Are you in the market for a new set of wine glass's? Before you buy, you need to make sure that you take into account a few important factors given that apart from the wine itself, the wine glass is the second most important factor when it comes to drinking a decent glass of wine. When you are out buying a good bottle of wine, or if you are about to drink it, the shape or quality of a wine glass might be the very last thing on your mind. If wine just equates alcohol to you, this is more than justified – one could even drink wine from a plastic water bottle if it is the most convenient way to feel its effect. However, if you relate wine to texture, smell, and aroma, the wine glass plays a surprisingly large role in determining what kind of experience you get from the sip. In fact, a great wine glass livens up the sensations you experience, possibly converting a good wine into a great one.
The shape of a wine glass is one of its most defining features. Most people can easily discern a wine glass from any other (like a whiskey glass, for example) due to its slender build and large bowl. However, there are several different types of wine glass shapes, each uniquely contributing to the ‘feel’ of the wine that would be consumed within.
The basic structure of a wine glass consists of three different parts – the bowl, the stem, and the base. Of these, the bowl is what is usually different in the many wineglass-producing industries. Wine experts conclude that these differences in the shape of a wine glasses lead to different ‘translations’ of the wine to our mouths. These translations of the sensations include: the deliverance of the quality and intensity of the wine’s aroma, the diverse texture of the wine, the fruity/acidity/bitter flavor of the wine, and finally the lingering aftertaste. The four of these important factors put together naturally lead to the final ‘experience’ of the wine you have just tasted. Due to the obvious link between wine glass and the ‘experience’ of the wine, no less than six different wine glasses are commonly used, all for different types of wines – full-bodied red, light-bodied red, rosé, sparkling, light-bodied white, and finally, sweet wine. Each wine glass strives to make the aroma, texture, flavor, and aftertaste of the specific wine as wonderful as possible.
White wine is typically consumed with dessert, as refreshment, or as an aperitif during meals. Its ‘lightness’ in its acidic taste in comparison to red has made white wine a firm favorite during the summer. These characteristics have actually influenced its dedicated wine glass shape. Through plain observation, it is obvious that white wine glasses are typically smaller than her red wine sisters. The smaller bowls contribute to maintaining a cooler wine temperature and delivering the famous aromas that whites are known for.
Red wines depend a lot more on delivering aromas than maintaining temperatures. As such, the red wine glass tends to the typically larger to accommodate for this. Interestingly, how close or far away you are from the wine in the glass drastically affects what aromas you will be able to smell. Furthermore, red wine glasses deal with the ethanol problem – the larger surface area lets ethanol slowly evaporate, whilst also meaning that this happens further away from the nose of the drinker.
There are even different types of wine glasses for other wines, with each uniquely contributing to the experience that specific wine has to offer. For example, port wine has its own, small wine glass that prohibits evaporations and conserves taste. This is important due to the port’s high alcohol levels, meaning that any evaporation would diminish the unique taste it delivers. All these small nuances collectively contribute to a much greater wine-tasting experience.
Many ordinary wine-tasters do not see the importance of the wine glass and feel that by simply opening the bottle before hand will simply do the job. However, they do play a huge role, especially in the maintenance of aromas, taste, and even temperature. If people are still not convinced, one could try a simple test – pour a glass of red in an ordinary glass and in a wine glass, and try both glasses one after another. There would be a distinct difference in the taste of exactly the same wine. If one is not too bothered about the niceties of wine, there is no real incentive to buy the right wine glass in the store. However, to discover the ‘true’ taste of wine and ‘experience’ it fully, the shape of a wine glass is of upmost importance.