All You Need to Know about Wine Glasses Part 1

Always wanted to know more about wine glasses? We get your questions answered.

Are you a newbie to wine appreciation? Or are you looking to expand your knowledge on wine glasses and how the right one can boost your appreciation of fine wines? In the first part of our interview with Christophe Oudin, the managing director of Zwiesel Asia Pacific, he shares tips on how to get started on choosing wine glasses.

1. What would be the first thing to look at when choosing wine glasses?
Drinking wine is an experience that engages all the senses. Perhaps it is easier to say what to look out for when choosing wine glasses. What wines do you drink more of? Are you a serious wine drinker, or a social drinker? This will help you decide if you want a big collection with specialist glasses, or a more easy-going collection with glasses that can hold more than one kind of wine. The weight of the glass is important. A wine-glass should preferably be light: you should focus more on the wine that you are drinking than on the glass. Zwiesel 1872′s signature range, The First, is one of my favourites for this, and has garnered multiple compliments from wine drinkers.

Homeowners with space considerations or wine novices can consider going for a universal glass — these glasses are carefully designed to be both suitable for red and white wines. Similarly, consider how you want to maintain your glasses. If you dislike washing dishes and glasses by hand, you would not enjoy using the glasses and your wine drinking experience if all you can think about is having to wash your glasses later! Ensure you can carefully maintain the glasses you buy, especially if they cost enough to be considered an investment. Think about the crystal or glass that your wineglass is made of how clear is it? You want a glass that reflects and enhances the colours of your wine, not distort it.

2. There are wine glasses in different sizes. For those who are new to wine appreciation, which wine glasses would you recommend for a start?
For those new to wine appreciation, I would advise starting with a glass like the ‘0’ Burgundy glass from the Vina range by Schott Zwiesel. Many new wine drinkers favour fruitier styles of wine – and the Vina ‘0’ Burgundy glass combines all the qualities that allow these types of wines as well as whites and younger, less tannic red wines to shine. The glass has a good height to coax and funnel the aromas of the reds while the circumference of the mouth of the glass is wide enough for whites to reveal the more delicate nuances of their scents.

3. For those who wish for a universal wine glass?
If price is not an object, the best glass for “all-round” use or the best universal glass is the Degustation glass from The First by Zwiesel 1872. I often say that if you have just one glass in your cupboard, then this is the one you need. The wide body of the glass that then tightens towards the rim to concentrate aromas is ideal for a wide range of wines from Chardonnay to Pinot Noir to Cabernet Sauvignon to Sangiovese – they all show beautifully from this glass. Once a preference has been discovered or developed for a particular style or variety of wine, it is worthwhile to buy a set of glasses designed to better express that particular style of wine.

4. At a formal table setting, what would be the arrangement for wine glasses?
For formal settings, there should be at least 1 water glass, 1 champagne flute (or an aperitif glass), 1 white wine glass and 1 red wine glass. All glasses always go on the right-hand side. Water glass is the shortest glass, and will be set always above the knife. Wine glasses are placed in a row behind the water glass, and will then be placed inwards from the right-most side. This is because the glasses will be removed as each course – and presumably the wine it has been paired with – is completed. Only the water glass is not removed, for obvious reasons.

Assuming champagne is being served as the aperitif, it will be on the outermost right-hand side. Next comes the white wine glass, then the red wine glass.If two or more red wines are served, the shorter wine glass will be positioned immediately next to the white wine glass, then will come the taller red wine glass. In other words, the shorter red wine glass will always be to the right of the taller red wine glass. The taller glass will always be on the innermost side.

5. For a casual table setting, what would be the ideal arrangement for wine glasses?
It really depends on how casual the event is. Let’s say the arrangement will be that you’ll be serving guests with an aperitif (champagne or prosecco or even a champagne cocktail), and only one wine with a choice of red or white. In such a situation, you would need one water glass, one champagne flute and one universal wine glass.

The rules of thumb that we mentioned for the formal setting would also apply here. The champagne flute will be on the outermost side (as it should and hopefully will be removed when the aperitifs are done), and will be followed by the universal wine glass. Again, the water glass will not be removed.