Wine Tips & Tricks

The Importance of a Wine Glass

You’re probably wondering why some people are such sticklers about wine glasses. What’s the big deal if you prefer your wine out of a Solo cup? If the wine is cheap and you only want it for its ‘therapeutic’ benefits, then a Solo cup is fine! However, if you’re trying to understand wine and want to be able to taste all of the nuanced flavors, then you may want a proper glass.

The Importance of a Wine Glass

Illustration by Louise Gellert from Denmark.

How a Wine Glass Works

Releasing aromas. Enjoying wine is all about aromas. It’s the same joy as smelling bacon frying or sniffing a hot cup of Chai tea. With wine, the aromas are released as the alcohol volatilizes from the surface of the wine. Having an increased surface area is a benefit to optimize releasing aromas while drinking. There have been studies to show how swirling wine increases surface area.

Collecting aromas. It’s a surprise that not more coffee and tea cups have ‘aroma collectors’, because they’d benefit from the same effect that the bowl of a wine glass offers to wine. Depending on the style of wine, you may want a large aroma collector or a smaller one. There are no set rules for this logic, however we’ve seen that white wines typically have smaller aroma collectors and bowls to maintain their temperature whereas red wines typically have larger bowls to showcase their aromas.

Thin lips. There are differing opinions on the lip of a glass, however the general consensus is that the thinner the lip of the glass, the less ‘in the way’ the glass is to the drinking experience. We’ve seen this in all types of glasses, from water to whiskey.


You should be able to throw (maybe swirling can do it) the wine around in the glass in order to unlock all the aromas. A wine glass is normally more narrow at the top for two reasons:

  1. so the wine doesn’t end up on the floor when swirling
  2. it helps collect the unlocked aromas and makes it easier for us to smell them

Louise Gellert



Trying to Pick the Right Wine Glass?

Need some more information on picking wine glasses? No matter what anyone tells you, there are some factors that you might like to consider (like how clutzy you are) to help decide what glasses to buy.

Guide to Types of Wine Glasses


Don’t Think a Wine Glass Matters?

If you don’t think the glass matters, then I suggest you try out a glass tasting. Serve one glass of wine in a water glass and another in a wine glass. I assure you – there will be a difference. The scent changes radically and the experience of drinking a glass of wine will be completely different and new.
Louise Gellert

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About Madeline 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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