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Ruby Hill Winery
June 9, 2023 | Ruby Hill Winery

How to Pick the Right Wine Glass

When it comes time to raise a glass to summer celebrations and the treasured moments of life, what kind of glass are you holding? We are firm believers that every wine glass should have something to offer, enhancing your experience of your favorite wines. 

The world of wine glasses offers astonishing diversity of size, shape, thickness, and cost. The basic anatomy of a glass includes the base, sometimes called the foot, the stem, the bowl, and the rim. Each of these plays a role in the efficacy of the glass. For practical purposes, the job of a wine glass is to direct the distinct characteristics of a wine to key regions of the nose and tongue, allowing the wine to be appreciated for its aroma, taste, and visual beauty. Depending on the varietal and style, the best glass for the task varies.

With such a wide range of wine glass designs, are there ideal pairings of wines with specific glasses? Yes! The geometry of wine glasses has an effect on the experience and taste of wine, and science backs it up. Because every wine varietal has different characteristics, glasses of different shapes can bring out subtle differences and enhance the experience of trying new varietals and blends. In most cases, the differences are minimal, but it offers an opportunity for exploration for a curious palate or a serious wine lover. 

Ruby Hill Winery’s Guide: What kind of wine glass should you use?

Sparkling Wine

For sparkling wines, including Brut or Champagne, the flute is the classic option. The long, tall shape of the bowl allows the streams of bubbles to rise in picturesque columns and last longer. However, if you're savoring a more complex sparkling wine, go for a glass with a wider bowl to allow for more aroma to be released. 

Light, Crisp White Wines

Lighter white wines, such as our Sauvignon Blanc, are perfect when enjoyed from a glass with a smaller mouth in order to limit oxidation and highlight the fresh nuances and complexities of the wine. A bowl on the thinner side also helps capture the crispness of these white wines. 

Bigger, Mature White Wines

Fuller-bodied white wines are best enjoyed in a glass of similar size to the lighter white wines. The smaller size better preserves the delicate floral notes and the cooler temperature of the wine. Oaked white wines like our Reserve Chardonnay shine in a glass with a larger opening, allowing the subtle sweetness and acidity to come through on the palate. 

Rosé Wines

Lovely Rosés, particularly those on the younger side like our 2021 Grapeful Rosé, can be enjoyed from a glass with a flared rim. This uncommon shape brings the wine to the tip of the tongue where the subtle notes of sweetness can be best detected. The wine should also be freshly chilled, as these delicate notes become more muddled as the wine warms up. 

Lighter Reds

Lighter red wines, such as our Sangiovese, are hard to go wrong with. They hold up to a range of sizes and shapes; any classic wine glass with a medium-width bowl and moderate opening will do. If you prefer a more casual option, you can go with a stemless glass since the wine is less affected by the transfer of heat from one’s hand. 

Bigger, Bolder Reds

For wines with bold flavor and structure like our Jewel Petite Sirah, look for a glass with a wide bowl and rim. The generous bowl allows the complex aroma to open up, allowing you to enjoy both the overtones and the more delicate undertones. For optimal enjoyment of these bold beauties, look for wine glasses made from spun crystal. These glasses have a very thin rim, allowing for a smoother flow of wine across the tongue.

Dessert Wines

When it comes to serving sweet, port-style wines, opt for small glasses. The high alcohol content and delectable sweetness of wines like our Solera Dessert Wine make for a delicious sip. Glasses designed specifically for sweet wine have a smaller opening and direct wines to the back of the mouth to allow the sweetness to register without overwhelming the palate.  

General tips for wine glass etiquette:

Filling a glass to about 1/3 full allows a space for the aroma of the wine to collect in the glass, and leaves space for swirling. Additionally, we think that simple and classic is the way to go, but we also appreciate the dazzling aesthetics of more complex glasses, so pick what makes you happy! Just remember: it's what's on the inside that counts.

Visit the Ruby Hill Tasting room today and hone your wine tasting skills!
Open 11:00 am - 5:30 pm, seven days a week.
Click here for weekend reservations.


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