A Guide to Different Types of Wine Glasses

No matter which type of wine you prefer, there’s almost certainly a glass that’s tailor-made for it. But how do you know which one to choose?

Here’s a guide to the different types of wine glasses, so you can make the right choice next time you uncork a bottle. 

The structure of a wine glass

Before choosing a wine glass, it helps to know the features shared by almost all varieties. Wine glasses are generally made up of a:

Base: this is the stabilising area at the foot of the stem.

Stem: a narrow stretch of glass or crystal that connects the bowl with the base and provides a holding point. Stemless glasses omit this part and look more like a tumbler. 

Bowl: the vessel for the wine itself. This should be large enough to swirl the wine without spillage while also providing the right amount of air contact to promote oxidation and release the aroma. 

Rim: the very edge of the bowl where the wine is sipped. High-quality wine glasses have a thin rim for a non-distracting tasting experience and ease of drinking. 

Why are there different shapes of wine glasses?

While choosing the proper glass is an important component of wine-drinking etiquette, it can also improve the taste itself. 

The shape and size of the bowl impact flavour by determining how much of the wine’s surface is exposed to open air. The resulting oxygen contact releases aromas which gather between the wine and the rim, significantly enhancing the taste. For this reason, no matter the shape of the glass, it’s important to ensure there’s always room for these aromas to gather - never fill your glass to the brim. 

What are the different types of wine glasses?

Red wine glasses

Red wine glasses generally have a larger bowl than white wine glasses, allowing full-bodied reds a chance to breathe and release their more subtle aromas. The large opening also allows you to get up close to the wine for maximum appreciation of the nose. 

Shop Waterford’s range of crystal red wine glasses for pinot noir, bordeaux, merlot and more. 

White wine glasses

White wine glasses come in many different varieties - from narrow sauvignon blanc glasses to wider ones for full-flavoured whites, such as chardonnay. Generally, however, they tend to have a smaller bowl so excess oxidation doesn’t interfere with a white wine’s crisp taste and cooler serving temperature. 

Enjoy white wine at its most crisp and refreshing with Waterford’s crystal white wine glasses.

Stemless wine glasses

Stemless wine glasses can be found in all the same bowl sizes and shapes as other red and white glasses, but without the fragile stem. Waterford’s stemless wine glasses are perfect for contemporary table settings and a convenient choice when it comes to cleaning and storage. 

Champagne flutes

Champagne flutes are tall glasses with narrow mouths, designed specifically to preserve the carbonation in sparkling wines. Discover Waterford’s crystal champagne flutes in time for your next special toast. 

Explore our guide to champagne glasses.

Multipurpose wine glasses

Multipurpose wine glasses are a pragmatic choice for those with limited space or anyone who prefers a single, special occasion set to use no matter the bottle being opened. Waterford’s range of multipurpose crystal wine glasses are suitable for almost any wine. 

How to hold a wine glass

Holding a wine glass by the stem is a safe option that doesn’t leave you with unsightly fingerprints on the bowl, or a wine that has been warmed by the palm of your hand. Simply pinch the stem between your thumb and two or more fingers.

If you’re using a stemless glass, you can support the bowl in your palm or hold the top of the glass near the rim between all fingers to prevent warming the wine. 

Discover the decadence of crystal wine glasses

Whether it’s a contemplative glass of red after dinner or a celebratory champagne toast, Waterford’s range of crystal glassware can elevate any wine to a new level of excellence. 

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