A Beginners Guide to Wine Glasses


Have you ever noticed there are a million different shapes and sizes of wine glasses?! Seriously, think about it… white wine glasses, red wine glasses, port or dessert glasses, champagne flutes, then each of THOSE categories have even more SUB categories under them! Have you ever wondered why there are so many shape varieties? And have you ever wondered if it even matters?!

All wine glasses (except stemless) are broken into 3 parts. You have the bowl, the stem and the foot. Stemless glasses (or tumblers) are only the ‘bowl’ and are typically used in more informal settings. You want to hold the wine glass by the stem. The purpose of this is so that the heat from your hand doesn’t change the temperature of the wine (as it would if you were holding it by the bowl).


Red wine glasses will typically have the largest bowl. The idea behind this is that they need the most air. I’m sure you’ve seen people swirling their wine in the glass; the purpose of this is getting oxygen to touch as much of the wine as possible. Oxygen intensifies the aroma and flavors of the wine (this is what people are talking about when they say their wine needs to ‘open’).


White wine glasses traditionally have a smaller and narrower bowl. They are somewhere in between a red wine glass and a champagne flute. White wine glasses typically don’t *need* as much oxygen, this is why white wines aren’t decanted as often (but we’ll get to that later!).


Champagne flutes are probably the easiest to recognize since their shape is more standard. Champagne glasses will have a tall and narrow cup. The point of this (in layman’s terms) is to keep your bubbles well, bubbly! You want the smallest amount of oxygen touching the champagne, so you don’t want to swirl this one (it will make the champagne taste flat).


Now to the real question: Is the wine glass IMPORTANT for the wine you are drinking?! The answer is yes AND no. Can a wine glass enhance or take away from the actual wine? To a Somollier,  arguably- yes. To the average Jane wine drinker- probably not. Will it make you look more educated about wine if you recognize the correct glass? Yes.

Honestly the only time I make a point to use the ‘correct’ glass is when I am serving a white AND a red wine, then I would give each person 2 glasses and pour the correct wine in the appropriate glass.

This post was a ton of fun because I had to open 4 bottles of wine to get pictures! My friends were very appreciative and we had a great time hanging out and enjoying plenty of laughs!!


Hope you enjoyed this and maybe learned something! Please tell me if you found this helpful, or if you have suggestions for future posts!

Happy sipping!




5 thoughts on “A Beginners Guide to Wine Glasses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge