Wine glasses have been used since ancient times, and since then they have ‘evolved’. Now you can find wine glasses with unique shapes and sizes for every wine varietal out there.
But there is no ‘official standard’ concerning which wine glass to use for what occasion; size, shape, colour and overall look of a wine glass simply depends on personal and individual taste.
Nowadays your choice of wine glass is vast from bordeaux wine glasses, crystal wine glasses, dessert wine glasses, port wine glasses, red wine glasses and white wine glass.
Of course there are certain rules which one should generally stick to; for example, it is obviously better to serve wine with dinner in a bigger glass and the sherry after dinner in a smaller glass.
The material from which a wine glass is made is something which you should pay some attention to. The glass should at least be plain and clear; although coloured glass is sometimes attractive, it should not be used by anyone who is even slightly interested in appreciating wine. The colour of the wine and the ‘tears’ need to be observed, as this is the first step in ‘tasting’ any wine. Coloured glass would detract from this, and solid material such as silver is an even worse idea.
Size is another thing you should keep in mind. The wine glass should be big enough to hold a fair amount of wine, as well as provide space at the top to swirl the wine without spilling. And as for shape, a champagne flute is shaped that way for a reason, not just to look different. The height of the glass shows off the bubbles rising and this adds to the enjoyment of the drink.
Another important thing is the stem of the glass. A wine glass must have a stem. This is not to look pretty, but serves a function. Firstly it prevents you from covering the bowl with greasy fingerprints, and secondly it ensures that you do not heat your wine by cupping your hands around the bowl. Although this does not have a huge effect, you will notice that accomplished wine tasters will never allow even a finger on the bowl of their wine glass.
So to sum it all up, your wine glass simply must be of a clear glass, have a stem and be of a decent size. There is however another consideration – the shape of the bowl. A good wine glass will taper in slightly at the top, so the bowl at the bottom is ‘fatter’ than the top of the glass. This is so that when the wine is swirled to release its aroma, that aroma is concentrated towards the nose.
There are so many different styles of wine glasses for all the different wine varietals, but unless you have a rather large budget and ample storage space, 2 or 3 styles should do. A good red wine glass, white wine glass and a champagne flute should be efficient. You may also want to add a smaller glass for Sherries or port wine glasses if you enjoy those drinks more often also.
Always make sure your wine glasses are cleaned thoroughly, and whatever manner you use, just ensure that there is no residual or even smell left on the glass which may affect your next serving of wine.