If you’re someone who likes to enjoy a glass of wine every now and then, you probably know the feeling of having a perfectly good bottle of vino but nowhere to drink it from. As a matter of fact, you’ve probably experienced drinking wine from an ordinary glass or even a mug or plastic cup. However, do you really need to drink your wine from an actual glass? Does drinking from a wine glass even make a difference?
Before we deep dive into the physics of it all, let’s take a quick glance at the different parts of a wine glass.
First is the Rim, which happens to be the thinnest part of the glass. A thin rim affects the taste of the wine, as it influences how smooth it flows into your mouth. Meanwhile, the Bowl is where your wine is carried, and it is also the widest part of the glass. Usually, the bowl narrows towards the rim: this is a way to trap aromas in the glass, allowing you to better smell the complexity your wine has to offer.
Next up, we have the Stem, which is basically what we hold onto when enjoying a glass of wine. It’s generally thin and long and prevents you from holding the bowl directly — doing so will warm the wine and bring out unwanted levels of acidity and tannins. This plays a significant role in being able to smell and taste your wine, especially with whites. And finally, you have the Base, a flat and stable glass section that keeps it upright.
You might think: how come some people are such sticklers for what type of glass they use? Simply put, 90% of the wine drinking experience comes from your sense of smell, and the drinking vessel's general shape can greatly affect how you perceive the aromas and flavors of your drink. This is where the parts of your wine glass and how they’re shaped come to play. Typically, the wider the bowl is, the greater the surface area that the wine is exposed to; this allows your wine to have more interaction with oxygen, which in turn allows more aromas to be released. These are characteristics you don’t normally get from other vessels like a mug or a normal glass.
The stem also has an intricate role in the overall experience, which has something to do with the temperature your wine is served. Being able to hold onto the stem lessens the chances of accidentally bringing up the temperature of your vino. Just to see exactly how different vessels affect the drink, our experts did an experiment and compared how the same bottle of wine would taste if served in a paper cup, coffee mug, water goblet, and wine glass.
Now that we’ve established that drinking wine from a proper glass really makes a difference, it’s time to ask what kind of glass is best to drink your favorite wine from. With the number of glasses available in the market today, we know that choosing one can be a little overwhelming. Here are some things to remember about how different wines may vary depending on the glass.
A bottle of red has more tannins, and will generally be more full-bodied than a white. They benefit from glasses with larger bowls, since a larger bowl allows more aeration, allowing its flavors to open up more. It also has a larger visible surface area, which makes it easier to see the color and viscosity of the wine. Additionally, a wide bowl with a tapered shape then traps aromas inside the glass, giving you a better whiff of all the notes enveloped in the vino. So if you’re drinking a red, it’s better to choose a glass that has a wider bowl and is tapered so that the bolder, fuller flavors can “breathe”. Some popular types of red wine glasses that you might have encountered are large Bordeaux Glasses that are commonly used for fuller bodied wines like Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, and Bordeaux blends. You also have Bourgogne Glasses that are ideal for aromatic wines with a touch of delicateness to them, perfect for Pinot Noirs and Gamays. And lastly, you can never go wrong with Standard Red Wine Glasses that are typically used for medium to full bodied reds like a bottle of Malbec or Shiraz.
On the other hand, whites don’t require as much contact with air. They are, however, more temperature sensitive, and this quickly affects the taste and the smell of your wine. Typically, white wine glasses have smaller and shorter bowls to preserve your wine’s floral aromas and so it can maintain a cooler temperature. The shorter bowl allows the wine to be closer to the nose, which is helpful to get a white’s more subtle aromas. Another distinguishing feature is its long stem. A wine can do well when it has a greater distance between the stem and your hands, seeing that your body heat could raise the white wine’s temperature. There are actually two types of white wine glasses you’d often see. First is the Standard White Wine Glass great for maintaining that cool temperature and the other is a Chardonnay Glass with a slightly wider bowl that collects aromas of fuller bodied whites. So if you’re drinking white wine, as a general guide, choose a glass that has a shorter, smaller bowl, and a longer stem.
Ultimately, you can drink wine from anywhere if you’re just after its "therapeutic" benefits. However, to really savor and enjoy the experience, we here at Winery.ph believe that there really is a world of difference when you drink out of a proper wine glass. So if you’re someone who would really like to relish and appreciate a good bottle of wine, it would be best to invest in some wine glasses because you wouldn’t be giving your bottle justice if you don’t give it the right vessel to open up. However, whether you should get separate sets of glasses for whites, reds, and specialty wine is totally up to you! Some would recommend it so that you could fully enjoy the drink, but for others, especially if you’re just starting out, a universal wine glass set would work just fine. At the end of the day, wine is meant to be enjoyed and savored, so as long as you get to do that, then to you, we say, cheers!