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If you’ve ever gone shopping for wine glasses, you know that there are way too many styles to choose from. That’s because every single type of wine, be it a Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel, or Champagne, has its own unique type of glass that accentuates certain properties of these wines. So, do you need them all to enjoy wine the way it was meant to? The short answer is no. By learning how to pair a wine glass with red and white wines of different textures and aromas, you can make do with just two sets of glasses. In this article, we’ll discuss the difference various wine glasses make to the overall experience of drinking, and how to know which glasses you need according to your drinking preferences.

Why Are There So Many Different Wine Glasses?

Wine glasses typically differ in three major ways: the size of the bowl, the height of the frame, and the width of the opening. Depending on what type of wine you’re drinking, these features suit different properties of wines. A bigger glass is better for fuller-bodied wines, allowing them to breathe in the oxygen. Slimmer glasses preserve aroma and bubbles in sparkling wines, while the opening determines how concentrated the aroma is on your nose. Some wines have diverse aromas, and wider openings are needed to accommodate them.

The trend of owning dozens of different styles of wine glasses originates in the 1970s. The Riedel glassware company released a series of glasses that they claimed enhanced the taste of wine by enriching the aromas it emitted. Though recent studies have cast doubt on these claims, this might be a fun experiment to try with a group of friends. Simply have three or four different types of glasses with varying wines poured into them, and take turns tasting all of them. You will be able to sense a subtle variation in aroma, but whether this translates into better tasting wine is suspect and subject to opinion.

How To Choose the Right Glasses That Suit Your Preferences

Red Wine

Red wines generally need glasses with wider bowls to allow the tannins to diffuse their bitterness. They also have wider openings that allow the wine to hit the back of your tongue, allowing for a smoother taste. The traditionally long handles of these glasses make wine easier to swirl, allowing oxygen to enhance its natural flavors and aromas. Another reason for this is keeping your body heat away from the drink, which can warm your wine quicker than normal. Some red wine frames are taller than others depending on how well they react to oxidation, while others have varying bowl sizes based on how full-bodied the drink is. The fuller the wine, the bigger the bowl must be.

Check out this set of red-wine glasses.

White and Sparkling Wine

White wine bowls tend to be smaller than red wine glasses, with slimmer frames and narrower openings. This is because white wines don’t need to be oxidized, and too much contact with oxygen can offset the balance of flavors. They also tend to have weaker aromas that do need room to dissipate. The slim frame helps regulate the temperature, keeping your drink cooler for longer. In sparkling wines, this helps keeps the bubbles on the surface to maintain the fizziness of the drink.

Check out this set of white-wine glasses.

Check out this set of sparkling wine glasses.


If you wish to avoid confusion or don’t wish to bother with the nuances of various glasses, you can simply purchase universal wine glasses that go with every type. These are perfect for those who like to dabble with different wines and want one glass to rule them all.