Beginners Guide to Different Types of Wine Glasses

Four different wine glasses with different types of wine

Style is not the only reason wine glasses come in unique shapes. While visual appeal is part of the design, it also serves a functional purpose. Here, Columbia Distributing, a beverage distributor in Washington and Oregon, outlines the different types of wine glasses and their related varietals.

Why the Wine Glass Matters

While you can enjoy your wine from any cup, using a glass that corresponds with the specific variety can enhance your experience. For instance, a significant part of wine tasting is the aroma of the wine and its impact on the flavor. The size and shape of a wine glass influence how your nose captures and disperses the vapors throughout your palate. Since red and white wines have drastically different aromas, different wine glasses are designated for each variety.

How to Identify Various Types of Wine Glasses

Since red wines tend to be more full-bodied, they require more oxygen to extenuate their spicy flavors and aromas. A general rule with red wine is to swirl it in the glass a few times before sipping to help aerate the wine. For this reason, the best glasses for red wines have a larger bowl.

Wine glasses designed for white wines tend to be slimmer with smaller rims. White wines do not require as much aeration, which allows for thinner glasses. Also, the slender shape of the glass helps maintain a cooler temperature since white wines are often served chilled to better capture the acidity.

Wine Glasses for Red Wines

When choosing the best wine glasses for your red wines, look for stemmed wine glasses with a large bowl. Some glasses to consider for red wines include:


This style of wine glass is typically referred to as a Bordeaux glass but could also be marketed as cabernet sauvignon or merlot glasses. It is best used for bold reds with high tannins like cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, and, naturally, Boudreaux.


This wine glass shape is a bit smaller than the Boudreaux glass and has a tighter opening that helps spices and flavors hit your tongue slowly. Syrah, malbec, petite sirah, and other red wines that are a bit lighter are ideal for this type of glass.

Pinot Noir

This wine glass is known for its wide bowl and narrow rim and is best for enjoying more delicate reds. The pinot noir or burgundy wine glass shape allows more of the wine to oxygenate, which increases the flavor profile and controls the flow of wine onto your palate for maximum sweetness.

Wine Glasses for White Wines

White wines are a bit simpler, so you can stick to one or two types of glasses for all of them. A slim glass and a long stem are the defining features of a perfect white wine glass. Make the most of your white wine tasting experience by using these glasses:

Light-Bodied White Wine

This glass is often referred to as a standard wine glass and has a narrow bowl and rim for a cooler temperature. Serve your favorite white wines like Riesling, rosé, and sauvignon blanc in this style of glass.


As the name suggests, this type of wine glass is great for chardonnay and other full-bodied white wines, such as white rioja. It has a larger bowl and mouth to emphasize the texture and bring out the best flavor in stronger white wines.

By using wine glasses that are designed for the specific varietal, you gain an enhanced tasting and drinking experience.

Find the Perfect Wine Glass with Help from Columbia Distributing

Make your next wine tasting experience exceptional by serving wine in the proper glass. Columbia Distributing is a great resource for all of your wine tips and needs. You can even find a wide selection of wine and alcohol for your next event with Columbia Distributing. Contact us today to learn more about us and what we offer in Wilsonville, Oregon, and Kent, Washington.