Whether red or white, sweet or dry, light or robust, wine is one beverage that needs specific serving rituals to reach the full flavor potential. Along with having the correct serving temperatures, every type of wine needs a specific type of wine glass. To make the most out of your entire wine collection and fill your table, we’re going to outline the 18 most common types of wine glasses available on the market.
Wine Glass Anatomy
A wine glass has four major parts to it, and they include the stem, base, rim, and bowl. The base is what makes the glass stable. From the base, the stem elongates that glass while giving you a small and slender space to grip without raising the wine’s temperature inside of the glass. It also prevents you from getting fingerprints on the bowl of the type of wine glass.
The bowl is the part that sits on top of the stem. The bowl is the most important feature on your glass. You want it to be big enough to allow you to swirl the wine comfortably without splashing or spilling it. It should also be tapered to help retain and concentrate the wine’s aroma. Any full-bodied red wine needs plenty of room to breathe and release their unique aroma. So, you’ll need a larger bowl when you serve this wine. On the other hand, white wines require you to have smaller types of wine glasses, and they’re more narrow than red wine glasses with a U shape.
This allows the wine to have enough room to release the atoms but it also helps to keep them at a cooler temperature that white wine requires. Flutes are types of wine glasses that you typically use to serve sparkling wines because they allow the bubbles to last longer.
The uppermost portion of the bowl is the rim. A thinner rim will be much less distracting as you sip your wine, and the smooth rim won’t impede your wine’s flow as it goes to your mouth from the glass. Rounder, thicker rims are a sign of a cheapy type of wine glass. They do serve their purpose, but they can also distract the drinker.
Having so many different types of wine glasses available make it challenging to narrow down exactly which type you need. The type will depend on the wine you like to drink. _MG_2391 by Ralf Smallkaa / CC BY 2.0
Understanding a Standard Pour of Wine
For the standard pour of wine, there is no legal measure. However, if you’re in the restaurant industry, you know it’s roughly five ounces. This allows the host of sommeliers to get roughly five glasses out of a 750 milliliter bottle of wine. Some restaurants will pour six ounces and some pour less, depending on the wine’s price tag. Some glasses have pour lines on them to ensure you get precise amounts each time you pour.
For wine tastings, you’ll typically get two ounces of wine per glass. This gives you enough to taste and smell the wine without getting a buzz too fast. Also, dessert wines usually get served in two ounce pours since they’re higher in alcohol and sweeter than other wines.
The size of your specific type of wine glass also decides how much wine you pour. A smaller glass can make it seem like there is more wine per pour, and a big balloon glass will make a generous pour look light. Sparkling wine usually gets poured in five or six ounce servings, like red or white wine, but it can look like a lighter pour because of the flute’s shape. You don’t want to overfill your type of wine glass because the extra space is left intentionally to hold aromas.
As the name suggests, this type of wine glass allows you to manually aerate the wine. If you want to ensure that your wine is well aerated before you drink it, this is the perfect pick for you. Instead of having to aerate the wine and pour it into the glass, you can aerate it manually while you pour yourself a drink. The goal is to find one that combines beauty and function.
This type of wine glass is commonly used as a larger glass, and they’re great to have around because they’re extremely versatile. You can use them with reds that need a lot of air to breathe, and they work well for white wine like chardonnay because they have a larger opening that lets a large amount of aroma escape. Anyone who uses them loves the long stem on this glass because it stops the drink from getting too warm.
The bordeaux type of wine glass has a smaller bowl perched on a slim and tall stem. They are the tallest red wine glass, but they have a lot smaller bowl than you’ll find on other types of wine glasses.
This is a great glass for more full-bodied wines like Cabernet or Merlot, and the shape ensures that you can have the best possible experience every time you use them when you entertain out on your patio. Sine this is a taller type of wine glass, when you drink out of it, the wine easily travels to the back of your mouth instead of staying right by the tip of your tongue.
In turn, you get to taste all of the complex flavors of your wine without it being too much to drink or bitter. Wine drinkers find that this helps if the wine you’re choosing to drink is slightly young or doesn’t have the rich, full flavors that Bordeaux traditionally has associated with it.
Burgundy red types of wine glasses have a wider but more shallow bowl with a very slim stem. They’re special glasses that have a wider bowl than the Bordeaux glasses. The bowl is larger so you can accommodate some of the wine’s aromas that are slightly more delicate. Due to this glass’s shape, the drinker experiences tasting the wine first on the tip of your tongue before traveling throughout your mouth.
Having the wine land directly on the tip of your tongue ensures that you can fully smell and taste the more delicate wine, and it also prevents you from missing any of the nice nuances that can be tied to that particular glass of wine. Some of these types of wine glasses come with a shorter stem that will keep the wine glass stable by reducing the risk of it toppling over. However, the stems are long enough that you can swirl the wine to aerate it to get the best smell and taste.
The lip on this glass is usually very thin, and this helps you keep the wine in front of your mouth. It also makes them easy to drink out of.
Cabernet types of wine glasses have a slim and tall stem with a sleek interface. It’s all of the tallest red wine glasses, and they get specially created to intensify the wine’s smell. They focus and magnify it because of the shape, and this makes drinking from them a very enjoyable experience. Also, because the glass’s bowl is so wide, the wine will be able to breathe properly. The aroma gets captured by the more narrow mouth.
It’s important to note that when you’re using this type of wine glass, you don’t want to overfill it because it’s a lot better for the smell, taste, and enjoyment of the wine to have smaller quantities poured into the glass. This will give you a wine that is fragrant if you drink it. This is a very common problem because many people tend to overpour due to it being a larger glass. However, never pour more wine than can fill the widest part of the bowl.
A Cabernet glass has slightly more narrow openings on them that allow the aroma to get trapped right by the mouth of the glass. Cabernet sauvignon swirl by andrew tjahyadi / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
This type of wine glass comes with a U-shaped, smooth bowl. Generally speaking, any glass designed for white wine will have a more upright U-shape bowl than those that are created for red wine. A good Chardonnay glass will have a similar shape to a Pinot Noir glass, but it’s smaller. It’s great for younger white wine because it has a slightly bigger opening, and this directs the wine to the tip of your tongue and the sides instead of to the back of your mouth.
This allows you to really enjoy the wine’s sweetness. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy wine that may not seem sweet enough because the larger opening allows you to get a good taste out of every sip. This type of wine glass also comes with a wide bowl at the top that only gets a small bit narrower. The shape of this glass ensures that you can fully enjoy the deliciousness and intensity of your wine.
Flute types of wine glasses are skinnier and taller than other wine glasses, and this protects against carbonation while ensuring that your wine stays bubbly while you drink it. The longer stem helps to ensure that the heat from your hand doesn’t negatively impact your drink’s quality. The height of your glass also does more than ensure your wine stays carbonated. It also improves how the drink looks and makes it much more appetizing.
8. Pinot Noir
Pinoy Noir types of wine glasses look fine and sleek. They have the widest bowl possible of any white or red wine glass. In turn, you’ll get wine that has as much contact with the air as it possibly can to help improve the flavor and aroma. The bowl is big enough for you to swirl the wine, and the crystal-clear glass will let you see the wine as you do so.
You’ll get a slightly shorter stem than other red wine glasses. The easiest way to distinguish them from other red wine glass types is to look at the rim. The rim gets turned out from the glass, and this directs the smell and flavor of your wine to your mouth and nose. It’s a great choice for capturing the intensity of your wine.
Traditionally, this type of wine glass is a little thinner and smaller than a Bordeaux glass, but it has a very similar shape. This glass can easily accommodate between 6 and 12 ounces, you don’t really want to fill it more than halfway full to ensure you can still enjoy the wine’s aroma.
This type of wine glass comes with a very long stem to help ensure that heat from your hand doesn’t negatively impact the wine. You can find ones with a shorter bowl and a flared lip and others have a short bowl with a shorter taper. Both of them are fine for drinking this wine, but the glass with the flared lip works better for a younger wine.
This is a generally less sweet wine than you’ll get with aged ones, and the flared lip on the glass directs the wine to your sensitive-sweet taste buds. In turn, this gets rid of any unpleasant aftertaste while maximizing the sweetness of hte drink. A more mature wine will do better in a glass with a shorter taper.
As the name suggests, this type of wine glass was made to hold sherry. They look very similar to a port wine glass. You’ll get a longer stem to prevent warming the wine up by holding the glass, and it offers a very small opening for your mouth. This mouth style directs the aroma to your nose to ensure that you’re able to enjoy the smallest drink nuances.
Sherry glasses are usually very ornate, and they allow you to pour a smaller serving of sherry and make it look much larger. Sherry by jypsygen / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Sparkling glasses have a much narrower design than you’ll get on most types of wine glasses. They’re perfectly upright, and this shape helps the glass keep the wine’s carbonation while allowing it to play on your tongue as you drink. People like using these glasses because they promote carbonation while other glasses with wider bowls would make it go flat very quickly.
You get to enjoy the aroma and taste of the wine when you have your first drink because of the small opening and the glass’s shape. The drink hits the tip of your tongue right away. The glass’s shape also allows the wine’s aromas to flow upwards, and this makes it easy to smell the aroma. A wider base is very important because it ensures that your tall class doesn’t fall over and get broken and spill.
This is a special-occasion type of wine glass that can be beautifully decorated to make each drink you have in it seem like a celebration. Some companies are also making these glasses with a bowl that extends all of the way through the glass’s stem.
There are many people who enjoy this unique design, but it does allow your hand’s warmth to heat up your drink relatively quickly. This will cause your drink to lose carbonation and go flat much quicker than if you had a type of wine glass with a longer stem.
Stemless glasses have seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years, but you do have to be very careful when you use them because you don’t want the warmth from your hand to impact the drink. You won’t have to worry about accidentally knocking the glass over since it doesn’t have a stem, you do have to decide if this safety factor is worth worrying about your wine’s temperature as you drink it.
14. Sweet Wine
Designed for use with dessert and sweeter wines, this type of wine glass is much smaller with a smaller rim than other white wine glasses. This makes them great for directing wine to the back of your mouth when you drink it. This ensures that you can enjoy the wine’s sweetness while making sure it’s not overwhelming and you can still enjoy the feel and taste of the wine.
Also, swirling the wine will help emphasize the acid content, and this can help combat the heavy sweetness that you can find present in some sweeter wine varieties. Since dessert wines usually have a higher alcohol content than other types of white wine, you can enjoy a smaller serving. The petite size of this glass makes them great for having an after-dinner drink. Thanks to the rim’s taper, they’re relatively easy to swirl while keeping a good balance between wine and air.
Vintage types of wine glasses have a lot of charm, and they’re great in traditional decorating styles. They’re not always the best glass to drink out of though. Since they don’t get specially designed to improve the smell and flavor of your wine, they will make some wines taste better while being hit or miss when you use them.
Even knowing this, a lot of people choose them since they’re so attractive and conjure up happy feelings. They come in several designs from cut crystal to plain glass, and this allows you to make your drink as you prefer it. The biggest issue with these glasses is that the bowl is so wide that your wine gets a huge amount of contact with the air. Also, the wider bowl can be tricky to balance, so it’s much easier to accidentally spill your wine than using a more streamlined, taller glass.
If you’re more concerned with appearance over function and you want your wine to have a lot of contact with the air, then you’ll love how this type of wine glass looks and feels. They should have a heavy and wide enough base to help counteract any heavy liquid that you’ll pour in. You should also always pick them up by the stem to ensure that you don’t warm your wine from your hand’s heat.
This type of wine glass comes with a wider rim and a smaller bowl than you’ll get with a sweet wine glass. It’s important that this glass type has a smaller bowl so your wine won’t get a lot of contact with the air because oxygen can destroy the aromatic notes that people adore this wine for.
This wine’s aromatics usually include peaches, violets, pears, and minerals. These are more delicate notes and it’s important that you do everything you can to protect them. You usually drink these wines young, and they tend to be sweeter. The glass’s shape ensures that you get a nice drinking experience. You won’t have to worry about missing a few floral aromas in this wine when you pick out a high-quality Viognier type of wine glass.
The shape of the glass itself and the more broad base that this glass is known for ensures that you won’t accidentally tip it over as it has a lower center of gravity to prevent it from spilling.
These are more simple looking types of wine glasses that allow you to get an excellent drinking experience each time you use it. VineTastingsViognier by mswine / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and other types of white wine are best drunk out of a type of wine glass with a narrow bowl. The red counterparts get enhanced by oxidation, but too much air can compromise the bright, light flavors that embody white wine. The narrow opening and the narrow bowl also help keep your wine chilled. The wine gets focused on the center of your tongue to help highlight the welcome notes and neutralize the acidity.
The final type of wine glass on the list is the Zinfandel. It’s a bit shorter than the Bordeaux and it has a larger rim. This will help you get the full flavor and smell of the wine you’re drinking. You’ll want to get glasses that have a thin rim because any glass with a bumpy or thick rim will detract from the overall drinking experience.
Thicker rims on this type of wine glass also impede how well the wine flows into your mouth. You want nothing in the way when you drink a lighter wine like Zinfandel. The bowl is also smaller than the Cabernet or Bordeaux, but it’s large enough to allow the wine room to breathe. This can improve the wine’s overall flavor profile.
You can use a Bordeaux type of wine glass to drink this wine, but you’ll enjoy it much more if you use the correct glass.
Four Common Wine Glass Materials
When you pick out your type of wine glass, you should consider the setting and how often you’ll use them, as well as how much maintenance you’re willing to do.
Affordable and durable, this wine glass allows you to entertain large groups of family and friends when you want to host more casual events out in your garden. The stronger material makes it worry-free to use them because they can withstand drops without breaking. Also, most acrylic glasses will go right into your dishwasher to clean, and this makes picking up after events a breeze. You can get stylish stemless acrylic wine glasses too.
Crystal is much stronger than glass, so this type of wine glass is thinner yet decently durable. The thinness of the glass’s rim lets the wine seamlessly transition onto your tongue. It can heighten the look and feel of your wine tasting experience, and it elevates the overall appearance by reflecting light to create a sparkling effect. Crystal is a porous material, so you want to hand wash it. There are lead-free crystal glasses that are dishwasher-safe, but not all are. So, you have to double-check the care instructions before you wash it.
Handmade or mouth blown glass uses thousand-year-old techniques to create them. This type of wine glass is more expensive than mass-produced ones due to the higher artistry levels, and it can take up to four people to make a single glass. Each glass will be unique. If you want a wine glass that is more formal and gives you a unique drinking experience, try handmade glasses. You have to check the care instructions to see if you can put them in the dishwasher or hand wash them.
Finally, if you want a type of wine glass that is less expensive to buy and replace and more casual, consider machine-made. The technology used to create these glasses has evolved, and it can be hard to tell the difference between hand blown and machine-made wine glasses. You can now produce machine-made, high-quality types of wine glasses in large volumes, and this brings the price down. Most of these glasses are dishwasher-safe, but you want to put them in a top rack to keep anything from clinking as they wash.
We’ve outlined 18 different types of wine glasses you should consider adding to your collection. They can enhance your wine drinking experience and help bring out all of those lovely notes that you can find in high-quality wines.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.