Wine Glasses - Stemware
Choosing the right types of wine glasses
is necessary in order to completely enjoy a certain type of wine. Many
different styles exist in varying degrees of quality, ranging from
expensive crystal to cheap stemware. Though the choice of wine glass is
purely based upon individual preferences, wine experts have advised the
use of certain stemware. This report will examine these types of wine
and discuss their attributes, relating to the flavor of wine they are
meant to be used with. This will be accomplished through the use of the
1. Choosing types of Wine Glasses
2. Using a Wine Glass
3. White Wine
3.1.3. Sauvignon Blanc
4. Red Wine
4.1.2. Pinot Noir
6. Dessert/Ice Wines
7. Champagne/Sparkling Wines
8. Wine Glass Temperatures
9. Washing your Wine Glasses
9.1.3. Cleaning/Baking Soda
10. Storing your Wine Glasses
11. Proper Tasting Technique
Choosing Wine Glasses
When choosing a wine glass, regardless of the type of wine, pay close
attention to the material from which it is made. Make sure the glass is
plain and clear. Dyed/frosted glass will not allow for an appreciation of
the wines color, which can tell the drinker how old the wine is, what
types of grapes were used, and so on. Crystal glasses, unless of the
finest quality, can distort or skew the view of the wine, and should be
used only by more experienced drinkers.
Next, choose a glass with a large enough bowl. It should be of sufficient
size to allow for a generous pour and still leave plenty of room for
swirling, which releases the aromas from the wine. The shape of the bowl
is also important. It should taper in near the top and have a wide base.
This concentrates the aromas and directs them upwards after a good swirl.
Most importantly, the glass should have a stem, no matter if it is for
white or red wine. The bowls on glasses without much of a stem tend to get
covered in greasy fingerprints, which disrupt the inspection of the wine.
Using a Wine Glass
Every expert agrees that a wine glass should be held by the stem only,
whether it is for red or white wines. Not only will this deter the
appearance of fingerprints, as discussed above, but it will help to ensure
that the wine stays at its desired temperature. If the glass is held by
the bowl, body heat will transfer from the palm into the wine, warming it
at a consistent rate. If the wine reaches a temperature of 24 degrees
Celsius or above, the alcohol present in the wine will give a sharp bite
to the taste.
Because of the serving size (3 oz.), glasses crafted for white wine tend
to have a smaller bowl then red wine glasses. It is not uncommon to find
that white wine glasses have a longer stem and smaller base then their red
counterparts. This section will examine three different types of white
Chardonnay glasses have a wide bowl and a slightly tapered top. The volume
can be anywhere from 5 7 ounces, leaving plenty of room for swirling and
sipping. Possessing a longer stem, Chardonnay glasses are focused on
keeping the wine as cool as possible
Narrower and taller than Chardonnay glasses,
Riesling glasses are made to
concentrate the fruity aromas in the upper portion of the glass. The
volume ranges from 6 7 ounces, and a longer stem keeps the wine chilled;
the sweet nature of Riesling calls for a cool serving.
The perfect Sauvignon Blanc glass is tall and slim, offering the freshness
and aromas of the wine on the nose. The glass has a long stem and narrow
bowl, slightly tapered at the top. The volume ranges from 5 6 ounces.
Red wine glasses have a much larger bowl and tend to be wider than white
wine glasses. This is because of the serving size (4 5 ounces) and the
strong aromas and flavors associated with red wines; more space for the
wine to breathe results in a wider bouquet and a more pleasurable
experience. The opening of the glass is wider as well, allowing the
drinker to get a good whiff of the bouquet. Three of the more popular red
wines glasses will be examined here.
*Pictures courtesy of www.riedel.com
Merlot glasses have a large bowl with a slightly tapered top. The volume
of the bowl typically reaches 30 ounces, leaving lots of room for swirling
and bouquets. The stem is of average length, and the base is wider than
other red wine glasses.
Pinot Noir Wine
Because Pinot Noir is a fruity wine, it is common to find quality glasses
with the rim turned out to direct the intense flavors immediately to the
palette. The bowl of the
pinot noir wine glass is wide and large, having a 35 ounce capacity and a
tapered top. The stem is shorter than other red wine glasses.
Glasses made for Shiraz and syrah tend to be smaller than other red wine
varieties. The bowl generally has a 20 ounce capacity and is severely
tapered inwards. The glass has a mid-size stem and wide base. The shape of
the bowl is intended to first present the fruit aromas, followed by the
Due to the sugars, high level of alcohol and intense taste of port, the
port glass is finely tuned. Having a volume of 8 9 ounces, the shape is
small and slender. This style helps to mask the overwhelming alcohol
odors emitted and instead focuses the bouquet on the subtle oak,
blackcurrant and pepper prevalent in good port wine.
Dessert and Ice Wines
Ice wines and other sweet wines require a specialized glass. The volume
ranges from 11 13 ounces and the bowl is highly tapered. The shape of
the bowl allows for a generous swirl, while still maintaining ideal wine
to air ratios. As well, the ice
wine glass design succeeds in accentuating the acidity of
the wine, balancing the overwhelming sweetness.
Champagne and sparkling wine are served in glasses called flutes. The
flute is a tall, slender glass designed to concentrate the bubbles of a
liquid on the tip of the tongue. The shape conveys the rich scent of
Champagne immediately upon sipping. The volume of the bowl ranges from 6
8 ounces and the base is wide to provide stability.
Wine Glass Temperatures
Wine glasses should be served at roughly the same temperature that the
wine itself will have. For white wines, the glass temperature should be
between 8 10 degrees Celsius, light red wines around 14 degrees Celsius,
and full bodied reds between 16 17 degrees Celsius. Try to avoid putting
the glass in direct sunlight, as this will quickly alter the temperature.
These measurements are suggested temperatures, but if the wine is warmer
than the glass, dew drops will form on the interior, thereby obstructing
the view of the wine. Chill wine glasses appropriately to your tastes.
Washing your Wine Glasses
Though it may seem trivial, washing your wine glass properly is important
to ensure that the wine is not tainted or skewed by water spots. There are
numerous methods and recommendations on how to wash a wine glass, and this
section will discuss the more practical ones.
As the name implies, this method involves simply rinsing the glass in hot
water over and over again until all residual wine is gone. Do not dry with
a towel or use a cloth. When finished, turn the glass over and rest it on
a clean towel to air dry. If there are lipstick stains, gently rub your
fingers over the dirty spot while running it under hot water until it
squeaks and no lipstick is present.
For an extra shine, steam the rinsed wine glass over boiling water and
then allow to air dry upside down on the towel.
Add one drop of very mild detergent to each glass you are washing and
gently wash the glass with a clean cloth in warm water. Repeat this
procedure until the wine stain is removed. Afterwards, rinse the glass
repeatedly until absolutely no soap bubbles remain. Soap scum will taint
the wine glass and interfere with the taste and aroma of your wine.
This method is only generally used on crystal or expensive glass. Mix the
cleaning soda in the glass with warm water and gently swirl it around. The
soda will clean the glass and absorb any leftover wine stains. Though this
method takes a little longer, the result will be a streak-free and
Only to be used with shorter-stemmed and inexpensive wine glasses, the
dishwasher is an efficient way to clean numerous glasses at once. Use a
little less detergent than you normally would, and allow the dishwasher to
complete the washing phase. Set the drying level to the lowest possible
setting and allow the glasses to dry. When the drying phase is done,
immediately remove the glasses and wipe them down with a clean towel. Any
remaining stains should be removed using one of the previous methods.
Storing your Wine Glasses
Wine glasses should be kept in a separate location from other glasses and
hung upside down. This ensures that the glasses are not chipped or damaged
when retrieving them. Experts suggest having a wine glass rack built to
the underside of a counter or bar, leaving them easily accessible.
On the rack, wine glasses should be spaced no less than Ό of an inch from
the next glass.
Crystal wine glasses should be kept as far away from sources of odors as
possible. This includes coffee makers, spice cupboards, and the like.
Because crystal is more porous than glass, it can easily absorb foreign
odors and then impart that odor to the wine.
Also, if there are smokers in the household, be sure that wine glasses are
stored in a well ventilated area. Tobacco smoke attaches itself to most
surfaces, and wine glasses are no exception. This can lead to a foul
Proper Tasting Techniques
Firstly, inspect the wine; it is best to view against a light colored
background. The color of the wine will hint at its age; a darker red wine
indicates youthfulness, while a fading red alludes to age. White wine will
also fade with age.
Next, give the wine a gentle swirl in the glass. Swirling allows for more
wine to come in contact with the air, which releases subtle aromas. At
this point, take a strong whiff near the top of the wine glass. The scent
of young wines will be strong and fruity, while mature wines will release
secondary aromas of earth or wood.
Now, the actually tasting. A sip of wine should be taken into the mouth
and held there; do not swallow right away. The aromas from the wine will
permeate through the upper airway and through the nasal area. It is with
these aromas that wine is truly tasted. Breathe in and out through the
nose, or slurp some air in from the mouth to release more aromas.
The wine will change as it is held in the mouth. First impressions are
referred to as the fore palate, followed by the mid and end palate. Each
stage will convey subtle flavors and scents.
The next step in tasting wine is to swallow a small amount. This conveys
still more flavors to the palate and will leave a lingering taste in the
mouth, which is referred to as the length; different wines will have
different lengths, with the general rule stating that a longer length
means a higher quality wine.
Lastly, spit out the remainder of the wine. This is especially important
at wine-tasting functions to avoid inebriation.
Wine glasses are as important to a drinking experience as the wine itself.
Without proper stemware, the subtleties and aromas of the wine are lost to
the air. This report shows that the wine glass is a subjective instrument,
adaptable for any type of wine.