The Crystal Wine Glass: Six Important Features to Look for in the Perfect Wine Glass

After personally discovering the truth in the statement, “It really does matter what glass we choose to drink wine,” I conducted a survey asking, “Have you ever had a bad wine tasting experience because of the glass your were using?” Some very interesting answers were shared.

By far the worst tasting wine had been poured in styrofoam with cheap throw away plastic glasses a close second. Have you ever had alcohol on an airplane in plastic cups? Airplane wine is not the best anyway, however, taste the same vintage in fine crystal stemware and it is a totally different and more acceptable experience.

Taking a look back in history, wine has been consumed in animal skins and horns, hard, baked clay, wood, leather gourds and very ornate, heavy metal vessels. We have come a long way both in wine making and glass making. The science and precision of design in goblets today is extraordinary making the drinking of wine a wonderful pleasure.

The material of choice for glasses is crystal. Wine really does taste best in crystal. So, what other features are important in the perfect glass?

1. A great crystal wine glass should always be clear. One of the pleasures of drinking wine is enjoying the ruby- red color or deep purple color of a red wine or the golden amber color or lemon gold color of a white wine. These beautiful colors cannot be experienced in a colored wine glass or one with a fancy design or etching. They may have been inherited from Mom and are gorgeous but they will interfere with your ability to evaluate the wine’s true color. As a matter of fact your glass should appear “invisible” making the wine the main focus.

2. Select a wine glass with a long stem. Not only is stemware beautiful but it serves a very practical purpose as well. The stem of your wine glass is where you hold the glass. Yes, that is correct! The temperature of wine matters and if you hold the bowl (where your wine is) the warmth of your hand will warm the wine changing its temperature and your enjoyment of the wine. Now, if your wine is too cool, then do cup your hands around the bowl and gently swirl your wine. The warmth of your hands will increase the temperature rather quickly so you can enjoy it even more.

3. Another important feature is the size of the glass. Small is out, except for sherry, dessert wine and port. You will want enough capacity so that you can easily swirl the wine without spilling. The swirling will release the aromas of the wine so you can experience its exquisite aroma. A general rule of thumb for capacity is 12 ounces, but many wine drinkers choose even larger goblets of 16 to 24 ounces, especially for red wine.

4. A thick wine glass makes drinking more difficult, so a thin rim is preferred. A thin rim allows your wine to glide over the rim easily and into your mouth.

5. The shape of your glass does matter as you want the wine to have some room. For reds a generous rounded bowl with a narrower rim will allow you to swirl easily, let the aromas evolve and the narrower rim focuses the aromas to the nose. A white wine glass can have a slimmer bowl to help preserve the cooler temperature at which white wine is served. This glass should also be narrower at the rim to focus aroma to the nose.

6. The width at the top of the wine glass should be adequate so that you can easily put your nose in the glass and take a deep sniff. The aroma of wine is truly one of its most special features.

To keep it simple, select a Burgundy or Bordeaux wine glass for your red wines and a Chardonnay wine glass for your white wines. If you enjoy toasting and celebrating with Champagne and sparkling wine then having a few crystal Champagne glasses at your home wine bar is recommended also. A Champagne glass is tall and narrow helping to preserve the rising bubbles which are a great part of the enjoyment in drinking Champagne. wine tours in willamette valley