Does the Size and Shape of Your Wine Glass Matter?
I’m not a wine expert by any means but I do love a drop of wine! Recently I was thinking about why we have different wine glass shapes? I’ve been searching for some eye-catching wine glasses, for photography purposes and I didn’t realise there were so many different types available. I don’t know about you, but when I’m faced with too much choice it drives me into a bit of a quandary! I’m definitely one for keeping things simple so looked up the science behind different wine glass shapes and here’s what I discovered…
The first thing to know is that there are in fact four crucial parts which make up the wine glass --
- The Base
- The Stem
- The Bowl
- The Rim
It seems the Bowl is the main feature of any wine glass. Typically the base will be wider at the bottom so that the wine can be swirled. It's the action of swirling that releases the aroma of the wine for which real wine experts will be able to detect the slightest of aromas. It's also, for this reason, best to fill your wine glass just a third of the way up to allow the wine to be swirled.
The wine glass has a long stem so that it can be held stably without touching the bowl. Don't know about you, but if a waiter places his or her hands around the bowl, especially near the rim, when serving in a restaurant, I find it a bit of a turn-off!
An excellent waiter will go as far as just to hold the base and not even touch the stem.
A fine wine glass will have a thin rim because this is the part which meets the lips. And, so of course, the thinner and more delicate the glass, the easier the transition is. To me, the rim is the most important feature. For a long time, I fancied myself a set of champagne glasses, the saucer type, not a flute. Having spent more than a few pennies on a gorgeous set of champagne glasses, I was more than a little disappointed to discover they were awkward to drink from. This was because the rim curved inwards and made it difficult to drink from. And so the quest continues for the perfect champagne glass!
Well, obviously I guess why this element of the wine glass is important, quite simply without a base, we have no wine!
Real wine experts may be quite fanatical on their choice of wine glass shape, insisting on a different shape glass for each specific type of wine. But for most of us, it's probably just good to know that a smaller bowl is required for white wine than red. And a flute for champagne or sparkling wine which is "etched" is best as it encourages lots of bubbles to form. Bubbles will only form on surfaces that are not smooth. You may wonder why if you pour your sparkling wine into a plain smooth wine glass that it may not give you the fizz you were expecting. So if you have a flute of sparkling wine, the bubbles will bring all the aromas to the top of the flute without the need to swirl.
So, it's best to use a flute for sparkling wines and champagne. And perfectly okay to have one kind of glass for either red or white which is much the same as second from your left in the image above.