High-quality wine glasses are essential in any household, especially if wine is a family favorite. But how important is the height of a wine glass? And do stemless wine glasses change the taste of the wine?
Wine glass height varies by the brand and type of glass, but the average stemmed wine glass is 6–9” tall, while the average stemless wine glass is just 4–6” tall. The height of the wine glass influences the stability and durability of the glass, as well as the flavor of the wine.
So, which wine glass type is best? Let’s take a closer look at the various wine glass heights and the amount you can expect them to hold, so that you can figure out which ones are right for you.
How Tall Is a Wine Glass?
Wine glasses vary in height depending on whether it’s meant for white or red wine and the specific brand you purchase. While wine glasses technically need to be within a certain range in order to qualify as a wine glass, brands vary in exact height based on the base of the wine glass.
Average Height of a Stemmed Wine Glass
Most stemmed wine glasses are somewhere between 6 and 8 inches tall (15.25-20.30cm).
White wine glasses tend to be shorter than red wine glasses; they only reach a height of between 6 and 7 inches tall. Red wine glasses are taller and tend to be more uniform; most of them reach about 8-9 inches tall.
While the exact height of a wine glass will vary, for a stemmed wine glass to be considered “quality,” it needs to be at least 6 inches tall. Wine glasses that are above 9 inches tall — like this set of 6 from coccot (on Amazon) — are referred to as “long-stemmed” wine glasses.
Average Height of a Stemless Wine Glass
Stemless wine glasses are those that don’t have a stem at all. They tend to look more like a fancy cup with a wide base. Some prefer them over traditional wine glasses because they aren’t nearly as delicate.
Stemless wine glasses (on Amazon) are typically between 4 and 6 inches tall with a large base that makes them unlikely to tip over.
Wine Glass Height Based on Number of Ounces
In order for a wine glass to be classified officially as a wine glass, it must be able to hold at least 5 oz of liquid. This is because a standard serving of wine in the US is 5 oz (147 mL).
It’s very rare, however, to pour a glass of wine that fills all the way to the top of the wine glass; therefore, most wine glasses hold significantly more liquid.
White wine glasses are designed to hold about 8–12 oz of wine. Red wine glasses are designed to hold 9–12 oz of wine.
Based on these heights, the wine glasses that hold more wine are those that are taller. Below is a chart that shows the expected height of a wine glass based on the ounces of wine it can hold.
|Number of Ounces||Wine Glass Height|
Why Does Wine Glass Height Matter?
You may be wondering why there are different-sized wine glasses to begin with. It all has to do with the act of swirling wine around in the glass before drinking it, as well as your personal comfort level.
A wine glass is designed with a stem so that it’s easy to hold and so that the drinker is able to swirl the wine before they take a sip. Swirling the wine helps to open the wine and expose it to more air prior to drinking. The stem gives the drinker a place to hold the wine glass firmly and give it this necessary twirl.
At the same time, however, the glass stems make wine glasses easy to break, which is why many people look for the shorter, more stable wine glasses even if their wine isn’t as “open” as a result.
Finding the perfect wine glass height for your household will require evaluating how much or often you would like to swirl your wine in combination with how likely you think you are to break wine glasses of a certain height.
Short-Stemmed vs. Long-Stemmed Glasses
The main difference between short- and long-stemmed wine glasses is their level of stability. The longer a wine glass stem is, the more delicate the wine glass is, making it easier to knock it over and break it.
Additionally, shorter-stemmed wine glasses tend to be thicker, meaning if they’re knocked over, they may not break as readily as a long-stemmed wine glass. Furthermore, you may have a hard time placing longer-stemmed wine glasses into the dishwasher safely.
That being said, there’s a slight difference in your wine-drinking experience between short and long stemmed glasses. Long-stemmed wine glasses make it easier to swirl the wine and release all the flavors. This is especially important when drinking aged red wine.
That means that when it comes to choosing whether you should use short- or long-stemmed wine glasses, you should consider your event and the wine you plan to drink. If your event is more casual and there might be kids around, then short-stemmed wine glasses that are more durable (and less likely to get knocked over if a kid bumps a table) are advised.
But if you’re throwing a fancy event where you’ll be tasting aged red wines, then tell people to leave the kids at home and pull out the long-stemmed wine glasses.
Even if you aren’t tasting especially fancy wines, you’ll still want to consider the type of wine you plan to consume when choosing your wine glasses.
All in all, there’s no one height that applies to all wine glasses. Wine glasses come in various shapes and sizes, with heights ranging from 4 to 10 inches.
The right size wine glass for you will depend on your wine-drinking preferences as well as your personal comfort level. Try out the different heights and see what feels best!