What’s The Difference Between Red and White Wine Glasses

Last Updated on October 11, 2021 by Bill Allen

The Differences Between Red and White Wine Glasses

A true wine connoisseur values the difference between red and white wine glasses because it enhances their experience with the drink. If you’re going to build a complete bar that includes one of the best wine coolers and want to truly understand why it is important to serve each wine in its appropriate glass, then it is important to know the difference between wine glasses. Avoid inappropriate use and even embarrassment when attending to guests or customers by understanding the concepts below.

The Shape

A typical wine glass has got three parts namely; bowl, stem and foot. It is the shape of the glass that generally influences the type of wine it is used for. Based on the type of wine a customer or guest is enjoying will decide which glass you are going to choose as far as red versus white wine glasses. When preparing to serve wine, proper practice is to hold the glass by its stem to avoid leaving fingerprints on the bowl.

And don’t forget about the decanter. There’s something about a beautiful wine decanter and a set of good wine glasses sitting on a table that make the whole experience even more enjoyable. And using one also helps to improve the taste, so it’s a win-win.

Red Wine Glasses

red wine glassIn red wine, you generally want oxidation to occur. This is the process of oxygen coming into contact and chemically altering the wine. Normally it enhances both the flavor and aroma, making it more enjoyable which is why red wine is served in these types of glasses.

The bowl of a red wine glass is both rounder and wider to allow more air to come in contact with the liquid. They usually stand taller than white wine glasses to allow for an easier swirl of the wine to further oxidize for flavor.

Red wine glasses are also held by the bowl since it doesn’t normally make a difference if the temperature of the wine changes from the warmth of your hand.

Red wine glasses are further divided into two common discrete shapes: the burgundy glass which is broad and is suited to take the wine to the tip of the tongue and the bordeaux glass which is tall and not as broad as the burgundy glass.

As a bartender you will primarily be concerned with serving either red or white glasses and won’t have to select between bordeaux and burgundy glasses. But for the sake of this article we’re going to explain just a bit more.

For a bordeaux glass, you are going to be serving Carbernet Sauvignon or Syrah as these are more full-bodied wines. The glass is shaped to allow the wine to reach the back of the throat when sipped. Burgundy glasses are made to further enjoy the aroma of the red wine. Wines such as Pinot Noir should be served to customers in burgundy glasses.

White Wine Glasses

white wine glassMost white wine glasses have smaller mouths which reduces the area of contact the wine has with the air, reducing the rate of oxidation. Their bowls are not as wide as red wine glasses while the entire glass appears thinner.

Champagne glasses are the most thin of all the wine glasses you will use. Their shape is known as the flute which further accentuates the idea of an upscale drink and has a longer stem and thin brim. Part of the novelty of champagne is its sparkling display of bubbles. The less oxidation it gets the longer the wine will sparkle.

White wine glasses are meant to be grasped by its stem to avoid both finger prints on the bowl as well as prevent the wine from being affected by that of your body temperature. The smaller mouth also allows the aroma to be directed more precisely towards the nose which a very important part of wine appreciation.

Serve Chardonnay and Pinot Grigiot all other white wines in the wider of the white wine glasses and use the Champagne Flutes for Champagne. You can pretty much follow this rule of thumb to be successful with the whites.