How To Choose & Care For The Perfect Red Wine Glass

If you listen to the experts, it sounds that choosing a red wine glass is just as involved and even confusing as the selection of the red wine to put in it. So many shapes and sizes — how do you decide?

Many wine glasses seem to have been designed for you to get the most out of a specific type of red wine. Some, like the ones from the Riedel Company, are shaped to direct the wine to the right part of your mouth. These are really special wine glasses that add to the enjoyment of the wine and the occasion. If you are looking for an everyday red wine glass that is right for you, you do not have to follow strict rules. Your sense of style should be the deciding factor. After all, it is you who will be using them for your own enjoyment!

As you continue to explore and enjoy red wine, you may find a type that you fall in love with.

A red wine glass designed for that type of wine will enhance your enjoyment. You may want to consider a hand-blown red wine glass from the Riedel Company, or a Waterford crystal wine glass, or a beautiful Spiegelau wine glass.

Always remember when buying glassware: It is the special occasion that makes drinking your red wine a memorable event. Expensive glassware may accentuate it, but it is never the primary source for your enjoyment of red wine.

Tasting experts like to suggest to you how to choose a red wine glass. Their advice may be helpful to you, if you are trying to explore a certain wine or judge a particular vintage. But to savor your glass of wine and the moment, any red wine glass you choose will be the right one for you.

What the experts say…

Tasting experts say for non-sparkling red wines, the best glasses are clear, plain and have a stem. Crystal wine glasses, colored wine glasses and stemless red wine glasses prevent you from seeing the true color of the wine. Your visual senses are an important part of the delights that red wine brings into your life. However, let your sense of style be your guide to choosing the perfect red wine glass.


Experts say the bowl of the glass should be round, elongated in the middle and tapered at the top. All good wine glasses resemble the shape of a tulip. This shape is perfect for swirling the wine in the glass to mix it with the partially trapped air in the glass and release the wonderful aromas.

How to fill your wine glass

Fill your glass only one-third full. That way the wine has a good opportunity to mix with the air above it. And when you swirl it, you do not run a great risk of a spill. This is especially important if you want to release the sulfites from the wine.

You should also keep in mind the perfect serving temperature for the wine you are pouring.

How to wash your wine glasses

If you really value your prized glassware and do not want them to break, it is best to wash them by hand. I use a small amount of soap and rinse them with hot water. I dry them with a paper towel or a soft dishcloth.

If I don’t get around to washing them on the night I use them, I put a little water in the glass to prevent the few drops of wine leftover from drying out. I find that it is much easier to clean them thoroughly the next day, if I do that.

You can put certain red wine glasses in the dishwasher. The glasses I have from wine tasting at vineyards are sturdy enough for that method. Some experts say that you should always wash your wine glasses separately from your other dishes and without soap. This prevents any oil or soap from coating the glass surfaces and affecting the taste of your wine the next time you use your wine glasses. So far I have not run into such a problem.

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