Wine Glasses -- Do They Make a Difference?

Cecil’s answer to this question was very comprehensive. My feeling is this: you need one good glass for reds, and one for whites. The shapes and sizes will be slightly different because of the variation in body, aroma, and other characteristics of fine wines.

I’ve NEVER understood why wine shops that do tastings give the product to you in little plastic or paper cups, because wine just plain doesn’t taste right in them. You do need the proper shape to aerate the wine when you swirl and to direct the liquid to the right places on your tongue. A comparative tasting with Georg and Max Riedel convinced me of that.

However, there are some specialized wine glasses that are worth having on the shelf. I like the Helicium glass that I discovered at VinExpo in Bordeaux a few years ago. It has raised vertical ridges around the bottom of the bowl that help to aerate the wine when you swirl, and bring out the flavor…sort of like instant decanting.
Jerry Greenfield
Author of “Secrets of the Wine Whisperer”


Most likely, if they used real glasses rather than disposables, local health codes might require a food service quality dishwasher.

That and the fact that a lot of people would either break them or steal them. The wineries get around that by including the souvenir glass in the price of the tasting.

I think that it only counts if you have the palate and experience to be able to discern the difference in taste/aroma between different glasses.

Even at that, you have to be drinking fairly good wine for it to be worth the trouble.

So in short, it’s for pretentious wine snobs or the vanishingly few actual wine connoisseurs out there.

The rest of us can get away with one type of wine glass, or even red solo cups if need be.

I disagree completely. Sparkling wines don’t belong in a glass designed for a red wine. You really need three types of glass minimum for wines of a higher quality than Boone’s Farm.

Do you need a glass for every style? Of course not. But nothing tastes best out of a red Solo cup. Not even free beer.

That was a bit of an exaggeration, but 99% of people aren’t going to notice any difference between drinking their cabernet sauvignon out of a chardonnay glass, or their chardonnay out of a cab/merlot glass.

Hell, I wouldn’t notice the difference either a lot of the time, especially after the first few glasses! :smiley:

Here in NJ, too.

Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Boards, winewhisperer, we’re glad you found us.

For future ref, when you start a thread, it’s helpful to provide a link to the column in question. Saves search time and keeps us (mostly) on the same page. No biggie, I’ve added it to your initial post, and (as I say) welcome indeed!

Several years ago, we went to a highly regarded French restaurant for a lovely dinner. We overheard the maitre-d’ angrily chewing out a waiter. He was outraged that the waiter had served red wine to a nearby table in white wine glasses.:rolleyes:

We had fancy wine glasses at home, and we were growing weary of the fragility of them. It seemed that if two glasses gently bumped in the hot soapy water, one or both would break.

Then we went to a humbly furnished Italian place in a wealthy suburb. The menu said they presented their food and wine as it would be served in homes in Italy. We drank distinguished wine in small cylindrical glasses. After that, I got some “juice glasses”; rather prettier than the simple glasses there, but still cylindrical. As a bonus, they’re easily washed in the dishwasher.

I know a good deal about wine, the rituals, all the right buzzwords and such. I refuse to be a wine snob, though.

That’s how even restaurants serve relatively nondescript table wine in Italy. IIRC, more distinguished stuff get normal wine glasses though.

That’s my experience as well. Vin ordinaire gets the juice glasses. The better stuff gets better glassware.

That’s my experience too lol

Wine also tastes good in the squat tumbler glasses in hotels. Maybe for me it’s because it has much more surface proportion to air out and I tend to drink wine without letting it air. So they can sort of decant in the glass.

I drink wine at room temp, so I just use a tumbler.

Chilled wines or Champagne need a pedestal to hold onto so you don’t warm the wine with your hands on the glass.

That’s as far as I go with it all. :wink:

(room temp = 68-75)

Warm wine is for hobos and Sangria.

Ugh! Seventy-five degrees is just tolerable for a room, but it’s too warm for wine! Stick it in the fridge for a few minutes first!