How to Choose Wine Glasses for Red Wine

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How to Choose Wine Glasses for Red Wine

Choosing the best wine glass for red wine is important, as it can greatly influence your wine drinking experience. Whether an occasional drinker or a wine connoisseur, the type of glass used impacts flavour, nose, and other wine qualities. The right wine glass engages all of one's senses.



Red wine glasses have a large, more bulbous appearance. These large red wine glasses allow the wine to better aerate, which in turn promotes oxidation and enhanced scent. If enjoying wine from the Bordeaux family, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz, Zinfandel, or Merlot, the rim opening of the glass should be narrower than the bowl. This feature serves to concentrate the aroma, while still allowing drinker to receive the full nose, or scent, of the wine. Conversely, if you prefer wines from the Burgundy family, including Pinot Noir, consider purchasing a large wine glass with an apple-shaped bowl. These glasses are generally rounder than those used for Bordeaux wines are and better maximise taste for the respective wines.



Consider the age of the wine when thinking about wine glass shape.


Wine Age

Wine Glass Shape and Use


Large bowl with a straight lip


Taller and wider bowls with a slightly narrower opening to better capture more complex aromas


Large glass with a wide bowl and tapered mouth; allows for proper oxygenation; perfect for wines produced from robust grapes, such as sangiovese or cabernet sauvignon; and wine should be directed to the back of the mouth


Typically wider than they are tall; and wine should be directed to the tip of the tongue for optimal tasting



Consider purchasing crystal clear red wine glasses, as this allows the beauty and subtleties of the wine to show through. While coloured wine glasses and novelty wine glasses remain popular for their aesthetic beauty and intricate wine glass decorations, they fail to show off the wine.


Hand-blown Wine Glasses

Hand-blown wine glasses are generally thinner at the rim and lip than machine-made glasses. This is considered preferable, as thin glass enhances wine flavouring. A good wine glass has a "cut" rim, which is smooth to the touch and does not impede the wine as it flows out of the glass. Hand-blown wine glasses also balance better in your hands. Generally speaking, these glass varieties are more expensive than their mass-produced counterpart. For a good compromise between beauty and cost, look for combination wine glasses; these contemporary wine glasses feature hand-blown bowls and machine-made stems and bases.

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