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Entertaining

Wine Glass Guide

From a glass of red with dinner to a crisp white on a hot day to a sparkling wine toast, it seems wine is a fit for any occasion. Whether you consider yourself an amateur sommelier, or simply enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day, you’ll need a vessel for that precious vino. Here are a few things to consider when shopping for wine glass types.

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Wine preference

Different types of wine glasses are designed to enhance different wine varietals. So when stocking your glassware collection, keep in mind the wines you enjoy the most.

Red:

Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and other reds are best consumed in a glass with a larger bowl. A larger bowl gives the wine more surface area, allowing it to oxidize, or breathe. Oxidizing softens the tannins found in reds, improving the overall flavor, and releases the wine's natural aromas. This is essential, since the aromas are a large part of what you taste when drinking wine.

Pro tip: When pouring red wine into a large-bowled glass, maximize the wine's surface area by filling the glass to the widest part of the bowl. (This is generally 1/3 of the way.)

White:

Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and other white wines are best consumed in a glass with a narrow bowl. While their red counterparts are enhanced by oxidation, too much air can eliminate the light, bright flavors characteristic of a white wine. The narrow bowl, combined with a narrow opening, also helps to keep white wine chilled.

Sparkling:

Bubbles are essential to a good glass of sparkling wine. To maintain the strength and duration of the bubbles, wines such as Champagne, Prosecco and Cava are best consumed in a glass with an even narrower bowl and smaller mouth, such as a flute. The shape preserves the bubbles by limiting oxidation, while also keeping the sparkling wine nice and cool. They look pretty festive, too.

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Glass type

When it comes to craftsmanship, wine glasses fall into two categories: handmade and machine made.

Handmade glass, or mouth-blown glass, uses thousand-year-old techniques. These glasses are more expensive due to the high level of artistry—it can take up to four craftsmen to make one glass, and each is one-of-a-kind.

The technology used to craft machine-made glasses has come a long way, and today it can be hard to differentiate between machine-made and hand-blown glass. High-quality machine-made glass can now be produced in large volumes, resulting in glassware that is less expensive.

Usage

When choosing your wine glass types, consider how often, and in what setting, you'll use the glasses, as well as how much effort you want to put into their care.

If you're looking for something more casual and less expensive to replace, buy machine-made glass. These glasses are dishwasher friendly, though you should use the top rack only and try to keep anything else from clinking against them.

If you're looking for wine glasses that are more formal and provide a unique wine-drinking experience, look for handmade glass. Keep in mind that it’s best to hand-wash these glasses since they are more expensive to replace.

Personal Style

Ultimately, a wine glass has to suit your personal style. If you prefer a classic look, there are a wide range of wine glasses with traditional rounded shapes and long stems on the market. If you veer more modern, you'll find many stemless options and glasses with cylindrical shaped bowls. Whatever your preference, if the glass feels good in your hand, fits your kitchen storage parameters and requires the right amount of maintenance for your lifestyle—and you enjoy drinking wine out of it—it's the right fit.

To learn more about different types of wine glasses, check out our glassware resource guide.

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