“Can you grab us some wine glasses?” your friend asks as she opens a bottle in the other room. Then, you open the cabinet and realize you had no idea how many types of wine glasses there are.
There are actually six main types of wine glasses to suit different kinds of wine and some of those have three or four subtypes!
No, it’s not overkill or just for looks. Depending on what you’re drinking, you want different shapes of wine glasses to highlight the features of each different type of wine. Let’s take a look at the main types of wine glasses and why they matter for your drinking experience.
1. Champagne Flute
Pop the bubbly and celebrate — a champagne flute is the type of wine glass you want for sparkling wines. This is the tallest and skinniest of wine glasses, giving an elegant appearance in addition to displaying the vertical journey of all those tiny bubbles in the wine that make you feel all the more glamorous.
2. Bordeaux Red Wine Glass
Red wines generally fit into two overall categories: Bordeaux and Burgundy. Bordeaux-produced and inspired wines include sometimes big-bodied types like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc. Red wine wants to “breathe” more, so the wider bowl in a Bordeaux wine glass allows more contact with oxygen to release those fruity flavors. This has an average stem length and a modest curve to the bowl shape.
3. Burgundy Red Wine Glass
Burgundy red wines are essentially just Pinot Noir. The Burgundy wine glass has the widest bowl, which allows you to swirl the wine for more exposure to oxygen, and those aromas build up nicely for your smelling and tasting.
Pro tip: Fill the glass to the widest point of the bowl where the wine has the most surface area exposed to air (this fills only about one-third of the glass).
4. White Wine Glass
The shape of white wine glasses is a little narrower, with a smaller bowl and slight taper that leads to a smaller rim opening. This reduces the amount of surface area the wine is exposed to air (it doesn’t need to breathe as much as red wines do).
Pro tip: Hold only the stem for white wine glasses, so the wine stays chilled longer.
5. Sherry Glass
Who is Sherry, and what does she have to do with my wine glass? This fortified wine, notably from Spain (like true Champagne is from France), can be sweet — but the best are dry. The strong flavor and high alcohol content can pair with bold food, and you don’t need a regular wine glass-sized pour to enjoy the right amount. Similar to a whiskey glass, a Sherry glass holds about three ounces and has a tapered, narrow rim opening.
6. Port Glass
Finishing up with a rich and syrupy sweet dessert wine, port wine deserves small glasses for the small pour size. It’s like a typical Bordeaux glass, only shrunken a couple sizes. The tapered rim opening attempts to focus on the wine’s fruit, spice, and oak characteristics rather than the high alcohol content.
Now that you know about the different types of wine glasses, all you have to decide is what kind of wine you’re drinking next.