Wine Glasses: Does It Even Matter?

You’ve probably seen Scandal enough times to notice that Ms. Pope has some fancy stems in her cupboard. It’s hard not to fantasize about drinking wine, especially from those glasses, after watching about half an episode.

Oh, and don’t forget to pair it with popcorn. What kind of popcorn does she always eat anyway? Butter? Kettle corn?

I’m Team Butter, all day. And just like there is popular opinion about what type of popcorn is best, there’s a split opinion on whether or not a wine glass really has an effect on wine. That’s why you can find different red wine glasses and white wine glasses everywhere these days. Some people believe it’s all nonsense and a waste of money while others find there are true benefits to not only using a wine glass instead of a regular cup, but using a wine glass specifically made for each type of wine.

Let’s explore the concepts:

1. Glasses don’t matter; it’s marketing!
For many people, the different types of stemware are just a marketing ploy that’s been passed down over the years. See, Claus Riedel from the Riedel glassware company was looking for ways to collect some more coin for his wine glasses. To accomplish this, he came out with a fancy new line of glassware (originally a set of 10) for different varietals of wine. He explained that the shape of the glass would help the drink be able to pick up on the aromas better and direct the wine to the specific part of your mouth that would make the wine taste its absolute best. 

This is complete nonsense to many people who believe that you can pour you a nice glass of whatever wine in a teacup for all it matters and still be able to enjoy it to the fullest. It’s the wine that counts, not the glass.

2. The glass brings the wine to life!
Naturally, this school of thought is all about the glass. As Riedel believed, the glass being shaped a certain way with the angled bell at the bottom then flowing to a more narrow passageway traps the important wine aromas. The largest section of the glass also acts as a sort of “fill to” line. 


The long empty space between the top of the wine and the top of the glass is supposed to be there to give the drinker enough room to swirl til their heart’s content without spilling a drop.  But who really complains when they get an overfilled glass anyway?

All in all, both sides have their arguments. I personally just love to have a cabinet full of wine glasses for fun entertaining with friends and family when they come over. I do have red wine glasses and white wine glasses, but nothing specific to the varietal beyond that.

What about you? Do you stick to sipping wine from your coffee mug and red solo cup or do you own some fancy stemware? Do tell!