QUESTION: I’ve heard that I should use different glasses for red wines and white wines. Is this true?
ANSWER: It’s not absolutely necessary. After all, traditionally, Italians drank their wine in tumblers.
That said, using the right glass for a particular type of wine definitely can enhance the drinking experience.
For red wines, you want a glass with a very wide opening (sometimes referred to as a “bulb”) so that you can experience all of the wonderful aromas when you swirl the wine.
For sparkling wines, a tall, thin flute is recommended. The much smaller opening at the top of the glass helps preserve the bubbles over an extended period of time.
For white wines, use a glass with an opening somewhere between the two extremes.
Glass companies have developed a wide range of other glasses, some of which are grape variety-specific. In seminar settings, these glasses do seem to do a better job of “showing” certain varieties.
How much better? In our ever so humble opinion, probably not enough to pay a premium price for them.
Stick with the three basic glass types, and you’ll have everything you need for serving virtually every type of wine.