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The Difference Between Red and White Wine Glasses

George Steckel|Jan 31, 2021

With Burgundy glasses, Bordeaux glasses, chardonnay glasses, champagne glasses, and more, there's a specifically designed glass for just about every variety of wine. Sure, there are all sorts of wine glass shapes out there, including universal glasses. However, the wine drinker who wants to experience the best flavor with limited storage space should focus on just two: red wine glasses and white wine glasses.

Red vs. White Wine Glasses: What's the Difference?

Each wine glass is designed to enhance the flavor and experience of drinking wine. When you pair a glass with the right wine, you'll enjoy swirling, sniffing, and sipping to the fullest. Let's take a look at both red and white wine glasses:

Red Wine Glasses

Red wine glasses

have larger (taller and wider) bowls than white wine glasses. Intended to be filled only about 1/3 of the way full, a red wine glass's capacity allows for gentle swishing and swirling to aerate the wine. This oxygenates the wine's tannins, limiting acidity and opening up the wine's full range of aromas and flavors.

Gently tapered toward the rim of the glass, red wine glasses still allow ample room for your nose to comfortably enjoy the wine's aroma. Additionally, the curve of a red wine glass is designed to maximize its surface area. This allows for better viewing of the wine's color and viscosity when swirling. So whether it’s a light-bodied pinot noir or a cabernet sauvignon, make sure to pour it into a red wine glass that has a larger bowl that will let the wine shine.

White Wine Glasses

Compared to red wines, white wines are usually poured into smaller glasses, as white wine does not require as much aeration to open up its aromas. Since the aromas of white wine are better experienced up-close, the smaller bowls of

white wine glasses

are narrower, bringing the top of your pour closer to the rim of the glass.

White wine glasses can also feature a u-shaped curve that creates a smaller surface area, and they can be designed with longer stems than red wine glasses. Both the reduced surface area and the long stems are intended to keep a perfectly chilled white wine, sparkling wine, or rosé at a safe distance from the heat radiating from your hands.

Another trick to serving perfectly chilled white wine – especially on warm days – is to chill your glasses before pouring. Swirling a scoop of ice around the bowl of a white wine glass and dumping it before pouring will give your wine glass a gentle chill and keep the wine at the right temperature until you're ready for a second pour.

Oenophiles Prefer Stems

Stemless wine glasses force you to hold onto it around the bowl, warming up the glass and the wine that’s in it. Much preferred are wine glasses that have stems, as they keep the warmth of your hand away from the glass, keeping the wine at its ideal temperature. The stem also makes it easier to swirl your wine. Made In’s wine glasses have a pinched center stem, meaning that they’re easier to swirl and feel more balanced in your hand.

Red or White, Consider Your Nose Space

"Nose space" is not an official wine-appreciation term. However, it is important to think about when shopping for wine glasses. Stems or no stems, red or white wine glasses, you want to be sure that the rim is wide enough for your nose to comfortably enjoy the drink's aroma before sipping. If your nose can't appreciate the wine's aroma, then you'll be missing out on part of its flavor and a big part of the wine tasting experience.

With a complete

set of wine glasses

, you and all of your friends' noses will be sure to enjoy the next bottle you uncork together.

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