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With so many styles available at a wide range of price points, shopping for wine glasses can be overwhelming. Getting insights from wine experts, though, can ease the process––especially now that the wine scene is moving toward a more pared-down approach to glassware. “I’ve noticed that people aren’t into individual glass shapes as much as they used to be,” says Doreen Winkler, a natural wine sommelier and founder of the wine club Orange Glou. “People want to simplify the wine drinking experience,” she says. “You don’t need a burgundy wine glass to drink burgundy.” Still, specialized glasses will always have their place in fine dining and for the serious, at-home drinker.
No matter what your own glassware philosophy might be, it’s safe to say that durability and versatility are important things to consider when looking for new wine glasses. It’s also worth considering whether or not you mind handwashing glasses or would find a dishwasher-safe glass more suited to your needs. Here are some of the industry’s top picks for any occasion.
Best Overall: Riedel Vinum Viognier/Chardonnay Glasses
Expressive, low-acid wines thrive in Riedel’s 12.38-ounce crystal VINUM Viognier/Chardonnay glasses. This particular collection was first launched in 1986, but the glassware company has been around since the mid-18th century and is credited with pioneering varietal-specific stemware. The mouth of this particular glass is not too narrow, designed to direct the flow of liquid to the desired area of the palate for optimized tasting based on its designated wine style. The VINUM line’s Viognier and Chardonnay glasses also work well for Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio/Gris/Blanc, and more. They’re also dishwasher-safe for your convenience.
Generally speaking, it’s smart to keep glassware specific to medium and fuller-bodied white wines as they can easily stand in as light-bodied red wine glasses, making them ideal for transitioning through a coursed meal.
Best for Red Wine: Williams Sonoma Angle Red Wine Glasses
This all-purpose set of Williams Sonoma red wine glasses is an absolute steal. Combining graceful structural lines with strong curvature, the German-made stemware is lead-free, break-resistant, and dishwasher safe. The angular silhouette of these striking 22-ounce glasses is more aesthetically pleasing than technically designed––the functionality of the bowls lies in their middle-of-the-road width and shape, making them versatile enough to accommodate any red wine style. The Angle glass can hold its own atop any tablescape, elaborate or not.
Best for White Wine: Schott Zwiesel Sensa White Wine Glasses
Many white wines take on their finest form in these all-purpose glasses by Schott Zwiesel, a trusted name in the industry. On a technical level, these glasses are designed with lighter-bodied white wines in mind (think Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blanc, and the like), though they would serve any style well. Made in Germany, the glasses’ durability is perhaps their best feature––the innovative material, which is made using patented titanium technology, bridges the gap between superfine glassware and the dishwasher-safe realm. These 12-ounce glasses make for a great gift, especially given the option to monogram for an extra $12.
Best Specialized Red: Luigi Bormioli Atelier Pinot Noir Wine Glass
High tech meets luxury and affordability in Luigi Bormioli’s Atelier collection. Using SON.hyx, the brand’s own patented process, the Italian glassware company has created an impressively shock-resistant, highly brilliant, and crystal-clear dishwasher safe glass that—thanks to laser-cut rims, titanium reinforcement, and seam-free stems—is comparable as many of the more top-shelf options on the market. When stocking Pinot Noir glasses (or glasses for any lighter-style red), this is an excellent place to start. These glasses offer a 21-ounce capacity.
Best Coupe: LSA International Champagne Saucer
Bubbles bring on a particular element of science, and many die-hards insist that certain glass styles are superior to others––glasses that are too wide can theoretically allow gas to escape too quickly from the liquid, and a narrow opening (like that of a Champagne flute) can hinder perception of aromas. While the discerning set might be right on paper, Ryan Tu, CEO and founder of COUP Champagne, a craft brand out of San Francisco, explains, “Champagne has this image that it must be in certain glassware, yet Champagne itself is such an amazing [wine] that most of the time, it pairs anytime, anywhere with so many foods and occasions.” Tu and his team have sipped from tumblers, red SOLO cups, shot glasses, tulip glasses, and more, but as the name indicates, it all comes back to the coupe glass. “Some sommeliers say that you lose the bubbles too fast—we say that you should drink up,” he says.
When shopping for coupe glasses, Tu is partial to Polish brand LSA International’s 10.1-ounce saucers. “LSA has always made a solid product, and [they] have been in the glassware business for decades,” he says. “Every piece is mouth-blown and they maintain a modern, yet traditional aesthetic.” Note that it’s recommended to hand-wash these glasses.
Best Splurge: Zalto Denk'Art Bordeaux Wine Glass
Ask any professional, and they’ll tell you that Zalto is somewhat of an icon in the world of wine, with the Denk’Art line among its most widely beloved. This Austrian-brand was even one of the first to introduce hand-crafted and mouth-blown functional glasses to the market, according to Shira Tsiddon, sommelier at The Norman Hotel in Tel Aviv. The beauty of these 23-ounce style-specific glasses, she says, is the combination of elegant, clean lines, thoughtful design inspired by the Earth’s tilt angles, and its versatility to function in both a fine dining setting and in a cabinet at home.
“One of the major superiorities about Zalto Denk'Art Wine Glasses lies in how light [they are],” says Tsiddon. “When pouring the wine and holding the glass up, you cannot feel it exists; the glass is nearly transparent, both visually and physically,” she says.“[It] makes the wine taste even more majestic than it usually does.” If you’re looking for something that looks and feels luxurious, these Bordeaux glasses––designed for rich, full-bodied reds––are your best bet.
Most Unique: Crate and Barrel Camille Long Stem Wine Glass
“I wouldn't be a true Scandal fan if I didn't mention the Crate and Barrel Camille Red Wine Glass,” says Chicago-based journalist and wine professional Chasity Cooper, referencing Olivia Pope’s long-stemmed wine glass of choice. “These are durable, great to sip from every day, and help me channel my inner gladiator.”
The glass’ large, spherical 23-ounce bowl is often used for Burgundy-style wines––delicate and lighter in body with soft, subtle aromas. The width of the bowl works to aerate and amplify what’s in the glass, while the narrowed opening lends itself well to the aromas collected inside. It’s best to hand-wash these Slovakia-made glasses.
Best Flute: Waterford Champagne Classic Flute
For celebratory toasts, flutes are always handy to have around––nosing aside, from a serving standpoint, these are the most spatially sound option for a party tray. Séverine Frerson, Chef de Cave at Perrier-Joüet in Reims, France, is a huge fan of Waterford’s 8.5-ounce classic flute for such occasions. “It is an elegant take on a classic glass that enhances the beauty of Perrier-Jouët's Chardonnay, [for example].” For sipping at home, Frerson recommends hand washing these glasses to preserve the integrity of the slender, delicate stem.
Best Stemless: Ravenscroft Amplifier Vintner's Tasting Glasses
When serving orange wines at events, Winkler’s go-to is the Ravenscroft Amplifier Vintner’s Tasting Glass, which features a thumb and index finger punt, placed strategically to prevent body heat from affecting what’s in the glass. Stemless is ideal when entertaining large crowds as they’re not only less likely to get knocked over and break, but also can be cleaned and stored more easily than stemware. According to Winkler, the functional features of this 13.5-ounce glass––combined with its aroma-amplifying silhouette––make it perfect for many different orange wines (or any still or sparkling wine that’s meant to be served at colder temperatures). It’s recommended to hand wash these handmade crystal glasses.
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Céline Bossart's entire journalistic career has been rooted in the world of beverage. Naturally, this involves extensive market research, which translates to a robust glassware collection built over the years.