Home / Serving With Wine Glasses

Serving With Wine Glasses

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Alcohol, as a rule, is generally easy to serve. For beer, you simply hand someone a can or a bottle and, if need be, a bottle opener. For hard alcohol, you simply pour the spirits into a mixer, add in a straw or perhaps a mini umbrella, and send them on their way. For shooters, you place the alcohol in a shot glass and, depending on what the person is drinking, give them something to deflate the alcohol’s flavor: a lime, a lemon, a stomach pump.

While wine is a type of alcohol, it refutes this easy-to-serve concept. It’s not horribly difficult to serve, but when compared to other forms of alcohol, its proper service requires a little more know how, a know-how that is facilitated by an understanding of the different types of wine glasses.

Three Main Wine Glasses

Although wine glasses can come in many varieties — with different sizes and shapes abounding — there are three general wine glass categories aimed at encompassing the most common types of wine.

Sparking Wine Flutes: Sparkling wine flutes are tall and thin, like a wine glass that works out. They are used to holding all kinds of sparkling wine, including champagne. Because sparkling wines contain carbonation, flutes are designed to encourage carbonated bubbles to remain active. If this type of wine is served in a shorter, fatter wine glass, it will be exposed to air quickly, causing the drink to go flat and bursting the wine’s bubble in more than one way.

White Wine Glasses: White wine glasses are tulip shaped. They are typically medium in size, ranging from eight to fourteen ounces. The rim of white wine glasses is tapered inward. This inwardness helps direct the white wine’s aroma to the nose, greatly enhancing the wine’s flavor.

Red Wine Glasses: Red wine glasses are slightly larger than white wine glasses, tipping the scales between ten and sixteen ounces. The bowl, more fishbowl like, is larger and rounder, but, like the white wine glass, it is also tapered inward. This also directs the aroma of the red wine to the nose, allowing the drinker to use their sense of smell to make their wine tasting experience much more flavorful.


Overall, wine glasses should be clear, allowing the drinker to visually see what they are drinking. They should also be made of thinly cut glass and tapered at the top. As a general rule of thumb, a thinner glass is better than a larger one, not because of society’s preconceived notions, but because thinner glasses keep air out easier than larger ones. Though being made of crystal is not mandatory, crystal wine glasses do tend to enhance the essence of wine to a greater degree.

Filling the Glass

Some people my have different suggestions when it comes to filling their wine glass. While some may want the wine to be level with the wine glass’s rim, others may prefer just a taste and some, forgoing the wine glass altogether, may simply open their mouths wide and ask you to start pouring.

Personal preferences aside, the proper way to fill a wine glass is to fill it about half way — and only a third of the way for white wine — in order to give the wine drinker a chance to move the wine glass around and catch the wine’s aromas. Filling a wine glass with too much wine can result in taking the wine drinkers ability to swirl away or leave them with a shirt tie-dyed in Cabernet.

While there are several ways to serve wine, and several things to serve it in, having a collection of wine flutes, white wine glasses, and red wine glasses should be sufficient enough to effectively serve any wine that crosses your path, keeping wine drinkers happy and the elegance of wine properly contained.

Powered by

About Jenn Jordan

  • It amazes me how many restaurants and bars don’t understand or don’t practice this concept. I prefer to enjoy wine in larger oversize wine glasses. Large, oversize wine glasses allow more room to breathe and create more freedom for the ever important swirl. I recommend 16-20 oz volume for white wine glasses and 20-32 oz volume for red wine glasses.

  • I prefer oversize wine glasses. I don’t fill them to the rim, i pour a normal ammount of wine and the large bowl allows more room for the swirl

  • mystified in Montreal

    wow! an honest approach to the question. So far, everyone mentions a % of the glass or mls/ozs. Have you ever heard of the cusp of a wine glass? Meaning the level at which the glass begins to narrow? I know there is a name for it; i am not sure if “cusp is it”. Help?

    • Millette

      I heard about that manner of pouring wine, too, i.e., stop when the wine level reaches the bell or cusp of the wine glass, which is I think easier to do with European style wine glasses. With the popularity of stemless wine glasses today, I think this rather poses a challenge but definitely not impossible.