As a regular or occasional drinker of wine, you may have found yourself wondering what the difference is between red and white wine glasses. Perhaps you just want to avoid an embarrassing social faux pas. The red wine glass is just a little wider – why does it matter if you pick one shape of glass over another? The truth is, you should select the correct wine glass shape as it affects the experience of the tasting.
Red Wine Glass
The bowl of a red wine glass is taller, wider and rounder in shape because this allows for more oxygen to come into contact with the liquid. This helps to enhance both the taste and the smell of the wine – and also why you should give red wine time to breathe once you’ve opened a bottle. The bowl of a red wine glass is wider so that it can be held comfortably in the palm of your hand, as when drinking red wine it does not matter if your body temperature affects the temperature of the wine.
White Wine Glass
White wine glasses tend to have a smaller bowl as they don’t require oxidation like red wine does. In fact, oxidation is likely to mask the delicate overtones of the wine. This means that many white wine glasses have a smaller mouth to reduce the surface area, to preserve a crisper clean flavor. White wine should be drank by holding the stem – as it is often served chilled it helps to prevent the temperature being affected by warm hands.
Sparkling champagne will be served in flutes, which are designed to be even thinner – this is so that it is exposed to even less oxygen so that it will retain its fizz for longer.
Size and Shape
You’ll notice the differences that the size and shape of a glass make to the flavor and smell of a drink if you test it with a drink you’re more familiar with on a daily basis. For example, if you try your normal tea or coffee in a plastic or polystyrene cup, you’ll notice the experience is not as enjoyable. The material of your cup or mug will affect the taste, the smell and possibly its coloring.
So when choosing a wine glass to buy, if in doubt, think about how your senses will be affected during the tasting experience. For example a clear, colorless glass will allow you to fully appreciate the color of your drink, while a large glass will allow you to value the aroma. Choose wine glasses with a large enough stem to hold when serving so that you don’t leave fingerprints on the stem. Forever Crystal is a good bet for wine glasses to suit any taste and budget – from contemporary to traditional, they’ve got it covered.
If you’re a new wine drinker, the Sunday Times Wine Club will be able to answer many other questions you may have, such as the best way to taste wine, the ideal temperature to serve and how to store your wine properly.
By Gemma Benning. This post was been written in partnership with Forevercrystal.co.uk and Gemma, to bring you the best advice on wine etiquette. Gemma has been working in events and promotions for the last three years and is currently working on a super yatch.