If you are a true wine enthusiast or a good bartender, you will value the differences in wine glasses because they augment the experience you get from drinking the wine. A well-stocked bar will understand the importance of serving each wine in its preferred glass, and having a good supply of glass on hand, to avoid misuse and also avoid embarrassment with customers. As an individual, you should also understand the differences below to make your wine experience just that – an experience!
A red wine glass has a rounder and wider bowl with a shorter stem. This allows air to mix with the wine for oxidation to take place. Oxidation is a chemical reaction between oxygen and wine that enhances the aroma and flavor of the wine.
A white wine glass, by contrast, has a smaller mouth to reduce oxidation of the wine. The glass’s bowl is narrower and generally thin with a longer stem.
|Red wine glass||White wine glass|
|Shorter stem||Longer stem|
|Wider mouth||Narrow mouth|
|Larger and rounder bowl||Smaller and narrower bowl|
They are differentiated by their stem length, bowl width and rim width.
Unlike red wines, white wines are not enhanced by being oxidized so there is no need to aerate them. This is why a white wine glass is narrower than that of a red wine in order to reduce the surface area of the wine that comes into contact with air. Its narrow brim also adds to this function as well as to allow you to sniff the wine’s delicate aromas. In addition, white wine is best enjoyed when served chilled, so its longer stem comes in handy in holding it and avoiding warming the contents when holding the bowl.
A red wine glass is characteristically shorter at the stem than a white wine glass. It can be held by the bowl as its contents are served at room temperature. Its bowl is wider, allowing the wine be swirled in order to react with oxygen to make its flavor and aroma better. Its wider mouth also allows more oxygen to react with the wine while at the same time allowing you to sniff the wide range of scents that the wine has. In addition, red wine glasses have two distinct divisions based on their shapes: the Burgundy glass that is short and broad and the Bordeaux glass that is tall but not as wide as the Burgundy glass.
Attached is a helpful video on which glass to use for what wine: