The Importance of Glassware - How Wine Glasses Play a Significant Role in Tasting

Updated: Jan 25

As bizarre as it may sound, the shape and size of the glass can make or break your wine. Using specific glassware is closely linked to a greater wine enjoyment. Although there is no rule book which tells you which wine to drink in which glass, but there is no doubt that drinking from a varietal specific wine glass definitely gives you greater wine enjoyment.

Claus J. Riedel, the ninth generation of the RIEDEL, was the first person to breakthrough the realisation of how the shape and size of the glass had a dramatic impact on the taste of the wine. He introduced the "Sommeliers" range, an award-winning series of glassware in 1973 with a long stem and a clear glass and gave the first notion of the varietal specific wine glass.

Shape of the Wine Glass

The anatomy of a wine glass has 3 main parts: the bowl, the stem and the foot.

The shape of the wine glass delivers the aromas and flavour profile. The geometry of the wine glass controls how the vapor rises from the wine thus influencing the perception of aromas of wine. Every part of the wine glass has a role to play in the wine tasting.

The Bowl

The bowl plays the most important role in wine tasting. The diameter of the rim of the bowl controls the amount of vapors that would be diffused from the wine and thus impart the amount of aromas you perceive. It releases and collects the aromas and the rim concentrates the scents of the wine.

The size of the bowl, and the surface area of the wine affects the amount of aromas that are released as they are collected between the lip of the glass and the wine. A thinner lip of the glass gives a better tasting experience and allows you to take sips without having to spill the wine.

The different sizes of the bowls are used to serve different kinds of wines

Wide Bowl Wine Glass

The RIEDEL Extreme Cabernet glass is the perfect example of a wide bowl wine glass which is mostly used to serve red wines made from grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. The reason behind this is that a bigger bowl tends to have a bigger surface area which allows aeration of the wine, light oxidation and lets you easily swirl the wine in the glass.

The rate of oxidation increases in a wider bowl as swirling takes place easily in it. And with the higher rate of oxidation smoothens the complex flavours of the wine which are usually present in Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlot. Thus, red wine glasses usually have a wider bowl to highlight their aromas.

In the words of Miximilian Riedel : "Big wines need big glasses".