Thursday, April 9, 2015

Aren’t All Wine Glasses the Same?

Many new wine drinkers can be overwhelmed by the extensive selection of glassware associated with enjoying various types of fine wine. Wine glasses are made in an endless number of variations, but with the highest quality glassware, these differences are far more than just cosmetic. The construction of your wine glass can have an enormous effect on the experience of savoring your wine, and the proper glassware can make the best qualities of a prized vintage shine through to even the most inexperienced wine drinker.


A wine glass rim is where the drinker’s mouth makes its first contact with the wine of choice, and so is critical aspect of its design. Quality wine glasses feature precision cut rims to enable undisturbed wine flow from the glass as well as minimize its effect on the flavor of the wine. A glass with an inferior rim enhances the taste of the crystal rather than the wine, negatively impacting its full character.


The bowl of a wine glass is the part that physically contains the wine, and common wine glass designs feature bowls that grow slimmer toward the top to direct the aromas of the wine toward the nose and mouth of the drinker to be inhaled with a sip.

Different bowls are made for various types of wine, but a good rule of thumb is that red wine glasses have large, shallow bowls to showcase the bold nature of a deep, rich vintage while small, slender bowls are more appropriate for subtle whites to funnel their more delicate profiles to the drinker.


A wine glass typically starts with a stabilizing base known as a foot, which lets the glass stand upright. The foot is attached to the stem, which allows the drinker to hold the wine without the heat from their body bringing a chilled wine to too high a temperature, which can dramatically impact the flavor. Some wine glasses may even have flat bottoms, lacking stems and feet entirely to take advantage of this effect for wines that are best served at a warmer temperature.


The clearer a wine glass is, the more it contributes to the visual experience by allowing the true appearance of the wine to show through. The best wine glasses are unadorned and crystal clear, allowing the wine itself to serve as embellishment. Colored and ornate wine glasses offer variety, but the beauty in a glass of wine is in its color and character, and a clear wine glass is a blank canvas that puts the true artistry of a fine wine on full display.

There are many factors that determine the ideal glass for a wine, and understanding the construction of a wine glass is a helpful tool in finding the perfect glass to accompany your choice of wine. While food pairings and personal preference are equally important to the experience of a fine wine, the proper glassware can ensure it puts its best sip forward.

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