Glassware that features a bowl mounted on a stem with a broad base.
Buying Wine Stemware
Glasses designed for drinking wine have specific properties that have
been designed to intensify the sensory experience. The cost and quality
of a wine glass and how it affects the wine tasting experience has long
been debated. Though wine glasses do not need to be expensive, the following
criteria should be considered when choosing wine glasses that will be
used for wine tasting:
- Choose thin, clear, unadorned stemware. Decorative, cut glass or frosted
stemware will obscure the color and clarity of the wine. Thin, lead
crystal has the transparency and luster that displays wine at its best.
- Choose a glass that has a tulip shaped bowl. Red wines benefit more
when served in a "fatter" tulip shaped glass. Tulip bowls
should taper slightly inward toward the rim, this will channel the wine
into the nerve receptors in your nose when you sniff the wine.
- The glass should be on a tall, sturdy stem. The purpose of the stem
is to prevent your hand from warming the bowl of the glass and, subsequently,
- The foot (or base) of the glass should be broad enough to prevent
the glass from tipping easily. The foot should be firmly attached to
prevent it from snapping when swirled.
- Choose a wine glass that is large enough to hold a full serving of
wine without reaching halfway full. Be cautious, the glass should not
be so large that it is awkward to hold. A good rule of thumb is to serve
table wines in 8-10 oz. glasses, dessert wines in 6 oz. glasses, and
sparkling wines in a slender glass (champagne flute) to prevent bubbles
When trying to achieve a professional feel of wine tasting, the glasses
made specifically for tasting are known as INAO (Institut National des
Appellations d'Origine) glasses.
If you are willing to spend more on a glass collection, there are glasses
available that have been specifically designed to highlight the distinct
features of different wine types.
Caring for Wine Stemware
The way in which you wash and care for wine glasses has a direct effect
on the taste of wine.
- Crystal glasses are more porous than normal glassware. The tastes
and odors from storage boxes and soap are easily absorbed by crystal.
Store glassware upright on a well ventilated shelf or hang them from
a specialty glass rack.
- If washing glasses by hand, use the hottest water possible and very
little detergent. There are sponges available that are specifically
designed for cleaning the inside of wine glasses.
- If you use a dishwasher do not use detergent. Wash the glasses with
hot water only. Depending on the type of glass, a dishwasher can easily
break the stem during the wash cycle.
- Dry wine glasses immediately with a lint free cloth to remove any
Prior to serving, rinse out the glasses with distilled water or with
the wine you are about to serve.