Posted by Guidi Wines on


When you think of a nice moment of relax to spend with friends, one of the first thing that comes to mind is your favorite restaurant; a cozy place where you can enjoy good food and treat yourself with a nice bottle of wine.

Whether it's white or red doesn't matter, it depends on the food, the season, the occasion, etc., and we usually don't think about the glass in which we're going to taste the wine; perhaps we give it little importance.

But a good wine is better appreciated and best expresses its potential if served in a suitable glass. There are many characteristics to take into consideration when it comes to choosing wine glasses. They vary according to the color of the wine, white, red or rosé but also according to its structure, the presence of tannins, the degree of ageing, the type and the aromas that the wine releases.
There is a science behind wine glasses, with specific shapes, compositions and sizes for which they must conform. The primary reason stemware is so specific is in order to deliver the best aromas and the most perfectly-developed wine to your palate and nose. The shape of your glass will have a huge role in this, believe it or not.

People have been using glass to drink wine from since ancient times, but the modern-day design we think of – essentially a bowl, a stem and a base – is medieval.

The glass as we know it probably emerged around 1400 in Venice. Back then, Venice was the centre of the glassblowing world.

Wine glasses are made from either glass or crystal. Crystal is a much harder material, so it's used to create elegant, ultra-thin wine glasses, glossier and more transparent than glass, where wine colors are better appreciated.

Traditional wine glasses have a long thin stem from the base of the bowl of the glass and are connected to a base or foot for the glass to stand on. This stem allows the user to pick up the glass without touching the bowl and heating up the wine, which can change the flavors and notes in the wine. Most white wine glasses have longer stems than red wine glasses because white wines are more temperature-sensitized and need to be served below room temperature. A longer stem allows the drinker to distance their hand from the bowl, preventing any warming of the wine from body heat.


The bowl is the part that holds the wine. Aim to fill the glass around one third, or to where the bowl is at its widest – to maximize the wine’s contact with the air. Wide bowls increase the surface area and encourage alcohol evaporation, maximizing the oxidation and releasing the wine's aroma.
The general rule of thumb is glasses with wider bowls are best for red and narrower bowls are best for white wines. Red wines often have a very complex aroma, which translates to complex flavors, which is why you will often find red wines served in glasses with wide bowls. Wide bowls also allow you to swirl the wine around to disrupt the volatiles and tannins, enhancing the subtle flavors of the wine. White wines are best enjoyed with less oxidation because of the delicate notes. A narrow bowl size minimizes the oxidation and preserves the chilled temperature and delicate wine bouquets.

The rim determines where the wine is directed onto the tongue and so the brain's initial perception of the taste. There’s nothing more pleasurable than picking up a delicate crystal wine glass and feel the thin rim kissing your lips as you sip your favorite wine. The rim can be tapered or flared. A tapered rim suspends the aromas at the top of the glass and allows you to get the full nose of the wine and allows you to take in very subtle aromas. The tapered edge also prevents spilling from swirling the wine. A glass with a flared rim traps the aroma and allows the flow of the aroma to be directed to the front palate. This highlights the rich fruit flavors in the wine while tempering the acidity as your taste it.
Red wine glasses will usually have a larger bowl than white wine glasses. This allows the bolder, fuller flavors of red wines to “breathe”. The rims of red wine glasses are wider for the same reason. Some red wine glasses may even have tulip-shaped rims to invite more air into the glass. By giving the wine enough room to take in oxygen in the glass, the wine will open up and display both aromatic and flavor qualities more easily.


There are essentially three main categories of red wine glasses: full-bodied, medium-bodied, and light-bodied.

Full-bodied wine glasses (aka “Bordeaux glasses”) are the tallest and the largest of the three types, and the bowl shape is designed for bold red wines, such as Barolo, Amarone or Cabernet Sauvignon. The design allows a more significant amount of oxygen to contact the wine. The size of these glasses creates a large amount of space between your nose and the wine. This lets ethanol vapors move past your nose, which allows you to experience more of the wine’s aromatic compounds and less of the strong alcohol vapors. The larger opening will also let the wine flow onto the entire surface of your palate and makes the wine taste smoother and brings out the fruit flavors.

Medium-bodied glasses are just smaller versions of the full-bodied glass, shorter with a smaller bowl and designed for medium red wines such as Chianti, Dolcetto or Sangiovese. They will soften some flavors and will keep a little more of the ethanol vapors in the glass; harsh flavors and spice are softened because the wine is designed to hit your palette more gradually from the smaller opening. The narrower bowl tends to taper slightly more, which helps to trap the aroma.

Light-bodied glasses (aka “Burgundy glasses”) work well with lighter, more delicate reds such as Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo. The space of the bowl allows the aroma to accumulate. The shorter lip also encourages the wine to run over the tip of the palate. This can enhance the sweetness of the wine.

White wine glasses have shorter bowls because white wines don’t need as much space to breathe as red wines and a smaller glass preserve and concentrate their delicate and subtle aromas. This also allows you to bring the nose closer to the wine to better experience its aromatic qualities.
White wine glasses will also have longer stems than red wine glasses. This is because white wine is typically served at a lower temperature, and your hand can warm the wine if it is too close to the bowl of the glass. Long stems allow you to keep your hand farther from the bowl.


There are two main types of white wine glasses: one for high-acid white wines such as Vermentino or Grillo and one for full-bodied white wines such as Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. These two types of glasses will have differently-shaped bowls that accommodate the characteristics of certain wines.

Glasses for high-acid wines are the smaller of the two. Their design allows the wine to move onto the middle of the palate, which brings out the wines’ acidic qualities. These types of wines usually have a lower alcohol percentage, so the ethanol vapors will not be much of a concern.

Glasses for full-bodied wines are larger with wider openings (though still narrower than most red wine glasses). This allows the alcohol vapors to flow past the nose while accentuating the richer qualities of full-bodied white wines.

Other wine styles demand their own types of glasses. Sparkling wines, such as Prosecco, are traditionally served in tall, taper-free flutes, which help to keep bubbles on the tip of the tongue. Rosé, meanwhile, is best served in glasses with narrow bowls and long stems, but can also be enjoyed in white wine glasses. And non-sparkling dessert wines such as Passito or Recioto, are always best served in dedicated glasses: smaller vessels with a highly-tapered rim, allowing their flavors to come through steadily.

Many variables play into your wine drinking experience: the setting, the temperature of the wine, the food pairings, and yes, even the type of glass really affect the wine taste: of course, there’s nothing to stop you serving your wine in a coffee mug, a mason jar or a dixie cup, but the proper glass, paired with the right wine, will make all the difference to your tasting experience!

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