Written by Sommelier Julieta
A wine glass is more than just a vessel to bring the wine from the bottle to your mouth.
Out of all the factors that can make or break an enjoyable wine tasting experience, the choice of glassware is by far one of the most critical. And with virtually thousands of options to choose from, how do you know if your glass selection is actually the most suitable for your vino?
A wine glass is more than just a vessel to bring the wine from the bottle to your mouth. If the alternative is not to drink wine at all, well, I would drink wine out of an empty mayonnaise jar if needed. But when the goal is to showcase the wine at its best and enjoy all of its delicious attributes, there are some features that your glass should invariably display.
A glass with a wider bowl and a smaller mouth is a universal, surefire way to get the best aromatic expression out of your wine. When you fill the glass up to the equator (the widest section of the bowl) you create a large surface of contact with the air, which allows for the most aromas to emerge from the wine. The smaller mouth of the glass will concentrate these aromas and make them converge to your nose.
The material of the stemware also plays an important part. While regular glass is sturdier and less expensive, most stemwares made of glass have a wider rim, or a “lip”, that interferes with the flow of the wine while you’re sipping. This may sound like a minor detail, but it actually does change how you initially perceive a wine’s flavor and texture. That’s why the preferred wine glasses at wineries and wine bars are made of crystal and have thinner edges, with no “lip”. On the bright side, there are some fabulous crystal glasses in the market that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
The world of glassware is wide and diverse. Some manufacturers have gone as far as perfecting shapes for specific grape varieties or aging stages of the wine. I would encourage you to taste from highly specialized glasses at least once, but don’t worry, you do not need to own them all. A good quality wine glass labeled “for white wine” is your best choice if you don’t have a ton of cabinet space. A white wine glass will do a great job showcasing the best out of your whites, reds, rosés, and even bubblies. This is the type of glass somms use in professional tastings and competitions. However, if you have a go-to wine style and are looking for ways to make your tasting experiences even more exquisite, I encourage you to invest in high quality, specialized stemware for your collection.
Let's connect in a private wine tasting class on Zoom together - here are a few of my favorite classes to teach right now:
Fēst, pronounced 'feast', is a collective of Chefs, Pastry Chefs and Sommeliers who teach guided, interactive and completely customizable classes to cooking-curious people of all skill levels around the world.