The Importance of Stemware

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The Importance of Stemware

Does the glass matter? Yes, for certain wines.

Does the glass matter?

Yes, for certain wines. For simple and lower-quality wines, the glass isn’t going to make the wine any better. However, for good-quality wines, the right glass will enhance the aromas and flavors, and provide a more enjoyable tasting experience. 

Which glass to choose?

The bowl of a wine glass comes in all shapes and sizes. The width of the bowl is meant to control how much of the wine is exposed to air. As wine comes in contact with air, the alcohol will evaporate and release the wine’s aromas. The depth of the bowl is meant to control how far your nose will be from the surface of the wine, assuming you have filled the glass to the widest part of the bowl. The farther this distance, the more chance the harsh alcohol fumes have a chance to dissipate before reaching your nose, but if the distance is too far, the wine’s aromas will waft away as well.       

Red wine glasses are generally wider and taller which gives the wine more surface area and allows for the release of more aromas while providing enough room for more of the alcohol fumes to dissipate. More air contact with red wine has the added benefit of softening its tannins. 

White wine glasses are generally not as wide or tall so that the delicate floral aromas are not released as quickly, and are released closer to your nose. The reduced surface area has the added benefit of keeping the wine from warming up too fast.   

Within each of these groups of wine glass styles, there are many variations based on specific types of red or white wine. Unless you are a serious student of wine, just choose a style within each group that most closely represents the wines you drink most often.   

Stemless or With Stem?

The choice between stemless and with-stem glasses is entirely a personal preference. Proponents of stemless glasses cite increased control and reduced likelihood that the glass will tip over as their main reasons for going stemless. The most common opposition to stemless glasses is that holding a glass by the bowl causes the wine to warm up too quickly. Maybe stemless drinkers just drink faster.  



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