Matching wine with the right glass

Matching wine with the right glass to magnify taste is essential for enjoyment

Matching wine with the right glass to magnify taste is essential for enjoyment

Like many things, you don?t have to know a lot about wine to enjoy it. But matching wine with the right glass can enhance the experience and even the taste of many wines. There are countless style to choose from, so why not buy those that are designed to complement your drinking tastes?

For every type of wine varietal there are at least a dozen types of glassware. How do you select a few perfect wine glasses for your personal set without going overboard? Start by considering the types of wine you enjoy. For instance, skip the small port glasses if dessert wines aren?t your thing.

For reds

If you?ve ever been to a tasting you know reds are often poured in a glass with a high stem and large, deep bowl. The bowl allows you to swish the wine around, opening up the flavors by aerating it. Aficionados also love sticking their nose far in the glass to identify characteristics of different types of reds before diving in for a taste.

Though the general shape of the bowls is similar, the slight variations exist to moderate or enhance qualities of particular varieties. The tall, narrow glasses deliver the red to the middle of your tongue, which helps cut some of the acidity in Cabernets. Fuller bodied wines like Burgundy benefit from stouter bowls that curve inward at the top, enhancing the subtler acidity.


The standard shape you find in restaurants generally allows younger, fruitier wines to mellow out. If choosing one type for all reds, look for a thin rim that will deliver it smoothly to the mouth. But if you?re keen on the lighter reds like Pinot Noir, go for one with a wide bowl that narrows at the rim in order to balance both the acid and sweetness, and heighten aromas.

For whites

Matching wine with the right glass is easier with whites. The vessels made for white varietals have smaller rims with narrower bowls in order to maintain the cooler temperatures best suited for whites. 

The easiest is the Champagne flute; they’re tall and quite narrow in order to keep the temperature high and the effervescence from going flat. These are perfectly suited for all sparkling wines and ciders. Save the bulbous bowls with narrow lips for Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and other bright whites.

For ros?s

Ros?s have a dry, tart flavor that many winos adore. The best vessel for theses has a distinctly hour glass shape, known as the hock, that tapers out at the rim. They?re made to direct the chilled wine to the tip of your tongue where you can enjoy its vibrant characteristics.

For desserts

Tulip-shaped bowls are a perfect fit for ports and ice wines. The elegant form and narrow bowl accentuate the natural sweetness. 

Tips for matching wine with the right glass

In addition to considering the size and shape of the bowl, here are few more details to consider before buying a set.

  • Choose clear glass so you can fully appreciate the wine?s appearance. 
  • The thinner the glass is the better. Hand-blown is ideal, but you can save money on sets with hand-blown bowls and industrial-made stems.
  • Stems have a purpose. They keep your hands from warming the wine and your fingers from smudging the glass and distorting the appearance.
  • Tumblers or stemless glasses are popular because they break less and are dishwasher friendly. If you like the style, consider a double-walled design to moderate the temperature.
  • Glassware sets are pricey, especially if you get one to match each variety you like. An affordable alternative is to get a few generic styles. If you?re choosing one shape for both whites and reds, the tulip shape with its narrow opening and wider bowl will do double duty. They help reds breathe and maintain cooler temperatures all while magnifying the aromas of each.