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What Types of Wine Glasses Do You Really Need?

Written by Madeline Puckette
What Type of Stemware is Right for You?

There are a gazillion different types of wine glasses out on the market. So, what should you buy? You need a set of glassware that works for your day-to-day needs, rather than necessarily needing the right glass for every single type of wine. Discover what glassware fits your wine drinking habits and what the best options are to build a proper wine glass set.

Check out this cool chart on the different types of wine glasses. Identify the different styles so that you can better decide what to buy based on your needs.

Types of Wine Glasses Chart

Types of Wine Glasses Chart by Wine Folly

The Difference Between Crystal and Glass Stemware

Crystal is glass with lead monoxide in it and, depending on what country you live in, percentages of lead monoxide can vary from 1% (in the US) to 30% (in Europe). Many glassware manufacturers also make lead-free crystal glassware with zinc and magnesium oxide, which also refracts light. Using leaded or lead-free crystal for wine glasses is popular for two reasons: First, the minerals cause the glass to have light refraction which gives stemware a sparkle. Secondly, the inclusion of minerals in glass makes it sturdy enough to be spun very thin.

Regular glass doesn’t shine the same way as crystal but it is more affordable and also tends to be more durable.

You Only *Need* Two Types Starting a wine glass collection? Go super basic and get a set of 6 red wine glasses and a set of 4-6 Champagne flutes. Take my word for it; that’s all you really need.

Questionaire: Which Type of Wine Glasses Should You Buy?

Answer these questions honestly to figure out what kind of stemware to buy.

  1. Do you ever handwash special kitchen tools such as knives?
  2. Do you have places to store tall wine glasses?
  3. Do you enjoy a glass of wine almost every night?
  4. Do you wash your dishes after dinner?
  5. Do you find pleasure in cleaning and organizing your kitchen or bathroom?
  6. Do you have safe areas that are off-limits to kids?

If you answered mostly “No” Owning crystal stemware will drive you insane. Instead, get glassware or stemless crystal glasses. These will be easier to maintain and won’t give you a conniption if they break. You can also wash them in the dishwasher.

If you answered mostly “Yes” You are neurotic enough to keep crystal glassware clean and sparkly. You should look into getting a set of 4-6 matching crystal wine glasses that you can use for years to come. Learn how to wash wine glasses by hand

Gary V. from drinks from a fish-bowl sized glass, but also has drunk wine from a coffee mug.

Does a Different Glass Really Affect the Flavor?

Yep! From coffee to wine, some vessels are designed to capture the “perfect” amount of aromas. That being said, just be sure to leave a little room in your glass to collect smells. Most wine glasses are designed to be filled less than half-full. Read More about:

How glass shape affects flavor

You Really Need Two Wine Glass Styles to Start

Starting your wine glass collection? Keep it simple and opt for a set of 6 red wine glasses and a set of 4-6 white wine glasses or Champagne flutes. Take my word for it; this all you really need (unless you’re planning to be a professional at-home host.)

Madeline Puckette Swirling Wine

What We Use on Set

We purchased Riedel Restaurant Extremes from a wine distributor. The stemware we use is quite similar to the Riedel Vinum Extreme series. We use the Cabernet Sauvignon glass for red wine and the Sauvignon Blanc glass for white wine. I like them because they’re big, but not too big, for filming. If you want to go lead-free check out Schott Zwiesel Tritan Pure Collection, which is a better value and comes in sets of 6.

PS. We weren’t paid for these opinions and believe that glassware is a personal choice. Feel free to find me on @twitter or facebook if you want a recommendation.

Written byMadeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly

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