Red vs White Wine Glass: What Are the Key Differences?

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Whether you are new to wine or have years of experience, every wine drinker will require the correct glass to get the most out of their bottle of vino. There is actual science behind using the right wine glass to help improve the flavor and feel of your wine as you consume it.

Red wine glasses are typically wider, with a larger bowl and rim to allow the wine to open up and release its flavors. White wine glasses are smaller, keeping the wine more concentrated to enhance the lighter flavor. Stemless glasses are okay for red wine but may change the taste of white wine.

Knowing more about the different types of wine glasses and how they affect your experience will ensure your wine always tastes its best. Let’s look at the differences between red and white wine glasses.

Does The Shape Of A Glass Affect The Taste Of Wine?

The still life with red wine and barrels

The shape of your wine glass will indeed affect the taste of the wine. You aren’t being silly in thinking your white wine doesn’t taste the same in a glass with a wider rim. 

There is a science to prove that the shape of the wine glass will alter your taste and experience. The vapors from the liquid will change from the bottom of the glass to your tongue, depending on the shape and size of the glass. 

Furthermore, the aroma of the wine will also alter depending on which glass you choose. Therefore, using the right shape glass will ensure that your wine tastes how it should.

What Is the Difference Between a Red and White Wine Glass? 

Wine glasses are easy to distinguish from other types of glasses. Whether or not they have a stem, the shape of their rim and the density of the glass sets them apart from other options. Although most wine glasses look similar, there are clear differences between red and white wine glasses. 

Complexity vs. Intensity

Red wine glasses, which have wider rims and larger bowls, are said to allow the wine’s aromas to escape easier. When the aromas can escape easier, they become more complex and deeper. 

Opposingly, white wine glasses have smaller bowls and narrow rims. The narrower rim traps the aromas in the glass, which results in a better scent for white wines, which tend to be less pungent than red wines.

Stemmed vs. Stemless

Red and white wine can be consumed from either stemmed or stemless glasses. The stem will not alter the taste. But having no stem could change the experience. Drinking white wine, which is best chilled, could be affected when sipped from a stemless glass. Holding it with your hand could warm the wine through the glass, changing the taste. 

On the other hand, most red wines are best served at room temperature, which wouldn’t be affected by the warmth of your hand. Hence, it is best to consume red wine out of stemless glasses should you wish to use one. 

Stemless glasses will typically have wider bowls, making them more suitable for red wine as they require wider bowls. However, it is possible to find narrower stemless glasses suitable for white wine. 

Whether you choose a stem or stemless glass, both types of wine can be enjoyed from them. It is all down to personal preference. To be safe, choose stemless wine glasses with a wider bowl (ideal for red wine drinkers) to avoid knocking them over.

If you are unsure how to hold your wine glass correctly, click here for our guide.

The Different Types Of Wine Glasses

Depending on the type of red or white you choose, there are various options to suit your wine best.

Red Wine Glasses

Here are the different types of red wine glasses.

Standard Glass

The standard red wine glass will cater to medium and full-bodied options. This includes those with spicy aromas and a high alcohol content (ABV). 

A standard red wine glass typically has a narrower rim than others. Narrower rims make the complex flavor and aroma softer when it reaches your tongue. The wines best suited to the standard red wine glass include Shiraz, Zinfandel, Shirah, and Malbec.

Large Bordeaux Glass

The tallest glass of all red wine glasses is a large Bordeaux glass, like these (on Amazon), which are suited to the boldest reds – Cabernet Sauvignon, Franc wines, and many Bordeaux blends. 

These are typically tall with wide bowls. The wide bowl and top allow the aromas to escape the glass, giving the wine more aroma and smoothness. 

Burgundy Glass

Burgundy glasses are perfect for delicate aromas and lighter red wines. The Burgundy glass has the largest bowl of them all, which helps to pick up soft aromas. These glasses are typically suited to Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Zweigelt.

White Wine Glasses

Here are the different types of white wine glasses.

Sauvignon Blanc Glass

Sauvignon Blanc is a light to medium-bodied white wine; the correct glass is one with a narrow bowl and a long stem. A narrow bowl works to capture the aromas, helping them travel to your nose and enhancing the flavors. 

This shaped glass is excellent for Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blanc, white Bordeaux, and Muscat Blanc.

Chardonnay Glass

Chardonnay is a full-bodied white wine that requires a wider bowl as they balance the aroma, allowing them to escape easier. 

Drinking from a Chardonnay glass results in the wine hitting the sides of your tongue, allowing you to experience all of its flavors. Along with Chardonnay, these white wine glasses are suitable for Viognier and other full-bodied white wines. 

Sweet White Wine Glass

Sweet white wines are best enjoyed in small glasses with fine rims. The size of the glass and rim allows the sweet white wine to hit the center of your tongue when poured, allowing you to enjoy its concentrated sweet flavor. 

Riesling, Gruner, and other sweet wines best suit this size and shape glass. These glasses are also advised for sweet red dessert wines like Port.

Champagne Glass

Champagne glasses have smaller bowls and rims, which keep the bubbles from escaping the glass. These glasses are ideal for champagne, as well as sparkling white wines, Cava, and Prosecco. 

Can You Drink Red Wine in a White Wine Glass? 

Glass of red and white wine with grapes on brown wooden background

It is good to know that drinking red wine in a white glass is fine. If you lack the supplies at home, you can pour your favorite Malbec or Bordeaux into a white wine glass. Yet, it is essential to note that it will alter the taste of the wine. 

A white wine glass will change the taste of your red wine, as red requires more space to open to allow the aromas to escape the glass. A red wine glass will add complexity to the red wine and allow it to soften as you pour it from the glass into your mouth. 

Whereas a white wine glass will intensify a red wine’s bold aromas. Sometimes, this might not be a bad thing. Yet you should expect your red wine to taste slightly different than expected when using a white glass. This is especially true when drinking expensive wines

Of course, if you are in a pinch, go ahead and pour that red wine into a white wine glass, just know you only have yourself to blame when it doesn’t taste the same as it did in the winery.

What Else Can Change The Taste Of Your Wine?

It isn’t just the type of glass that will alter the taste of your wine. Of course, incorrect storage and the wrong temperature will affect the wine experience. Warm white wine or poorly stored red will not taste its best. 

Additionally, how much wine you pour can also affect the flavor and aromas of your wine. It is advised to avoid filling your glass to the top. Although it can make life easier, as you will require fewer trips to the fridge, too much wine in a glass won’t allow the wine to open as intended.

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