America loves wine.
We don’t drink quite as much as some European countries when you calculate consumption on a per capita basis, but the U.S. is still the world leader in total consumption. And during a time when countries like France and Italy’s wine drinking is on the decline, wine consumption in the U.S. has grown 32% over the last decade. Wine drinkers are on the rise, and they’re becoming more and more knowledgeable about their favorite beverage.
That’s why, as a business owner, it’s so important for you to be knowledgeable as well. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, you need to know what you’re customers like, and how to make sure you’re able to provide them with it. Well, the numbers have spoken, and they said “America wants more wine.”
But don’t worry. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go out and become a sommelier. As always, PJP has your back. There are some basic tips you can learn about wine and how to serve it properly without you having to be able to tell what you’re drinking with a blindfold on.
Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes we see from someone who might not be familiar with the wide world of wine is serving it in the wrong kind of glass. It may seem crazy, but the kind of glass you serve your wine in actually has a distinct and noticeable impact on the taste of that wine. Much like beer, different kinds of wine work best in different kinds of glasses. Before we get into the best wine glasses for the different kinds of wine, there are a few basic things to understand about the function of the glass itself.
Wine glasses are almost always formed with a stem, a foot and a bowl. Wine is served in stemware, primarily to prevent the transfer of body heat from hand to beverage.
The shape of the bowl serves additional functions:
- Narrower bowl: helps maintain serving temperature of chilled wine
- Narrower openings: concentrates the aroma of wine just below the nose
- Wider bowl and opening: allows for maximum oxidation, believed to enhance flavor and aroma
- Taper or curve: delivers wine to that part of the tongue where the beverage will be most enjoyed
With those basics in mind, we’re ready to move on to learning the best wine glasses for the different kinds of wine.
1. Champagne Coupe
An iconic design, it features a wide shallow bowl atop a stem. The wide surface area allows carbonation to dissipate quickly, perhaps too quickly for the currently popular dry champagnes. For this reason, it has largely been replaced by the Champagne Flute (see below). The Coupe may still be acceptable for sweeter champagnes and sparkling wines. It also lends a certain festive appeal to weddings and special events where they are occasionally stacked to create Champagne Fountains. The Coupe is also occasionally used for cocktails such as daiquiris.
2. Champagne Flute
Features a very tall and narrow tulip or trumpet shaped bowl atop a shorter stem. With less surface area exposed at the opening of the glass, the primary design characteristics help maintain the carbonation in the champagne while pouring and drinking. The tall design also gives the bubbles more distance to travel from bottom to top, enhancing the visual appeal of the beverage. Champagne Flutes, if sturdy enough, can also be used to serve mousse or trifle.
3. Port Glasses
Resembles a downsized White Wine glass, with a capacity of 4 to 6 oz. It is said that too large of an opening “allows the fruit to escape” while too narrow of an opening doesn’t allow it to breathe. A standard “U” shape bowl, or tulip shaped bowl is popular. Although true port enthusiasts may object, port can be served in a small to medium sized brandy snifter in lieu of a Port Glass.
4. Red Wine Glasses
Round and wide with an opening that is smaller than the widest part of the bowl, some variations are broader at the base tapering upward toward the opening. Either shape should provide plenty of surface area for oxidation. This is particularly important for red wine drinkers. Red Wine Glasses can also be used to serve a variety of appetizers and desserts.
5. Sherry Glasses
Sherry, a fortified wine, is usually served in smaller portions, hence smaller glasses. The traditional Spanish “Copita” has either a “U” or tulip shaped bowl with a capacity of 3 to 4 ounces. Although true sherry enthusiasts may object, sherry can also be served in a Port Glass or even a small White Wine Glass. Sherry Glasses are also used for aromatic aperitifs, cordials and layered shots.
6. White Wine Glasses
Narrower and taller than a Red Wine Glass, it features a bowl that is round to tulip shaped, tapering upward toward an opening that is narrower than the widest part of the bowl. The narrower shape traps the crisp, delicate aromas of white wine and may help maintain its cooler serving temperature.
7. Wine Tumblers
As always, if you have any other questions about the best wine glasses to serve wine in, or need to pick up any of these great wine glass options, just ask your PJP Salesperson!