The best wine glasses


    The best wine glasses

    I remember the first time I bought wine glasses. I was 25 years old, had just moved into my own Manhattan studio, and truly believed that this purchase marked my arrival as a full-fledged adult. I selected a set of six wide-bowled glasses at Crate & Barrel for one reason: I thought they were beautiful.

    That set served me well. I remember one of them breaking dramatically during a party that first year, but several of them lasted for more than a decade. Into these glasses, I poured red and white wine, as well as the occasional champagne toast. Since then I have learned a great deal more about wine, as well as the importance of using different glasses for different wines. And it’s not just about etiquette. The size, shape, and construction of a wine glass can dramatically alter the tasting experience.

    There are dozens of different specialized wine glasses, but most glasses are grouped into one of two categories: red or white wine glasses.

    In general, red wine glasses are taller and have a bigger bowl than white wine glasses. There are several reasons for this, but mostly, the wider opening of the glass allows red wines to breathe or to oxidate – and ultimately taste smoother. Red wine glasses can be held by the bowl or the stem. White wines, on the other hand, do better in a glass with a smaller bowl and narrower rim because it helps to preserve the cooler temperature.

    How to choose a wine glass

    There are several different design and construction elements to consider when choosing a glass. According to Williams-Sonoma, some of the most important are the size and shape of the bowl, the stem, the rim and whether it is made of crystal or glass.


    • The Bowl: A wider bowl increases the surface area of the wine that’s exposed to air and encourages alcohol evaporation. This creates what’s known as the wine’s aroma, which can drastically alter its taste. Wide bowls are best for red wines. Lighter, white wines are served in narrower, taller bowls because it preserves the chill and the delicate bouquet.
    • The Stem: Holding a wine glass by its stem helps to keep the heat of your hand away from the wine, which is important because your hand may affect the wine’s temperature. Stemless wine glasses, also called wine tumblers, are less formal than stemmed glasses and are perfect for everyday use or casual entertaining.
    • The Rim: A tapered shape suspends the wine’s aroma at the top of the glass and prevents it from wafting away when the wine is swirled. A glass with a rim that tapers and then flares slightly still effectively holds the wine’s aroma, while directing the flow of wine toward the front palate, highlighting rich fruit flavors while tempering acidity.
    • The Material: Crystal is glass that contains lead oxide. Beyond its beautiful sparkle, crystal is a good choice for wine glasses because it’s stronger than plain glass and therefore more easily made into more delicate designs. The surface of crystal is also microscopically coarser than glass so wines develop more intense aromas when they’re swirled in crystal stemware. If you’re looking for dishwasher-safe stemware, glass is a better choice than crystal. Shaped by a skilled glassblower, glass stemware can be every bit as delicate and beautiful as crystal stemware.

    Types of red wine glasses

    • Standard red wine glass: Mostly used for Cabernet, Merlot, Bordeaux, or similar varietals, this tall glass has a full sized bowl that tapers a little bit at the top.
    • Pinot or Burgundy glass: Not as tall as the Cabernet glass, this one has a wide bowl.
    • Shiraz glass: This is the tallest of all red wine glasses, with a distinct taper towards the top.
    • Port glass: These are short and much smaller than other red wine glasses.

    Types of white wine glasses

    • Standard white wine glass: Mostly used for Chardonnay, these glasses have a similar shape to standard red wine glasses, but they’re a bit smaller.
    • Sauvignon Blanc/Pino Grigio glass: Designed to bring out the acidity in these wines, the glasses are shorter and have a smaller bowl than the Chardonnay glasses.
    • Montrachet/White Burgundy glass: These wine glasses are short with a wide bowl.

    We’ve selected wine glasses that will work with any wine you choose – red or white- as well as specialty glasses for both red and white wines. Read on to learn more about our wine glass picks.

    Here are the best wine glasses you can buy:

    Updated by Caitlin Petreycik on 11/11/2019: Updated prices, links, and formatting.

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    The best wine glasses overall

    The best wine glasses overall
    The Libbey Signature Kentfield Grande Wine Glasses are affordable, sturdy, backed by a great guarantee, and perfect for all types of wine.

    Libbey started out in 1818 as the New England Glass Company. Today, the Ohio-based company produces a wide range of tableware products, but its glassware remains top notch. In 2015, Libbey introduced a new state-of-the-art process for making glassware from the furnace to forming to finishing, which the company claims produces “the most brilliant and strongest soda lime glassware to be produced in the US.”

    The attractive, dishwasher-safe Libbey Signature Kentfield glasses feature a laser-cut rim, as well as a pulled stem and a reinforced flat foot for extra stability. The tulip-shaped bowl makes it an ideal choice for both red and white wines, so you can drink whatever you want in these glasses.

    To sweeten the pot, all of Libbey’s glassware is protected by a 25-year no-chip guarantee. Libbey will replace or refund the price of a chipped glass if you return it to the dealer or distributor.

    Across the web, professional reviewers, including those at The Wirecutter and The Spruce say that Libbey wine glasses are an extraordinary value and perfect for everyday wine consumption. We highly recommend them as an affordable option for people who want to get into drinking wine from well-crafted glasses.

    Pros: Extraordinary value, ideal for both red and white wine, 25-year no-chip guarantee, easy to clean

    Cons: Slightly thicker glass

    The best white wine glasses

    The best white wine glasses
    The Riedel Vivant White Wine Glasses are beautiful, high-quality glasses with a splendid low price tag.

    Based in Austria, Riedel is a family-run company that was established in 1756. It is still one of the world’s best-known producers of wine glasses. While Riedel offers wine glasses in a wide range of price points, the Riedel Vivant Collection is an ideal way to introduce yourself to the company’s high-quality wares without breaking the bank.

    Made of lead-free Tyrol crystal, these thin and attractive 12.5-oz glasses can be used for virtually any occasion. The company says they are dishwasher safe, but many enthusiasts note that they choose to wash them by hand because of their delicate composition. You get four glasses in a set, which is a very good deal, considering these glasses come from such a well-renowned company.

    That said, we found several online customer reviews mentioning that the glasses are just too thin and subject to frequent breakage. However, most experts agree that the thinner and finer the wine glass, the better the flavor, so it’s a trade-off.

    Around the web, professional reviewers, including those at The Wirecutter, The Wine Spectator, and The Kitchn name the Riedel Vivant and other Riedel glasses as the best wine glasses you can buy. All of these reviewers say the Vivant line offers extraordinary value for quality glasses.

    Pros: Affordable, good value, attractive, thin, clear, enhances wine flavor

    Cons: Frequent breakage


    The best red wine glasses

    The best red wine glasses
    The Riedel Veritas Cabernet/Merlot Glasses bring out the best flavors in red wine.

    Riedel makes our guide once again with its Veritas Cabernet/Merlot Glasses. These elegant crystal glasses will feel good in your hand and bring out the bouquet in your red wine.

    Composed of leaded-crystal, these 22-oz. glasses are machine blown and very delicate. Taller and lighter than the glasses in the Vinum collection, these dishwasher safe glasses arrive in an attractive gift box. You get two in a set: one for Cabernet and another for Merlot. They may be more expensive than the picks in our guide, but buyers and experts alike say they’re well worth the cost.

    While most reviewers love the feel of the Riedel glasses in their hands, as well as the way the glass makes the wine taste, we came across a handful of negative comments from buyers claiming that the glasses are just too thin and fragile, so they break easily. As we’ve said before, that’s to be expected with fine wine glasses. Thinner glass makes for better flavor, so it’s a trade off you have to make for a great wine glass.

    Around the web, professional reviewers, including those at The Wirecutter and Wine Spectator approve of the glasses’ light weight and beauty, as well as the flavor of the wine served in the glasses.

    Pros: High-quality crystal, beautiful design, thin, clear

    Cons: Sometimes too fragile, expensive

    The best stemless wine glasses

    The best stemless wine glasses
    The Zeppoli Royal Stemless Wine Glasses are modern, affordable, and highly durable glasses that can be used for a variety of occasions.

    For a casual summer party or a simple dinner at home, the Zeppoli Royal Stemless Wine Glasses are perfect. These glasses have broad appeal because they are versatile, wide-bowled, and can hold 15 oz. of either white or red wine.

    The Royal stemless glasses are made of high-quality, durable, shatter-resistant glass. Note that it is shatter-resistant, not shatterproof. Several customer reviews noted that the glasses did, indeed, break. A modern, ergonomic design provides a good fit for most hands and the flat bottom lends an extra layer of stability. While not as elegant as more upscale, stemmed glassware, these glasses are perfect for everyday or outdoor use. The set of four arrives in an attractive, black gift box.

    One particularly helpful buyer review mentioned that the glasses were perfect for pinot noir, merlot, and even heady, intense Malbecs, adding that the shape of the glasses really intensifies the fruit aromas.

    Across the web, professional reviewers, including those at The Spruce and Wine Coolers point out the many benefits of these versatile glasses.

    Pros: Modern look, durable, very affordable, easy to clean

    Cons: Somewhat thick



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