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Wine Glass Guide

We all know that wine comes in many flavours and we’re not just talking about white, red and rose. From ‘full bodied reds’ to ‘fortified sweet whites’ there’s an abundance of choices when it comes to vino. But to properly enjoy this wonderful tipple, it’s important that you drink it from the right type of glass. Wine glasses come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and the style of glass you need depends on the type of wine you are enjoying. 

In our previous post, Barware Glasses Guide, we explained the plethora of drinking glasses required for fully stocked bars and briefly touched upon the different types of wine glasses for red, white and rose wines. But if you really want to enjoy your drink to the max, it’s important to choose a glass depending on the type of red, white or rose you have chosen. 

Here, we talk you through the different types of wines and the right style of glass to drink it from. 

Firstly, why is a wine glass shaped that way? 

What is a wine glass and why don’t we just drink wine from standard glasses? Well there’s a little bit of science behind it. A standard wine glass consists of a round vessel attached to a long stem with a round flat base. The shape is said to help the drinker enjoy the wine to its full potential. Holding the stem prevents the drinker from touching the vessel which can lead to heat from your hands warming up the wine. Heating wine can change and impair its flavour and make it less enjoyable. The round large vessel is also beneficial as it allows the drinker to take in the scents and aromas of the beverage which is a major part of the wine drinking experience. 

What are wine aromas and why are they important? 

Each wine carries a range a aromas or aromatic compounds which help add to the flavour. The aromas help aid the experience of drinking the beverage. When drinking the wine, not only does your tongue taste but your sense of smell also helps to add to the flavour.  The differing shapes of the glasses affect how your senses take in the aromas, which can change the experience and taste of the drink. 

Why are there so many different types of wine glasses? 

You may only be familiar with the standard wine glass shape, but they actually come in a number of different designs. Some wine glasses have a large vessel while others are shorter and rounder and a number of wine glasses have a slim vessel. These different elements are there for a reason and are designed for different types of wines for a more enhanced drinking experience. The shape of the vessel can also affect how your tongue touches and tastes the wine. Certain shapes will deposit the drink in different ways into your mouth, resulting in your tongue experiencing the flavours in certain ways depending on the type of wine. 

White Wine 

White wine is usually drank from glasses with small bowls or vessels as this helps to preserve the aromas and remain at a lower temperature. This type of glass also allows the wine to express more acidity from the wine. 

Sauvignon Blanc

A tall, slim and narrow bowled glass is best for a fruity wine such as sauvignon blanc. The vessel offers a slimmer bowl which allows the drinker to easily detect the aromas and reduces the chances of oxygen entering the glass and keeps the wine fresh. 

Full Bodied Whites

A full bodied white wine or orange flavoured wines require a large bowl or vessel. This includes oak aged chardonnays, riojas and viogniers. This type of glass helps emphasise the creamy texture of the drink due to its wider shape. 


For riesling, a tapered glass is required as it concentrates the fruity aromas of the wine into the upper part of the bowl, although some say that a larger bowled glass is better for a riesling as it allows the compounds to rise. 

Dessert Wine

When serving a dessert wine, a highly tapered rim is best as it allows the drinker to easily swirl the wine and keeps the drink to air ratio balanced. The shape also helps to emphasise the acidity within the wine which prevents the wine sweetness from becoming too much, which when paired with the sweetness of the dessert can be overwhelming. 

Red Wine

A wide opening vessel allows red wines to taste smoother and helps reduce the bitter taste from the tannins and the spices. 

Bold Reds 

A bolder tasting red wine requires a large bordeaux glass as it delivers more aromas and the burning taste from the alcohol is further away from being detected. The glass also helps the ethanol evaporate quicker, leading to a smoother taste. 

Medium Bodied Reds

Standard wine glasses are ideal for medium bodied reds such as malbec, shiraz and zinfandels as they soften the spicy notes due to the tongue hitting the flavours quicker because of the smaller opening. 

Delicate Reds

A bourgogne glass is designed for delicate red wines that have subtle aromas such as pinot noir, fresia, zweigelt and gamay. The shape of the glass features a round bowl which collects the aromas much more than other glasses. 


Port is a drink best served in a port glass which features a small bowl and a straight edge. The design enhances its flavours, with port being a highly sweet and aromatic wine. It also reduces the chances of evaporation due to its narrower mouth, helping to retain the flavours. 

Crystal or Glass? 

Wine glasses are often made using crystal or glass, but which is best? The material doesn’t necessarily have an effect on the flavour but it can affect the appearance of the drink which may aid the overall drinking experience. If you are opting for crystal, choose a lead-free crystal as this lets the light refract onto the glass creating a more elegant sparkle. Plus, leaded crystal can become cloudy after washing which may distort the look of the wine. 

For more info on choosing wine glasses for your establishment, get in touch with one of our team for advice on purchasing wholesale wine glasses and any other type of catering glasses you may require for your bar or restaurant.