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The 5 Basic Types of Wine Glasses


The hospitality industry has trained us to believe that red wine is served in a larger glass than white wine, but then, some glass brands’ white wine glass might easily measure up to another’s red. One might even venture to say the size distinction between red and white glasses has bred a worldwide wine culture where red is taken more seriously than white, which is just unfortunate. The only time we really might need a smaller glass is for a dessert or fortified wine, although that sentiment is seldom shared in places like Porto and Andalusia – the respective homes of port and sherry – where fortified wines are served in proper wine glasses, like any other wine.

The Tumbler
Drinking wine from a tumbler might feel like you’re vacationing in Santorini, but there’s very little joy to be had from the wine itself. Where wine is concerned, a tumbler is nothing but a halfway house between the bottle and your throat, as the thickness and design of the glass often obscures the colour, and swirling is best approached at your peril.

The Catering Glass
Also known as the “Paris Goblet”, you’ll find this glass at most any local superette, for instance when you’ve just arrived at a BnB and discovered that their glassware collection begins and ends with a medium water glass and a chipped measuring jug. It’s the most standard (and cheapest) version of a wine glass, and is likely to be your last glass standing after two decades of hoping it would somehow drop once too many – but it always survives. This glass is clearly no match for luxury wine drinking, and best reserved for picnics and states of emergency.

The Classic Wine Glass
Every wine glass manufacturer across every price range has created some version of this classic – the Cary Grant and Grace Kelly of wine glasses. This particular glass has a tall, thin stem, which allows you to hold the wine without affecting its temperature, and a tulip-shaped bowl to allow for liberal swirling (without seeming ridiculous).

The Copita
If you’ve ever attended a fortified wine tasting presented by the winemaker him/herself, you probably drank from a glass resembling the “copita”. Usually shorter than a regular wine glass, it holds a smaller volume, but has an elongated bowl to allow for swirling when the glass is half full.

The Champagne Glass
The two shapes most often associated with champagne are the coupe and the flute. The coupe, said to have been moulded from Marie Antoinette’s left breast, seems to rise to popularity whenever champagne is at its most fashionable. Almost synonymous with the Jazz era of the 1920s, today it’s most often clutched by social media influencers and the cool crowd. A flute, on the other hand – the inspiration for its shape being unclear – is much more effective at retaining a sparkling wine’s fizz, as the bubbles have a smaller exit area. Much of the wine world is letting go of these old champagne customs, however, in favour of a regular-shaped wine glass.