Why Are Wine Glasses Different Shapes?

Red wine being poured into a wine glass

If you’ve ever browsed the dishware section of a home goods store, you’ve probably noticed wine glasses come in many different shapes. There’s the standard bowl-shaped wine glass, one with a much wider bowl and the skinny champagne flute.

So, the question is — how much does the shape of your glass affect your wine?

The Science Behind Wine Glass Shape

The shape of a wine glass does affect the wine. A study from the Institute of Biomaterials and Bioengineering at a Tokyo Medical and Dental University found that a wine glass’s shape allows drinkers to smell the unique parts of the wine better. With the bowl shaping inward toward the rim, the smell of ethanol — or alcohol — does not go out of the rim. As a result, we’re able to smell the unique flavors of the wine itself instead of just smelling the alcohol.

If the glass shape affects how we smell our wine, does it also affect how the wine tastes? Absolutely.

Our sense of smell and taste are closely intertwined. If you’ve ever spoken with someone who has lost their sense of smell either partially or entirely, they will probably tell you they also can’t taste as well as they could before. Your wine’s taste could depend on other factors, too, such as the environment.

In the same respect, the shape of your wine glass is essential. Different wines have unique scents and flavors, and the shape of your glass could diminish or augment those flavors and fragrances. For example, if you drink the same wine out of different shapes of wine glasses, you will taste a difference.

If you are a casual wine drinker, matching your wine glass to the type of wine probably won’t be as important. However, if tasting wine is a hobby of yours, it’s crucial to invest in the right shape of glasses for your favorite wines.

Which Glasses to Use With Which Wines

It’s entirely unreasonable to think you have to have a specially shaped wine glass for every single type of wine. To make it more reasonable, you should have a different shaped glass for each of the main types of wine, such as:

  • RedFor your merlotcabernet sauvignon or pinot noir, use a glass with a wider bowl and a narrower rim. The entire glass should be rather tall for when you want to give the red a good swirl.
  • White: For a chardonnayprosecco, or Moscato, you should look for a glass with a more narrow bowl and a narrow rim. It’s also important to use a stemmed glass for white wines.
  • Sparkling: For bubbly sparkling wine, you could use your white wine glass for this type. However, there’s something fun about using a tall, skinny flute to drink sparkling wines.

Why Are Wine Glasses Different Shapes

If you want to get even more specific about finding the perfect wine glass for different types of wines, try consulting with a sommelier.

Ready to put your new knowledge about wine glasses to the test? Marketview Liquor has a wide selection of wines you can browse at your leisure. Be sure to get the right glasses!