It’s true that all winemakers love to make fantastic wine – for themselves, for their family and for their friends. However, for as knowledgeable as you may be about making a great bottle of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, are you as knowledgeable when it comes to choosing the right glass to serve it in?
Given that there are hundreds and hundreds of wine glass styles out there, all of which are created for a specific purpose and type of wine, by understanding a few simple wine glass traits, you can choose the correct wine glass to present your wine in and give you, your family and your friends the chance to enjoy your homemade wine to its fullest potential.
Let’s cover some of the main points in choosing the best glass for your wine:
• Always buy the best you can afford
• Always have a flute-shaped glass for champagnes and/or sparkling wines
• Always have two different sizes to hand – one for whites and one for reds
• For wine tasting parties, put your best foot forward, especially if you are serving your wine
• Try to s sure that your wine glasses are free from color or any decoration (such as etching or paints)
Always buy the best you can afford
You’ve spent your time and money making a beautiful bottle of wine – treat it with the justice it deserves by buying the best wine glasses you can. Research various wine glass producers thoroughly, including the internet, to learn everything you can. Go to different shops and look at the various glasses on the market. One of my favorites is the Riedel Vinum Glass.
Besides, there’s nothing like seeing a beautiful glass first hand, especially to appreciate the size, feel and clarity of glass.
Always have a flute-shaped glass for champagnes and/or sparkling wines
Champagnes and sparkling wines are known to live up to their best when consumed in fluted or tulip-shaped glasses specifically design for this type of wine. Having a fluted or tulip-shaped glass ensures that those lovely little bubbles stay intact for much longer. They also help to ensure that your guests get the best aromas and flavors when enjoying your champagne or sparkling wine.
Do you know what causes the bubbles to float to the top of your flute? Most champagne glasses are etched at the bottom or have defects in the glass causing the dissolved gas in the champagne to gradually collect in a vibrating bubble inside the defect, causing it to grow and soon expel the gas, forming another bubble that sticks to the outside of the defect.
That bubble soon grows as more dissolved carbon dioxide collects inside it. It breaks free of the defect and rises to the top. Then the process begins again with a new bubble which forms the streams of bubbles you see in your glass.
While they may look great, beware of the Champagne Saucer. Marketers may say that it is designed specifically for champagne but only if you wish to lose the bubbles more quickly. It can also result in bouquet loss, too.
Always have two different sizes to hand – one for whites and one for reds
For white wines, use a glass specifically for white wines. Most white wine glasses are smaller than red wine glasses. This is because white wines tend to be lighter and fruitier, lending them more nicely to a smaller glass. Just make sure it’s large enough so you can swirl the wine. This helps release the wine aromas.
Choose a wine glass specifically meant for red wine. For red wines, the larger the glass, the better. This is because red wines are usually full-bodied and, as a result, they work better in a larger glass. In an ideal world, your red wine glass will be about one third to one half full, and you want enough room left to swirl the wine (without spilling) to help release those beautiful aromas. The larger glass also allows the red wine to breathe and fully aerate.
For wine tasting parties, choose a nice wine glass
If you are hosting a wine tasting party, don’t worry about buying the best glasses you can find but choose glasses that will show off the wines both in terms of aroma and taste. You will need a lot of glasses and this will get very expensive indeed if you choose the best out there.
There are a lot of wine great wine glasses on the market for under $20. Believe me, wine tastes different in every glass. It would be a great experiment for your guests to taste the wine in several different types of wine glasses.
Try to make sure that your wine glasses are free from color or any decoration (such as etching or paints)
Finally, you want to ensure that your wine glasses are clear in color without any other decoration. This includes any painted art or etchings on the glass. If these are in the way, you won’t be able to appreciate the wine’s look and clarity.
Final Tips for Your Wine Glasses
Now that you have decided on the wine glasses you require, make sure you take care of them.
There is a growing trend to store wine glasses bowl-side down. For glasses you use on a regular basis, this is fine. However, for wine glasses which aren’t always used on such a regular basis, it isn’t a good idea – this is because air can get trapped in the bowl of your glass and stagnate.
If your wine glasses have been sat unused for awhile, make sure you give them a good rinse in hot water (not soapy water) – this hot water should remove any soapy residue which remains from the last time they were washed. You can use a lint free towel to dry them. Other towels may leave lint and other unwanted particles on the glass. Some of my friends tend to let them air dry.
Whatever you decide, just remember to have fun and enjoy that beautiful glass of wine.
Cynthia Cosco is the founder of Passaggio Wines and is an award-winning winemaker educated in Napa. Through maketastywine.com she offers her course of free Inside Secrets to making wine at home. To learn how to make wine at home just click here.