Best Wine Glasses: Myths And Misconceptions
Some of the most common misconceptions when it comes to wine glasses, experts told us, involve just how many you need to have if you want to enjoy different types of wine. As a longtime wine writer and a sommelier-in-training, Ive always found that having a solid all-purpose glass will take you far. While many big glassware companies, such as Riedel, tend to adhere to a the more, the merrier philosophy , a high-quality stemmed glass built to accommodate a multitude of wines will save you both money and physical space in the long run.
Anatomy Of A Wine Glass
A wine glass has one basic job: to maximize the pleasure of drinking. Like all good tools, it should get the job done easily with a minimum amount of fuss. Lets get into the parts of the glass to see how they create the ideal wine delivery system.
First, wines are at their peak flavor at specific temperatures, roughly 55°F for white wines and 65°F for reds. The best way to preserve temperature is to avoid transferring body heat. This is why the stem is the most critical element of a wine glass. Theres no need to raise your pinky while sipping, but if a friend insists on using stemless glassware to taste really good wine, you might have to be that person and bring your own glass to the party.
The parabolic shape of the bowl has two discrete functions: the lower portion increases surface space for your wine, while the top portion captures vapor. This maximizes the amount of oxygen that can integrate into the wine. For the greatest effect, be sure not to pour the wine more than one inch above where the bowl flares outward. You dont need big wine glasses, just the right ones.
The top of the glass should curve inward, leaving just enough space at the rim for your nose. This design allows the scent of the wine to rise up but not escape the glass. This produces a more concentrated scent and maximizes your skills during a wine tasting.
Most Versatile: The One Wine Glass By Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson
Designed by master sommelier Andrea Robinson, The One wine glass is another expert-approved option that’s praised for its versatility. “If I had to pick one glass for everything I would use Andrea Robinson’s ‘The One,'” says James Hall, winemaker at Patz & Hall. It’s meant for all types of whitesthere’s also a slightly larger glass for redsbut Hall still calls it “the best glass big tastings” because he says it works with both reds and whites. “This is what I use at parties when there many different wines and it’s not practical to have multiple glasses,” he adds.
To buy: $30 for two at
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How We Tested The Wine Glasses
At the risk of sounding like a total lush, we tested, and tested, and tested these glasses. We used, among others, the following benchmark wines: Left Bank Bordeaux, White Burgundy, Barolo, California Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel, Chilean Pinot Noir, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, white Bordeaux, northern Rhône Syrah, Aglianico, Argentinian Malbec, Austrian Grüner Veltlier, and dry German Riesling. It should be noted, of course, that we had a few weeks to do the testing! The best and only way to compare glassware is to pour a small sample into each glass, and compare the following factors.
How does the glass enhance or suppress the aromas of the wine. There was a marked difference in the experience of the wine depending on the glass, so the answer to the age-old question does glassware matter? is YES!
Although it really followed the line with aroma because most of flavor is driven by our sense of smell, we did check to see if the flavor differed based on the glass and if that was different from the aroma. Spoiler alert: No, so that means aroma alone was enough to make a judgment on quality of the glass.
Other Wine Glasses Options
In addition to our wide selection of stemmed red and white wine glasses, we also offer other options, including:
- Champagne Flutes and CoupesToast with some bubbly in our . Effortlessly stylish, these glasses are a must-have for entertaining guests. We have champagne glasses in classic and contemporary styles.
- StemlessWhen you need a glass with an easy grip, our stemless wine glasses are the perfect solution. These glasses are effortless and uncomplicated, making them a perfect option for casual gatherings. Our stemless wine glasses can also double as stylish vases and much more.
- TastersIn addition to our full-sized wine glasses, we also have taster styles. These small 6 oz. wine glasses are great to have on hand for when you’re hosting a wine tasting party or when you simply want to have a smaller serving of your favorite vino.
- Acrylic is great to have on hand for casual entertaining indoors and out. Perfect for barbeques, our acrylic glasses are constructed of durable clear plastic that won’t easily break. We offer both stemmed and stemless acrylic wine glasses.
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Best For Champagne: Waterford Elegance Champagne Belle Coupe Pair
Courtesy of Amazon
You almost transport yourself back to another time and place when drinking Champagne out of a coupe. Maybe youre at a Gatsby party or sitting in a booth at the Cotton Club, but wherever you’re transported, there is just something about a coupe glass that makes you feel more elegant. These handcrafted Waterford crystal coupes are the addition to your collection that you never knew you needed.
The Zalto Denk’Art Universal mouth-blown glasses are the best of the best if you want elegant wine glasses that are suitable for both reds and whites. If youre just starting out and need a set of universal wine glasses, the Hotel Collection set is a more budget-friendly pick. The set of six, dishwasher-safe glasses is a good place to start a collection.
Why You Should Trust Us
In our research for the 2019 update, we consulted wine importer and Hannah Harris, a manager and sommelier at the restaurant Pasquale Jones in New York City. In previous years, weve spoken with other wine professionals, including Eric Asimov, wine critic for The New York Times Scott Carney, master sommelier and dean of wine studies at The International Culinary Center in New York Michele Thomas, a sommelier and freelance wine and spirits writer and Kristin Wastell, then the visitor center manager at the Ravenswood Winery Tasting Room in Sonoma, California. Over the years, some of these experts have also helped us conduct our taste tests for this guide.
We also spoke to chemosensory specialists, such as Steven D. Munger, PhD, director at the Center of Taste and Smell at the University of Florida, and Terry Acree, PhD, a professor in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University. Additionally, we reached out to glass experts such as , chief scientist at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York, and William C. LaCourse, PhD, a professor in the Glass Engineering Department at Alfred University in Alfred, New York.
We also looked at several wine glass reviews from sources such as The New York Times , The Wall Street Journal, Wine Spectator, and Apartment Therapy. Finally, we scoured stores such as Williams Sonoma, Crate and Barrel, Macys, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Amazon.
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On Average How Many Ounces In A Wine Glass
Typically white wine glasses have a smaller bowl holding around 8 to 10 ounces and the universal glass, which is meant to be your go-to glass for both red and white wine holds a bit closer to 12 to 16 ounces, describes Rudzinski.
When it comes to serves, Wilson notes that Traditionally wine by the glass is served as a 6 ounce pour across the industry. Tasting pours or ½ glasses have been popular and may be served as a 2 ounce or 3 ounce pour.
An Oversized Glass At An Unbeatable Price
Crate & Barrel
You can save yourself from needing frequent refills with this oversized red wine glass. When I’m lounging around watching my favorite Netflix show, I like to drink from my Crate & Barrel Hip Large Red Wine Glass, simply because the bowl is so big and regal, says wine culture expert Chasity Cooper. While they are red wine glasses, I enjoy white and sparkling wines from them too. The glass holds up to 31 ounces, and its dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup.
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Best Rated: Schott Zwiesel Pure Collection All
With an average of 4.8 stars from over 2,400 ratings, these all-purpose wine glasses from Schott Zwiesel are clearly a popular choice on Amazon for both reds and whites. They’re made with lead-free crystal glass and are dishwasher-safe, which makes them great for everyday use. “These are by far my favorite wine glasses that I’ve ever had,” wrote one customer. “They’re stylish and lightweight, while still being sturdy and strong. I love that the Tritan glass helps to prevent chips and breaks, which makes me hopeful that I’ll have these for years to come.”
To buy: $28 for two at
Best Expert Pick: Jancis Robinson The Perfect Wine Glass
These expert-recommended glasses were designed with the help of a wine critic to work with all different types of wines, which takes the guesswork out of choosing a glass. “I love the Jancis glasses. They are an example of the move towards ‘universal’ glasses,” says Isle. They’re made of mouth-blown crystal, and the brand actually recommends carefully placing them in the dishwasher after use, because hand-washing can add too much pressure. While they’re on the pricier side , “it’s definitely more affordable than buying a different glass for every grape,” Isle previously wrote.
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To Our Valued Customers
We regret that due to technical challenges caused by new regulations in Europe, we can for the time being no longer accept orders from the European Union. If you reside in the UK you can continue to order from our UK websites or shop from our locations and partners. Visit West Elm at www.westelm.co.uk and Pottery Barn Kids at www.potterybarnkids.co.uk.
Matters of consumer privacy and rights are paramount to our brands and we will continue to work diligently to make our products available to you. The pace of global regulations is hard to predict, but we have the ultimate goal of being able to offer our products everywhere.
We share your disappointment and greatly appreciate your understanding. Thank you for your patronage.
Best For White: Schott Zwiesel Fortissimo Full
Courtesy of Sur La Table
Feels delicate in your hands
Taller than most glasses
Easy to tip over
The Fortissimo line of Schott Zwiesel wine glasses sets itself apart by having a longer stem but a wide base for stability. This design leads to the classy look this glass has when sitting on a table. The bowl is the perfect shape for white wine and can serve double duty as a water glass.
Same as other Schott Zwiesel glasses, these feature the Tritan crystal technology that lends them durability. A major selling point, and why we have two different styles on this list, is the titanium and zirconium in the crystal that make for a stronger glass.
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The Wine Glass Company
With a history of innovation dating back to 1756, the RIEDEL brand is a world leader for a reason. Purchasing a RIEDEL product means an investment into a product explicitly designed to bring greater enjoyment to wine, champagne, spirits and cocktails, backed by decades of research and development.
Regardless of your budget and personal style, RIEDEL has a collection of glassware that will suit your home, with ongoing investment into high-quality machinery and centuries’ old skill in artisan hand production. RIEDEL also designs a stunning collection of wine decanters to elevate your wine experience and bring theatre to your table.
Choosing Your First Wine Glass
Your first set of glass, at least six, should be for your preferred wine. If you are into red wines, your best bet would be a Bordeaux or Burgundy glass which is large and basic enough for your red wines.
You can also narrow down your selection according to your preferred body. If you prefer full-bodied, bolder wines like the Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz or New World wines like Malbec and Sangiovese, choose a Bordeaux glass. It is a good all-around glass and is sturdy enough for everyday use.
For more delicate wines like Pinot Noir and medium-bodied Australian Shiraz, a Burgundy glass with its large bowl and narrow opening is a good choice so that the wine is directed to the front of the tongue where sweetness is most perceived.
In case you prefer white wines, youre good to choose a Bordeaux White that will cater to most white glasses.
For full-bodied chardonnay, choose a classic Burgundy White wine glass to enhance the features of the wine. For light-bodied wines like Sauvignon Blanc, choose a glass that best displays the aromatics with a slightly tapered rim.
For sparkling wines like champagne, cava, and prosecco, choose a classic design flute or a small white wine glass like a standard white wine glass. The larger bowl and slightly tapered rim most displays the character of the sparkling wine. The wine may lose its carbonation faster but the white wine actually tastes better when allowed to breathe.
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The Lifestyle Division Of Riedel Glassworks
Nachtmann has been defining affordable luxury for nearly two centuries. Today, Nachtmann independently operates all of its factories, with a commitment to quality, reliability, and certified Environmental and Energy Management Systems.
With a vast range of decorated and cut crystal glass products to suit every style, the Nachtmann portfolio is the perfect place to find a gift for absolutely anyone in your life. Modern to traditional, coloured to clear, barware to vases: Nachtmann has it all.
Do You Need To Decant Wine Before Pouring It
Depends on the wine. It’s recommended to decant older red wines because they produce sediment over time. The decanting process separates this gritty, bitter substance. Decanting also exposes the wine to air and helps open up its flavors.
“We recommend decanting red library wines aged eight or more years in-bottle for 30-60 minutes. Exposing older vintages to a wider plane of oxygen speeds up the breathing process, enhancing fruit and oak aromas,” said Dunstan.
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A Pair Of Wine Tumblers Tailored To Your Preferred Wine
For everyday use, Riedel offers a range of stemless wine tumblers that are less delicate than traditional stemware. Riedel is considered the inventor of the functional wine glass, says Torner. It was the first to develop specific glasses for each grape variety.
These tumblers come in a set of two, and you can choose from several shapes to suit your preferred varietalthe brand offers glasses for cabernet/merlot, champagne, riesling/sauvignon blanc and more.
Best Overall: Juvale 125
The main issue with drinking out of real glasses outdoors is the issue of breakage. Stemless glasses and wine tumblers exist to help with this, but some people really need to have a glass with a stem when drinking wine. No worries, because these 12.5-ounce glasses made from Tritan plastic are shatterproof, unbreakable, and have stems. Theyre dishwasher safe as well. But the best thing about them is that they come in a set of six so you wont be the only one with a sturdy glass when the rest of your friends have broken theirs.
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Best Stemless: Riedel O Wine Tumbler
These stemless wine glasses by Riedel are a great alternative to traditional glasses, and they’re one of Isle’s top picks. Shoppers say they feel sturdy and still look elegant without stems and that they’re easy to hold. “They are beautiful and fairly rugged, yet do not spill as easily as stemmed versions,” wrote one reviewer. “What I like best about them is the thin and small profilenot heavy and thick like a lot of cheaper glasses.”
To buy: $47 for four at
What We Use On Set
We purchased Riedel Restaurant Extremes from a wine distributor. The stemware we use is quite similar to the Riedel Vinum Extreme series. We use the Cabernet Sauvignon glass for red wine and the Sauvignon Blanc glass for white wine. I like them because theyre big, but not too big, for filming. If you want to go lead-free check out Schott Zwiesel Tritan Pure Collection, which is a better value and comes in sets of 6.
PS. We werent paid for these opinions and believe that glassware is a personal choice. Feel free to find me on or if you want a recommendation.
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Also Great: Rastal Harmony
*At the time of publishing, the price was $50.
For stemless glassware, we recommend the Rastal Harmony, an inexpensive, durable glass with a modern look. Although it was the most compact of the stemless glasses we tested, the angled edges of the Harmony made it easy to swirl and aerate wine. This glass was also the most comfortable to handle among the stemless options we tested. While its not great at enhancing the flavor of more delicate wines, the Harmony is versatile enough to use for water and cocktails, so the set you acquire for casual wine drinking can pull double duty as a water glass during more formal moments.
We found the Harmony to be more attractive than the more traditionally shaped Ravenscroft glass, our previous pick for stemless glassware. The angled edges of the Harmony made for a sturdier glass that was almost impossible to knock over during our drop tests . If you choose stemless glasses for parties or large dinners, the Rastal Harmony takes up less space on a table and packs more easily into the dishwasher. Other glasses we tested felt more regal than befits a stemless glass and ended up feeling too clunky.