glass can offer. It's a personal preference, but make sure to check them out as you shop -- the array of stemless options (at every quality and price level) may surprise you.

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Red Wine Glasses

Glasses that are specified as red wine glasses are typically rounder and wider in shape; the design is intended to expose a large surface area of the wine to the air. There are two main types of red wine glasses.

Bordeaux Glass. Meant for Bordeaux and other full-bodied reds, this glass has a tall, wide bowl that tapers to a narrower opening. This is a great choice if you're looking to get by with just one style of glass.

Burgundy Glass. The Burgundy style of glass is the largest wine glass you're likely to encounter; it has the a wide, ballooned bowl that is intended to capture and stoke the delicate aromas of nuances wines like Pinot noir.

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White Wine Glasses

The wine glasses you'll find that are intended specifically for whites tend to be shorter and narrower, exposing less surface area of the wine to the warming, oxidizing effects of the air. These are fine for less-nuanced wines (or drinking at picnics), but we say don't coop up your whites any more than you would your reds: drink everything you love out of something with at least a 10 oz bowl.

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Sparkling Wine Glasses

You can pour your sparkling wine into anything, but nothing shows off (and preserves) those lovely bubbles quite like a tall, narrow Champagne flute. When searching for a way to drink or serve Champagne, you might also encounter the "coupe," a style of short, squat-bowled glass; popular through the earlier part of the century, it's not quite as conducive to showing off carbonation as the flute, though it does give off a lovely retro charm.

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    Snooth's guide to sparkling wine has everything you need to know about sparkling wine in one handy buyer’s guide. Where to begin? At the beginning -- or, in this case at the top, with Crème de Tete. Follow along as I break down the styles of sparkling wine, including how to tell if it’s sweet or not... View Article »

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