Wine Wednesday: How to Choose Wine Glasses

Wine Wednesday: How to Choose Wine Glasses

If you’ve ever wandered down the aisles of a store and noticed an entire section of wine glasses, then you may understand the confusion–and sometimes anxiety–that comes with buying them. There are so many shapes available, you may be wondering which one is best. And if you’re serving a fancy dinner for friends or family, you will want to ensure that you have the right wine glass for the right wine. There are many misunderstandings regarding which glasses are proper for which wine, but let’s go over some quick tips to help decipher the madness in the glassware aisle!

First off, it is key to know the kind of wine you plan on enjoying. Red and white wines typically need different types of wine glasses. If you are strictly into just red wines or just white wines, you can get away with purchasing a single set; whereas if you enjoy both from time to time, you may want to purchase two different kinds.

The type of wine you enjoy will greatly determine the type of wine glass that you purchase. Red wines will require a larger surface area. This is because red wines open slower, need more aeration, and have bigger flavors and scents than white wines. With this in mind, many red wines do well in lower, “bowl-shaped” glasses. They allow enough air into the wine to help it open, and also allow for swirling to boost aeration if the wine was not decantered or aerated beforehand. The more open edge of a wider wine glass will also allow some of the strong scents to escape to keep it from becoming too overpowering during tasting.

White wines generally have much more delicate flavors and scents, typically along the lines of fruits and citrus. The smell is not nearly as strong and bold as a red wine, so a taller wine glass with a narrower, tapered opening is perfect. The narrower opening also allows for your nose to gather as much of the wine’s scent as possible while drinking. White wines do not need as much, if any, aeration as red wines, so the narrower opening is just fine for whites such as chardonnays and sauvignon blanc.

Another aspect to consider when purchasing wine glasses are the materials. Most are typically glass and can withstand a cleaning through the dishwasher, while others, like crystal glasses, are more delicate and will require hand washing instead. If you’re not big on washing your dinnerware in the sink, you will definitely want to consider a sturdier, dishwasher-friendly wine glass set to help make dinnertime cleanup fast and easy. However, if you are investing in high-end glasses that you plan on using for a long time for both fancy and casual dining, a nice set of crystal stemware may be in order.

Hopefully next time you’re browsing the glassware aisle considering a new set of wine glasses, you will now have the knowledge and expertise to choose an appropriate stemware set based upon your favorite style of wine! Cheers!

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