Which Wine Glass?

If you think the perfect stemware is a must-have for your wine of choice, think again. Every day wines taste great in the park, or at the beach, places where ideal glassware is not usually at hand. Genuine wine lovers care less than you might imagine about glassware. The wine itself is key. Everything else is a minor detail, except, of course, the company.

Which Wine Glass Which Wine Glass 2Think of wine as the little black dress, or the basic three-piece suit, and the glassware as the scarf or necktie. There is no question that certain glassware enhances the experience. However, the best glass in the world cannot raise the innate quality of the wine.

George Riedel, whose Riedel glassware company markets some of the finest wine stemware in the world, says using his glasses is like “putting on your Sunday suit and going out for a ride.” In this case he is putting a suit on a suit, but he is European, so what do you expect? 

Which Wine Glass 3
How does Chateau Lafite-Rothschild taste in a tumbler?

I can tell you it tastes pretty darn good. And as more than one sommelier will tell you, wine tastes pretty good right out of the bottle in the wee hours! But, in this case, you may enjoy the first growth Bordeaux in a large-bowled, long-stemmed glass. Also keep in mind that some glass shapes lend themselves towards a more glamorous, sophisticated experience.

Even if you have the cash and the cupboard space, if you buy the good stuff, you end up getting so protective over it that you and your guests aren’t comfortable using it.

The glassware needn’t be pricey Austrian hand blown crystal from Riedel at $20 or $30 per stem. In fact, Riedel has glassware at several price points, as do other stemware providers, like Spiegelau.

Which Wine Glass 4Well-stocked wine shops carry specialty glassware, but they are not alone these days. Check the shelves at places like Bed, Bath and Beyond, Cost Plus, and Pottery Barn. I love fellow Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson’s “The One” glasses, available in a petite and medium triangular bowl shape. The larger ones are great for Chardonnay, Syrah and Pinot Noir, and are the official glassware of the San Francisco Wine School.

Go with what feels good in your hand, not what you think will impress your friends. Always buy two to four more glasses than you think you’ll need. If you want one all-purpose glass, choose a larger white wine glass or a smaller red wine glass. Fill it less than half-full and practice swirling the wine around to unleash the wine’s aromas. Practice swirling on a flat surface such as a tabletop, and then gradually build up to a mid-air twirl. Wearing black helps.

What stemware is a must have for you?

Do you think wine glasses enhance your enjoyment of wine?

Sign up for our weekly blogs.  See our upcoming full program and single course schedule. Private, customized corporate training is also available.

More of Catherine’s work can be found at www.planetgrape.comTwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

next post → ← previous post


San Francisco Wine School strives to open up the world of wine to serious students and enthusiasts everywhere while helping people of all levels break into the wine industry, advance their career, or simply pursue their passions. Founded by Master Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator David Glancy, San Francisco Wine School is the largest wine school in the U.S., offering the most thoughtful approach to wine study. Their inspired educational programs and workshops are taught in their state of the art wine education & events center and their cutting edge virtual classroom by industry-leading instructors from all major educational disciplines. San Francisco Wine School’s curriculum features the best content in the business: expert course materials, carefully conceived wine flights, and in-depth blind tasting exercises designed to engage students, illuminate course content and enhance learning. Their brand new sunlight-filled wine education & events center is conveniently located just 5 minutes from San Francisco International Airport and boasts 16-ft high coved ceilings, eight 12-ft tall arched windows, and gorgeous 180 degree views of the San Bruno Mountains, South San Francisco City Hall and the San Francisco Bay, making it the perfect place to enjoy classes, industry seminars and tastings and host a wide variety of private events—from serious educational programs for wine/hospitality industry staff to team-building and other fun, social, private events for wine enthusiasts.

Stay in Touch