If you’ve been in the market to buy new glassware recently, you’ve definitely encountered the overwhelming variety of styles and shapes from which to choose. There’s a wine glass for every style of wine you would ever want to drink–a glass specific to Bordeaux, one for Pinot Noir, another for Chardonnay and on and on.
In fact, the choices are so numerous that you’re probably wondering whether you need a wine glass for every type of wine you drink. The short and simple answer is no. While many will try and convince you that by using the perfect type of glassware for a certain type of wine you will be improving the drinking experience, we have to disagree. A glass of wine is going to taste just as good in a glass created specifically for that wine as it will in a tumbler. The wine is what matters, not the glass.
The wine is what matters, not the glass. So why are there so many different kinds of glassware? Marketing.
So why are there so many different kinds of glassware? Marketing. In 1973, Claus Riedel of the Riedel glassware company was looking for a way to sell more wine glasses, and he came up with a novel way to do so: the Riedel Sommelier series. The initial series consisted of ten glasses of different shapes that were each said to be the ideal glassware for a certain type of wine. According to Riedel, the specific shape of the glass would aid a wine drinker in picking up every aroma of the wine, and that shape would also direct the wine to the exact part of your mouth that would allow you to taste that wine best. After releasing the glasses, sales skyrocketed.
However, in 2004, an article in Gourmet Magazine reported that studies at major research centers in Europe and the U.S. suggested that Riedel’s claims were, scientifically, nonsense. According to Linda Bartoshuk of Yale University, “Your brain doesn’t care where taste is coming from in your mouth, and researchers have known this for thirty years.” So while all of Riedel’s glasses may be beautiful, you certainly aren’t tasting a wine any better simply because you are using a Pinot Noir glass to drink Pinot Noir, instead of your standard wine glass.
So the bottom line? Save yourself the anxiety. It’s our belief that every home really just needs two sets of wine glasses: a set of sparkling wine flutes and a set of all-purpose glasses that are great for both red and white. We personally love these.
No matter the glass you choose to buy, the ones that work best are ones that have stems. We love stemless wine glasses for a different look, but a wine glass with a stem is ideal for tasting and serving wine more formally. This is because the stem ensures your hand doesn’t have to touch the bulb of the glass, which would warm the wine. It also makes it much easier to swirl the wine when you initially taste it, and more fun to clink the glass for a cheers!