Choosing the Right Wine Glass: The 3 Best

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By Kita R

Plan the perfect wine tasting by choosing the right wine glass. We pick the three essential wine glasses every hostess should own for entertaining. A universal stemless wineglass for easy entertaining, a Chardonnay glass for white, and a Bordeaux glass for red.

Wie glasses on their sides showing shades of wines from dark red to light white progressing through the glasses.
From reds to whites. Image source: Depositphotos

When it comes to choosing the correct wine glass, it can quickly get as tricky as choosing the right wine. With the abundance of options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But we’ve narrowed it down to the three best wine glasses to own that will get you through setting a proper table and hosting a formal event or casual wine tasting with friends. 

“So much of the wine-tasting experience comes from the wine’s aroma. Our brains use the aroma to help process the flavor, so we want a glass that brings out those nuanced smells. Universally, wine glasses have bigger bowls with a tapered side to help those aromas travel to our nose. You’ll notice red wine glasses have bigger bowls than white wine glasses. That bigger bowl better allows for more aeration, which helps accentuate those bolder aromas,” says expert Amanda McGrory-Dixon of Burrata and Bubbles.  

Why the Shape of a Wine Glass Is Important 

After you’ve selected the perfect wine for the occasion, the next choice is the glass. Picking the right wine glass is a critical component of enjoying wine, and the designers methodically think out the nuance of the shape and size. As a result, the form of each glass is as unique as the varietal for enjoying the wine-drinking experience to its fullest. 

The glass’s bowl shape and cup area affect how quickly the wine is oxidized, which means how the wine reacts and changes as it’s exposed to the oxygen in the air. This can influence the taste and even the color of the wine as it sits in the glass. The shape of the rim of the glass also contains and concentrates the aromatics of the wine, adding to the testing drinking experience as it’s sipped. 

The Three Best Wine Glasses Every Hostess Should Own

There are glasses for enjoying heavy-, medium-, and light-bodied wines, including both red and white wines. White wine glasses tend to be smaller than red wine glasses. But buying new stemware is unnecessary whenever you open a new bottle. 

1. All-Purpose Wine Glasses 

When it comes to an all-purpose wine glass, you need one that can handle almost any type of wine except for sparkling wines. It should be wide enough to help aerate red wine and not so big that sipping a white wine isn’t enjoyable. Luckily, there are more on the market now than ever.

A Pinot Noir or Burgundy stemless wine glass is a great go-to, all-purpose glass. It can accommodate red and white wine with a wide bowl for oxygenation. In addition, the stemless look is less formal and allows the host to pour whatever is on hand without worrying over proper glasses. 

These are perfect for casual nights or mixing it up on an evening where you may sample more than one wine or sangria

Chart showing variety of white wine glasses.
Types of white wine glasses. Image Source: Depositphotos

2. White Wine Glasses 

White wines have a more delicate aroma and flavor and require a different glass than red wine. The glass is narrower and has a smaller opening at the top because it doesn’t need as much oxygen to breathe and keep the aromatics in the bowl as you sip and enjoy. 

Choose a Chardonnay glass as the all-purpose white wine glass. It has a slightly larger bowl than other white wine glasses, but it’s versatile enough to serve them all well. 

Chart showing variety of red wine glasses.
Types of red wine glasses. Image Source: Depositphotos

3. Red Wine Glasses

Red wine glasses tend to be bigger and have larger bowls than white wine for more oxygenation to bring out their full flavor profile. Red wine glasses also have larger openings at the top so that aromas can be released more easily into the air around them and longer stems for better temperature control. 

Select a Bordeaux glass as an all-purpose red wine glass. It is larger than the chardonnay glass with a bigger bowl to allow for the aeration of red wines allowing you to enjoy their full flavor. 

When it comes to essential wine glasses, look for high-quality glasses. If you really want to invest in quality, buy crystal glasses to enjoy the feeling and experience while drinking. Consider tempered glass or even high-quality plastic for the stemless, all-purpose wine glass for everyday glasses. It’s less likely to break as easily with normal wear and tear. 

You may want to expand upon your wine glass collection as you host more dinner parties and find yourself setting formal tables and serving guests. But these three all-purpose glasses are the best for anyone looking to be prepared for entertaining. 

Empty wine glasses on a table. Image source: Depositphotos

Tips For Hosting a Successful Wine Tasting 

Now that you have the stemware, here are some tips for making your tasting a breeze. 

  1. Choose Your Wines Wisely — Choose wines with unique flavor profiles so everyone can appreciate each glass’s characteristics. We suggest theming around one type or region to advanced dinner parties so guests don’t get overwhelmed. 
  2. Provide Food Pairings — A cheese board or charcuterie tray is perfect for enjoying the wine and keeping everyone satiated between tastings. Building a charcuterie board is quick and easy, and we suggest working in groups of three for an enjoyable sampling. 
  3. Have Fun With It — Be willing to try new bottles and taste new varieties. The key is not to take learning about wine too seriously and enjoy yourself while you discover what wines you want and those you may not. 
Two glasses of rose toasting over a table.
Toasting with wine glasses. Image source: Depositphotos

Now to Sit Back and Sip

With these simple tips and knowledge, it’s time to go shopping. Although there are a lot of choices on the market, if you can narrow it down to these three glasses, the selection process can become much more manageable. And if you’re just starting, pick the type of wine you gravitate towards most. If it’s white wine, those glasses to stock your bar first. If it’s red, go that way. Or split the difference and settle for the stemless, all-purpose glasses in between. Most of all, don’t overthink it and enjoy the wine-tasting experience. 

Kita Roberts is a world-traveled photographer, award-winning chef, and content creator writing for,, and

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