Types of Wine Glasses: Ultimate Guide

There's nothing like a glass of wine after a long day. It's relaxing and helps you unwind. For some, pouring wine into a plastic cup and drinking it out of a twisty straw is perfectly fine. For others, The right glass improves the glass's ability to hold temperature and bring in oxygen correctly. If you're serious about wine, you will need to invest in a collection containing several types of wine glasses.

There are dozens of wine glass variations out there, each of which is designed to enhance the specific kind of wine it is served with. You don't need to go crazy and have hundreds of glass variants on hand for dinner guests; however, understanding the various types of wine glasses and what each is used for should inform your decision on which glasses you will have in your collection.

Do I Need Different Glasses for Different Wines?

wine glasses with grapes

Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

When looking at different types of wine glasses, you might wonder if you really need to keep so many wine glasses in your house. In reality, it comes down to whether you want to present and experience the wine as it is meant to be experienced. Many kinds of drinks work the same way. There are dozens of beer glass designs based on the specific kind of beer and how it should interact with the temperature of the air, the temperature of the holder's hand, and the air itself. As with wine, the kind of glass gives you some additional control over the wine's interaction with air and temperature.

With so many different glass types available, there isn't necessarily a need for you to own every single one of them; that may be impractical. Some glasses are designed for varying blends or brands of wine, and even a more experienced wine taster might not be able to taste the difference between a hock and a rose wine glass. So as you learn about some of these kinds of wine glasses, you'll find that you don't need to own every single kind of glass.

This list is designed to help you rule out some of the glasses you don't need and educate you on how to decide on the handful you do. If you're going to enjoy your wine, there are different glasses that, by all means, you should consider purchasing, but other glasses might just be fun to have on hand for decoration, parties, or a bit of uniqueness. So while you don't need to go out and buy all of these different types of wine glasses, you should know what each does and whether it's a worthy addition to your wine glass cabinet.

22 Types of Wine Glasses

To make it easier to sift through the different types of wine glasses, we classified the individual types of wine glasses by the kinds of wine they are served with. This way, instead of jumping around between different kinds of wine, you'll be able to narrow down your search for wine glasses based on the style of wine you enjoy.

Libbey Vina Stemless Red-Wine Glasses (16.75oz/Set of 4)
  • Popular stemless design is easy to hold and put down, minimizing breakage; more sipping, less tipping!
  • Generous bowl enhances red wine's aroma and flavor and keeps guests' glasses filled longer
  • Includes 4, 16.75-ounce stemless red wine glasses

For this category, it's important to look at the boldness of the wine. You'll find darker, dryer wines in this category which often contain complexities of not only the grapes but also the barrels they are stored in. That is why you'll notice a hint of oak flavor in some of these wines. Rum, bourbon, and whisky manufacturers will often continue the aging process of spirits in red wine barrels because of the way it enhances the flavor.

Once poured, it is typically good to aerate the wine and allow these darker wines to breathe. This way the deeper flavors have an opportunity to open up. Usually, the more complex a wine is, the more air it needs. Red wine is also served close to room temperature. There are several types of wine glasses that will help with this.

Spiegelau Style Burgundy, Set of 4 European-Made No-Lead Crystal,...
  • EXQUISITE RED WINE GLASS SET – This modern set of 4 Spiegelau Style Burgundy wine glasses will take your sipping...
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The Burgundy glass is a shield-shaped glass. Where the glass meets the stem, it comes to a point and then expands outward like an upside down umbrella and then curves back in slightly. This increases the air exposure of the wine while still limiting temperature circulation.

Riedel VINUM Pinot Noir Glass, Set of 2, Clear
  • Set of two machine-made, fine crystal Pinot Noir glasses
  • This glass directs the flow of wine onto the zone of the tongue which perceives sweetness, thereby highlighting the rich...
  • The large bowl captures all the nuances of the wine's aroma.

These three glasses are similar in design. The pinot noir and cabernet glasses are nearly identical, but the pinot noir glass is slightly wider at the base. The Bordeaux glass is essentially a larger version of the cabernet glass. Each of these glasses increases oxygen exposure and provides plenty of room for swirling. The Bordeaux glass is especially good for this. While some may take advantage of the large glass and add more wine, it's actually designed to increase the spinning potential, so adding more wine will prevent this glass from doing what it was designed to do.

Libbey Basics Red Wine Glasses, Set of 4
  • Classy, yet casual teardrop shape emphasizes your favorite wine's natural taste and aroma
  • Intimate set size perfect for a small gathering of friends
  • Includes 4, 10-ounce red wine glasses

This is the basic red wine glass. It is a slender version of the Burgundy glass and doesn't balloon out as far. It is not the best choice for any particular wine, but this glass is versatile and can be used with nearly all red wines.

Many people already have something like this at home. The tumbler is a great glass that can be used for a number of beverages, not just wine. It is the only wine glass that doesn't have a stem which means your hand will rest directly on the base of the glass while holding it. Other red wine glasses have a rounded bottom which allows your hand to cup the base of the glass, and the slight warming from your hand will allow the flavors to open up.

The tumbler is smaller and less rounded than other red wine glasses, so it won't provide the same level of aeration or the ability to swirl, but it is still a fine glass, especially if you're just pouring yourself a glass of wine after a long day of work. If you're putting on a dinner party, you may want to have something with a stem for a more elegant look and better flavor, but that choice will be based on your personal preference.

Riedel Vinum Extreme Icewine/Dessert Wine Glass, Set of 2
  • Made in Bavaria by world-renowned glassmakers
  • Machine-blown lead crystal
  • Glass designed to highlight the fine qualities of dessert wines

Many traditional dessert wines are red, but dessert wines often have a higher sugar content, a higher alcohol content, or both. Because of the higher alcohol content, dessert wine glasses are smaller.

Libbey 8089 Georgian 2 Ounce Sherry Glass - Dozen
  • Model #: 8089
  • Chip‐resistant rim
  • High decorative pedestal

The shape of sherry glasses is similar to that of the triangular martini glass, but sherry glasses are smaller and have a more extreme angle. The sherry glass is designed as a cordial glass, so it should only hold an ounce or two of wine.

Riedel Vinum Port Glass, Set of 2
  • The classic machine-made port glass of the established glass collection Riedel bar is the essential glassware for every...
  • The glass combines all the positive characteristics established by research, emphasizing harmony and concentration of...
  • Every Riedel bar glass is finely tuned to increase the enjoyment of spirits by showing the unique character of Beverage;...

Port wine is similar to brandy. It has a high alcohol content and is designed as a warming after-dinner beverage. A port glass is smaller but has a wider base with taller walls which allows you to smell and take in the aromas of the port wine.

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This glass has a curved bottom and could be seen as an extreme version of the Burgundy glass. It curves in like a tulip and then expands out.

Riedel Ouverture White Wine Glass, Set of 2 -
  • item shape: Chardonnay
  • finish types: classic

White wine is usually served at a chilled temperature which means it is important to keep your hand away from the glass. Your hand will warm the wine which can alter the flavor characteristics. There are a handful of white wine glass options to choose from, all of which will have a longer stem.

Riedel Veritas Sauvignon Blanc Wine Glass, Set of 2
  • The unadorned machine-made Sauvignon Blanc glass of the light-weight glass collection Riedel Veritas distinguishes...
  • The shape of the glass shows the combination of fruit and acidity perfectly balanced on the palate, giving a harmonious...
  • Riedel Veritas combines the charm of a handmade glass with the consistent accuracy only A machine made glass can...

Of all the types of wine glasses, this is one of the few that can be used for both red and white wines. It is nearly identical to the standard red glass, but the curve isn't as pronounced in the sauvignon glass. This is another reason the red and sauvignon white glasses are so desirable; you can use them for either type of wine if needed.

Riedel Wine Series Chardonnay Glass, Set of 2
  • Set of 2 Wine series chardonnay glasses; 7-7/8 inches high; 21-1/8 ounces
  • Elegant collection designed to enhance specific wine characteristics
  • Machine-made from lead-free crystal; shaping modeled on Vinum series bowls

The chardonnay glass is unique when compared to the other types of wine glasses made for white wine. That is because the glass has a curved bottom. All the other kinds of wine glasses in the white wine category come to a point. Chardonnay is usually served warmer than the other white wines, so the wider base does not cause a problem when it comes to maintaining the temperature. Most other glasses will not have the wider base due to the desire to limit potential contact with your hand.

Riedel Vitis Crystal Riesling Wine Glass, Set of 4
  • Machine blown crystal
  • Seamless pulled stem
  • Great for Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, and more

This glass has some similarities to the flute glass, which we will discuss later, but the riesling glass comes to a point along the sides and then slopes inward at a harder angle. It is designed to reduce the amount of air exposure the wine experiences which is desirable for a sweet, chilled wine.

Riedel Sommeliers Black Series Montrachet Glass, Red/Black
  • Hand made fine crystal montrachet glass
  • Beautiful red stemmed glass with black base
  • Grape varietal specific bowl with delicate rim

This is similar to a few other glasses we will mention, but it is shorter than most other types of wine glasses used for white wines. It also has a wider mouth which allows it to breathe more easily.

Ravenscroft Crystal Sauternes Glass, Set of 4
  • Four wine glasses
  • Lead-free Crystal
  • Giftboxed

This is another classic white wine glass that you may recognize. It is similar to the Montrachet, but the opening of the Sauternes glass is not as wide.

Riedel Extreme Rose Wine Glass, Set of 2, Clear
  • The diamond-shaped machine-made Rosé Champagne and Rosé wine glass of the eye-catching glass collection Extreme is the...
  • The shape directs the flow of wine onto the tip of the tongue, emphasizing the wine's fresh fruitiness while tempering...
  • This is the ideal glass from which to enjoy typically tart, dry Rosé wines

Rosé wines possess characteristics of both red and white wines. They are usually served a bit more chilled, are sweeter than the reds, and are not as dry. Rosé wines often contain some wooden taste elements. There are a few types of wine glasses designed for rosé wines.

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The rosé glass has a long stem, and the top has a small, almost ball-shaped design. It curves in slightly to reduce air contact, but it is a smaller glass than most of the ones used for red wines.

The standard sweet glass is similar to the port glass, but it slopes gently outward instead of inward.

Luigi Bormioli Styles 6 oz Sparkling Wine Glasses (Set Of 2), Clear
  • Measures 2.8”DIA X 9.8”H 0.33”LBs
  • 6 oz wine glasses come in a set of 2
  • Easy color-coded collection

The sparkling collection is used for sparkling wine and Champagne. Champagne can only be called as such if it comes from the Champagne region of France. Anything similar that is made elsewhere is referred to as sparkling wine. Other than location of origin, there is no difference between the two, so you'll often see sparkling wines that are incorrectly labeled as Champagne. There are a few kinds of glasses that work best for these beverages.

80 I'm Vintage Wine Glass
  • Funny 80th birthday gift for man or woman^Reads: 80 - I'm not old. I'm vintage.^Raise a toast at the 80th birthday...
  • Purple Glass Bowl
  • Holds 10 ounces

The vintage glass is what you think of when you picture a stubby, wide-mouthed Champagne glass. It could also be used as a classic martini glass. The other sparkling wine glasses are designed to maintain bubbles for as long as possible. While the other glasses do a better job, the vintage glass remains popular due to its classic design.

The tulip glass has a slender stem and a tall body. It is a good glass for controlling bubble release and also works well with beverages that are chilled.

The flute and tulip glasses are similar types of wine glasses; however, the flute angles back in at the top of the mouth to maintain the bubbles for a longer period of time. This shape also means you are more likely to get bubbles in your nose, but it has a fun look, especially for a celebration such as a New Year's party.

How to Choose the Right Wine Glasses for Your Collection

The types of glasses we discussed are the most common types of wine glasses. However, there are more types if you are looking to be even more precise about your wine and glass pairings. For most people, there is no need to invest in 20 different kinds of glasses. If you were to buy only four of each type, you would have 80 glasses on hand which would be expensive and probably take up too much space in your kitchen.

Instead of buying all of the types of wine glasses available, you need to consider picking just a handful of glasses. Here are six of the glasses you should consider buying for your collection.

Sparkling wine inside a wine glass with a beautiful mountain and lake view

There is no limit to the types of wine glasses out there. When you consider the different types of wine glasses, you'll find that there are many more glasses available than you actually need. Instead of buying every single option, you can go with the six we recommended and then expand outward if you find the need or if you discover that you enjoy one particular kind of wine over another.

Featured Image: Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Danial Jones

Danial lives in the Rocky Mountains with his wife, a medium-sized dog, and an attack cat. Before he started writing wine fridge And cooler related articles, he experimented with various occupations: computer programming, dog-training etc. But his favorite job is the one he’s now doing full time — writing articles.

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