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In Good Taste

How to Choose the Best Wine Glass

How to Choose the Best Wine Glass

It's a Glass Half Full Kind of Day

Many variables play into the wine drinking experience: the setting, the temperature of the wine, the food pairings, and even the type of glass the wine is consumed out of. Does the type of wine glass really affect the wine tasting experience? In short, the answer is yes.

Wine glasses are composed of four parts. The base, which provides stability. The stem, which allows the taster to have something to hold onto. This also prevents us from warming up the wine with our hands and getting those dreaded fingerprints on the glass. Next is the bowl. This is the most important part of the glass. Bowl sizes vary depending on the style of wine, but most wine glasses will taper at the top, which traps all of the aromas released by the wine. Last is the rim, which the taster feels as they are enjoying the wine. All together, the glass can enhance your tasting experience tenfold.

The Parts of a Wine Glass

Today, top glassware producers, like Riedel, Zalto, and Schott Zwiesel, have created wine glasses that are designed for specific wines. Claus Josef Riedel is credited with starting this trend in 1958 by developing a wine glass exclusively for Burgundy. He was the first to notice that the taste and smell of the wine could be affected by the shape of glass. As of 2018, Riedel produces around 200 different styles of wine glasses for everything from Bordeaux to Riesling.

It is not only shape that has an effect on the taste of wine but glass thickness as well. In higher-quality glassware, glass tends to be thinner and more delicate. Thinner glasses also have a thinner rim, which allows a more even flow of the wine as it leaves the glass. This allows the taster to focus more on the taste of the wine as opposed to the thickness of the glass.

With all of these options, it can become overwhelming when looking to purchase a set of wine glasses. Let’s break down the differences between red, white, sparkling, and dessert glasses.

Red Wine

Red wine glasses come in a variety of bowl sizes, rim styles, and stem lengths. Traditionally, these glasses will have a larger bowl than white wine glasses. This is to allow the wine, which is usually fuller-bodied than a white wine, to "breathe." The concept of letting a wine breathe involves allowing the wine to come into contact with oxygen. During this process, aromas from the wine start to release for the taster to smell. Red wine glasses can also have a bigger rim, which is, again, to allow more oxygen into the glass and the taster’s mouth.

Red Wine Glass

To add another layer of complexity, there are three common styles of red wine glasses: full-bodied (or Bordeaux), medium-bodied, and light-bodied (or Burgundy). Bordeaux glasses are the biggest glass and allow space between the taster's nose and the wine. This is to allow the ethanol vapors (full-bodied wines tend to have a higher alcohol content) to move out of the glass so that the only notes left are the aromas of the wine. Try drinking Zinfandel, Syrah, Bordeaux, and Cabernet Sauvignon from these glasses.

Medium-bodied glasses are just smaller versions of the Bordeaux glass. They still allow some of the ethanol vapors to escape. These are great for Cabernet Franc, Grenache, and Sangiovese. Finally, the Burgundy wine glasses are for lighter-bodied red wines and have a small bowl shape to allow the aromas of the wine to accumulate in the bowl. Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Frappato benefit from being consumed out of this style of glass.

White Wine and Rosé

Unlike red wine, white wine does not need to breathe as extensively. There are two main types of white wine glasses: one for high-acid white wines (think Riesling) and one for full-bodied white wines (think a white Burgundy). White wine glasses do have a longer stem than other wine glass styles, and that is because white wine is served at a colder temperature. The elongated stem allows extra room for the taster’s hand so that the temperature of the wine will not be affected by body heat.

White Wine Glass

The high-acid white wine glasses have a smaller opening on top because the ethanol vapors experienced in red wine are far less in these traditionally low ABV wines. The small opening also allows for the acidic nature of these wines to be directed to the perfect spot on your palate (the middle of your tongue). This style of glass is also perfect to enjoy rosé out of as it is typically high-acid, low-alcohol.

The full-bodied white wine-style glass is for wines like oaked chardonnay and white Burgundy, and sweet wines, like Sauternes and off-dry Riesling. The opening on this glass is slightly larger than the high-acid wine glass but still has the elongated stem and smaller bowl shape.

Sparkling Wine

Sparkling wine has long been enjoyed out of the traditional flute. This style of glass allows the aromas of the wine to be funneled to the back of the tasters’ mouth, which gives a longer finish that is sought after while drinking sparkling wine, specifically champagne. Flutes are great options for larger gatherings due to their sleek design, allowing more glasses to be displayed without taking up a ton of room.

Tulip Sparkling Wine Champagne GlassFlute Sparkling Wine Champagne GlassCoupe Sparkling Wine Champagne Glass

Additional options for sparkling wine are tulip and coupe glasses. Tulip glasses have a larger bowl at the base of the glass to allow the sparkling wine to open up but taper quickly at the top so that the aromas can be funneled into the back of the mouth, just like the classic flute. Top producers in Champagne tend to prefer this style of glass.

The coupe glass is more for aesthetics than functionality. Legend has it that the shape of the coupe was modelled on the left breast of Marie Antoinette. However, the glass was really designed in England in 1663, specifically for sparkling wines. Due to the wide opening, the coupe fails to keep sparkling wine bubbly for long, so it should be consumed quickly when using this style of glass. This is a great style to keep out on display on a bar cart or break out for a special occasion.

Dessert and Fortified Wines

Dessert Wine Glasses

Fortified wines, also called dessert wines, are wines that have been fortified with a spirit to stop the fermentation process. The end result is a sweet and boozy style of wine. Port, Sherry, and Marsala are all examples of dessert wines. Traditionally, a small pour of these wines is given before or after a meal, which is why they are consumed in smaller glasses. Dessert wine glasses mimic the shape of larger wine glasses and are often referred to as "shrunken glasses." Most people do not have or purchase dessert wine glasses and instead use a universal glass, but if dessert wines are exciting for you, it might be time to add some of these smaller glasses to your collection.

The Universal Glass

The universal glass (sometimes called an all-purpose glass) is a glass that can be used for every style of wine. This style of glass can accommodate everything from sparkling wines to dessert wines. The shape of this glass is most similar to the white wine glass styles but offers a slightly bigger bowl to allow red wines to open up. Universal glasses range in price, but since they can be utilized for nearly all types of wine, this glass can save on money and storage space, and should be a staple in every wine lover’s home.

Universal Wine GlassUniversal Tumbler Wine GlassUniversal Wine Glass - Coffee Cup

As with all things in life, more is not always better. If your home is short on space, or you’re not particularly picky about what glass your wine sits in for the short time before you gulp it down, a more utilitarian approach may work best! That said, during a wine tasting, our team does recommend having two glasses to compare like styles side by side. No matter the glass, cheers to you for taking this step to learn more about the art and science behind enjoying wine.

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Rosé of Sangiovese


Sangiovese can be found in both the Chianti and Montalcino regions of Tuscany (it all sounds so romantic, right?) and is known for producing classic medium-bodied wines. Rosé wine is actually made from red grapes, and this is where the Rosé of Sangiovese comes to play. Crisp, fruit-forward, and easy-to-drink, it's everything you want in your bottle of Rosé and more.



Big, bold, and full of flavor—exactly what you’d expect an Italian wine to be! This classic Italian grape produces some of Italy’s most straightforward red wines and is often used as a blending grape. Not here, though. We let Montepulciano do the heavy lifting as a heavy red wine and shine on its own. If you enjoy the smell of leather bound books, nibbling on dried fruit, and complementary notes of bitter, dark chocolate and sweet plums, you will love this Italian wine. No need to pair it with any certain dish—Montepulciano tastes great with all the Italian classics.

Cabernet Sauvignon


If Pinot Noir is the light and juicy queen of reds, Cabernet Sauvignon is her bolder, heavier, meatier sister. Often referred to as just “cab,” it’s the wine of France’s Bordeaux and California’s Napa Valley. There’s nothing subtle about Cabernet Sauvignon—high in alcohol, full-bodied and robust, you can usually find this red served with a ribeye, New York Strip, or filet mignon (re: carnivores love cab). Classic cabs usually offer tasting notes of chocolate, coffee, and darker fruits like prunes and plums. The Unprecedented Cabernet Sauvignon is as classic as they come, and we highly recommend letting the bottle sit and mellow until your next red meat and potatoes dinner!

Pinot Grigio

La Pluma

If you’re looking for more zest in your life, a bottle of Pinot Grigio can provide that. We included a classic Pinot Grigio in the La Pluma collection because we’re all about light and easy here, which is exactly what this grape from Italy is. It has that dry sense of humor that seems so effortless with a punchy acidity to keep you on your toes, all while offering notes of lemon, limes, green apples, and honeysuckle. Long story short; when it’s been a heavy day and your soul is seeking light things only, you’ll be happy to have this bottle on hand.

Pinot Noir


We couldn’t create the In Good Taste Unprecedented collection without the Golden Retriever of wines: Pinot Noir. Pinot is likable, it’s easy, and its natural state of being is simply charming. It’s an incredibly easy red wine to love, which is why so many people do. The grape itself is from the Burgundy region of France, but has made its way to California, Oregon, Australia, Italy, Argentina, and Germany since. Our Pinot Noir has no surprise twists—it’s a classic light red with just the right amount of sweetness to keep you coming back for another glass (or two).

Coteaux Bourguignons


The Burgundy region of France is home to their best Pinot Noirs, but we took the grapes into our own hands to create something extra special with our Coteaux Bourguignons. It’s a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, which results in a French red that’s light in body but full in flavor. The ripest blueberries and freshest herbs can be easily detected in this French burgundy blend. May we suggest pairing it with some creamy brie and freshly baked bread? It’s a oui-ning combo.



A little sweet. A little tart. A little salty? You truly get it all with this white Italian wine. If you're into that biting acidity, Verdicchio will probably be high on your list of most-loved wines from our Andiamo collection. Citrus fruits like mandarin, lemon, and grapefruit are at the forefront, but what really sets this Italian wine apart is its distinct notes of almond. While our Verdicchio can start out tasting a bit tart, the more you sip, the smoother it becomes. In fact, we suggest approaching it as an aperitif (Italian for an alcoholic drink sipped before a meal to stimulate the appetite) to experience its full effect.


Côtes du Rhône White


This was one of our first French wines to join the Passport collection and one sip will explain why. Some background on the Rhône Valley in France: While this region is known for its dark, juicy reds, a very small amount of special white wines are made in the Rhône Valley. Our Côtes du Rhône is packed with French-perfected, floral flavor and Old-World charm. Its natural tang paired with the weighty Marsanne grape and aromatic Roussanne grape results in a crisp, savory sip that’ll transport you to a sunbathing chair by the Rhône itself.


Bordeaux Rouge


When you picture medieval folk sitting around a feast with goblets of wine, chances are they were drinking Bordeaux. This wine has been made in France since forever and is arguably the most classic French wine out there. Bordeaux is known for its full body, smoky notes, and rich, oaky taste. If you love cabs, chances are you will adore Bordeaux. For our Passport wines, we had to include this classic French red for you to sip and enjoy to your heart’s content. Best savored over a rich meal like lamb ragu, ratatouille, or BBQ.

Ventoux Rosé


You probably know that the Tour de France is held on Ventoux Mountain in France, but did you know that the same area is known for its high-altitude rosé? This is the kind of quintessential French rosé that you don’t need to spin your wheels over—it’s simply delicious, crisp, and perfect for warm weather. Despite its delicate, pale pink color, each sip is lush with flavor, from tropical passionfruit and zesty citrus to refreshing melon. This has the potential to be your new summer go-to, so we’d suggest stocking up.



Wild Child

Say “¡Hola!” to Spain’s main grape: Tempranillo. This red grape put Rioja wine on the map and is un vino tinto classico. It’s best compared to a classic cab, but with a bit more unique magic that’s hard to put your finger on, which is why it’s a part of our Wild Child line. This medium- to full-bodied wine with its relatively higher tannins usually offers complex notes of cherry, fig, cedar, tobacco, and dill. This is the type of red wine you want to buy and pour for a Latin-infused meal; think carne asada, tacos al carbon, or just perfectly cooked steak fajita meat.


La Pluma

We knew the only red in the La Pluma collection had to be exceptionally good and exceptionally light. That’s why including a Grenache was a no-brainer. If smooth, fruit-forward, light-bodied reds appeal to your tastebuds, this could be your new favorite. The grape itself is tricky; depending on the climate of where its grown, Grenache wines could be light, dense, or somewhere in the middle. La Pluma’s version has all the airiness and flavor notes we wanted in our Grenache, which is how we know you’ll love it. Get the most of this red by pairing it with roasted meats, spice-heavy vegetables, and Mexican-inspired dishes with lots of cumin.




This grape goes by different names in most European countries, but what remains the same is its fruity floral nature. Delicate in every way and extremely quaffable, this wine is as dainty as they come.



We really try not to play favorites at In Good Taste, but there is just something about an Italian Barbera that hits different in the best way. Barberas are the perfect wine for pizza night; they're low in alcohol, and medium-bodied but taste super light, and their berry and plum flavors pair incredibly well with savory tomato sauce and cheese! Another fun thing about Barberas? They actually taste great when chilled, which is not something we're in the habit of suggesting for our red wines. Our Italian Barbera lies somewhere between the body of a cab and a pinot and is the ideal choice for a "ladies who lunch" kind of afternoon.


Wild Child

We couldn't not have a weird white in the mix, right?! The Vermentino grape is native along the coast of Italy on the island of Sardinia (yeah, like the fish). Because of its origin, this grape offers a salty, crisp flavor that's incredibly easy to drink and enjoy. We say it's "weird" only because it's not widely known by name, but chances are you've probably had it before if you've ever ordered white wine in an Italian restaurant. If you love peaches and lemons and get a kick out of anything that reminds you of the sea, our Vermentino is the perfect Italian white to experience on a sunny day outside.




For the Chardonnay lovers who are looking to dig a bit deeper in the world of bold whites, a Viognier (pronounced vee-own-yay) could be your next big adventure. Viogniers tend to have more range; while they can be creamy with hints of vanilla like their Chardonnay counterpart, they also offer lighter, fruitier flavors like tangerine, mango, and honeysuckle. It’s still a more full-bodied white wine, but unlike Chardonnay, it’s softer on acidity and more perfumed. Spend an afternoon with a glass of Viognier amongst the flowers and it’ll all make sense.


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