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Wine Glass 101: How To Choose The Right Glassware

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Wine Glass 101: How To Choose The Right Glassware

Maybe you've been to Napa five times and have a collection of your favorite vintage wines that you hold on to for special occasions. Then again, perhaps the word "varietal" means nothing to you, but a box of white zinfandel is on the top of your fermented beverage list.

Whether you're a connoisseur or simply an enthusiast, the glassware you use to drink your vino of choice can make your experience that much more enjoyable, especially when those glasses reflect your personality and mesh well with your event (even if that soiree is more of a party for one – on the sofa).

Do You Prefer To Use The Appropriately Shaped Glass?

Just like the appropriate pairings of wine to food that create combinations most pleasing to the palate, there is a perfect glass shape for your particular wine selection. If you prefer to play by the rules, sipping red wine from a champagne flute simply will not do.

  • Large Tulip Glass: Red wine. Larger tulip-shaped glasses with a wide bowl and wider opening are used for red wine to allow air in. It’s the air, after all, that encourages that luxurious scent to fill your glass. These glasses accommodate up to 20 ounces.
  • Small Tulip Glass: White wine. Smaller tulip-shaped glasses are suited to white wines because of their narrower style, which maintains the chilled temperature
  • Slender Flute/Tulip Cuvee Glass: Sparkling wine. Tall, slim glasses that you’ll see handed out during New Year’s Eve.
  • Dessert Glass: Sweet wines. The really sweet ones. Sipping on a fantastically sweet Muscat? This small, rounded glass is it.
  • Port Glass: Port wine. Smaller than a white wine glass with a similarly narrow design.
  • Sherry Glass: Sherry, of course. These smaller glasses, with a tapered or tulip shape, are meant to hold 2 ounces of sherry, liqueur or aperitifs. 

Are You Looking To Add To Your Permanent Stemware Collection?

If you’re looking for the type of wine glassware you’ll pull out during special occasions – the type of glasses you display in your china cabinet – spend a little extra and opt for crystal stemware. Whether you choose a classic clear set or punch up the visual with a jewel tone, beautifully etched crystal is always in style.

Are You Looking For A Fun, Decorative Option For Parties?

You’ll probably want to keep that crystal locked away when throwing a party. From dinner parties to huge celebrations, outfitting attendees with wine glasses is an exciting, laid back experience. Forget the formal wine jargon and bring out the fun, colorful glasses. Polka dots or swirls? It doesn’t matter, as long as the glasses reflect your unique personality.

Do You Prefer An Unconventional Take On The Traditional Glass?

If you’ve ever been holding a wine glass and thought to yourself, “You know, I really don’t need the stem on this glass – I’m holding it by the bowl anyway,” you are a perfect candidate for stemless glassware. Unless you ascribe to a particularly classic aesthetic, this is your go-to wine glass no matter what you’re pouring.

Are You Looking To Match A Particular Home Décor Style?

Extremely formal, ornate wine glasses are not going to go well with your mid-century modern décor! Look for glassware that blends with your existing design aesthetic for a sense that all is well with the world even before you’ve had a single sip.

  • Contemporary: A soft pattern lends an updated touch to otherwise nondescript glassware.
  • Shabby Chic/Vintage-Inspired: An interesting texture and color, much like the lovely varieties of Depression glass, makes your experience feel like a true throwback. Drink from hobnob glasses in a variety of colors.
  • Traditional: Simple, streamlined, classic glasses are perfect.
  • Old World: Go for ornate glasses with luxe detailing for a European flair.
  • Mid-Century Modern: You need an interesting shape in a bold color, such as orange or green, to match the architectural details and color palettes of the time.

Would You Love To Serve Your Wine From Glassware Rather Than The Bottle?

Something about staring at the kooky animal on the label of the wine bottle completely ruins the whole visually pleasing experience of enjoying your favorite wine – especially since you took such great care in selecting your wine glasses. Purchase a decanter for a streamlined, spirited experience.

Choosing your wine glassware can feel overwhelming when you begin. However, since you’re typically not permitted to carry the wine around with you – or drink it – as you peruse your options in-store, going with your instincts is key. Visualize yourself enjoying a glass of wine with friends and if the glass fits, you’ve found yourself a winner.

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