How to choose the right stemware for your favorite types of wines


various glasses of wine

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Shopping for stemware can be an exciting, albeit daunting, experience. Wine glasses come in all shapes, sizes and styles, and different varietals are best served in specific types of glasses.

With so many options available at retail, it’s tough to know which ones you really need. Use our handy guide to identify which glasses are right for your wine drinking preferences.

Red wines

Almost always served in large glasses, red wines require more air exposure than their white counterparts in order to perform at their peak. Wide-bowled glasses enable you to get the full effect of the aromatics at play when inhaling a red wine’s bouquet — wine speak for scent.

If you like red wine, you’ll want to invest in two specific types of glasses. Bordeaux glasses are tall but not overly wide, which thrusts the wine toward the back of the mouth. These glasses are recommended for heavy red wines like merlot or cabernet sauvignon. Conversely, Burgundy glasses are shorter and wider, pushing lighter reds like pinot noir toward the front of the tongue where their flavors can be more fully appreciated.

White wines

When it comes to whites, keeping the wine chilled is essential. Thus, white wine glasses tend to have much narrower bowls than red glasses — this minimizes the air exposure of white wines while still enabling them to open up during consumption.

Unlike reds, glasses for white wines can usually be chosen based on age. Mature whites do best in straight, tall glasses that direct the wine to the back of the tongue. Younger whites, on the other hand, are better enjoyed through wider bowls, allowing for the wine’s sweetness to hit the tip of the tongue.

Maybe it’s just us, but we really don’t like serving white wine in stemless glasses. Although we love the glasses’ design and practicality, the heat from our hands just warms them too much for us to truly enjoy the wine in a race against time.

Sparkling wines

As everyone who’s ever been to a New Year’s party knows, champagnes and sparkling wines are best served in tall, narrow flutes that enable the tiny bubbles to float to the surface. Anything else just doesn’t do these wines justice.

Dessert wines

Dessert wines like port, madeira and sherry are super concentrated and usually quite sweet, necessitating small serving sizes. Using a small glass with an inward taper allows for an even more intense concentration of the wine’s aromas inside the glass.