Written By Linda Weaver; Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery
When you compile your bridal gift registry, you have a lot of decisions to make (all at once!) about what home goods you hope to acquire for your new life together. What follows are some guidelines that should help make your selection of wine glasses a little easier.
Ideally, you’ll want to check out glassware in person before you add it to your list.
While you can fine good deals on stemware on the internet, nothing beats seeing glasses first hand to appreciate their clarity, size, and how they feel in your hand. Glassware is extremely important to wine appreciation because it influences how you perceive the taste, color, and aromas of wine.
As a general rule, chose clear, crystal glasses (not colored or decoratively chiseled) with thin “cut” as opposed to “rolled-over” rims with large bowls that hold 10 to 18 ounces, taper slightly inward at the top, and balance well in the hand.
A large bowl and a narrower opening help magnify the wine’s aromas, providing plenty of space for them to expand but little room for them to escape. A narrower opening also allows you to swirl the wine (without spilling!) which helps release aromas. Hand-blown glass is generally thinner, especially at the rim, and balances better than machine-made glass. These days you’ll find quite a few “combination” wineglasses with hand-blown bowls and machine-made stems and bases. They can be a good compromise between beauty and cost.
If you are only going to chose one type of wine glass, chose stemmed wine glasses as opposed to stemless glassware.
Wineglasses traditionally have stems so that your hand doesn’t touch the bowl, obscuring the glass with fingerprints or warming the wine above proper serving temperature. However, these days, stemless glasses have become popular because they are easier to store if you have limited space, are dishwasher-friendly and less prone to breakage without the fragile stems. Although they are inexpensive and more casual, you may want to list the more expensive stemmed wine glasses on your gift registery!
Although many wine lovers find that an all-purpose, everyday wineglass does the trick for them, if you care about having the “correct” wineglass for the occasion, there are three general categories of wine glass - red wine, white wine, and sparkling wine.
To preserve a crisp, clean flavor, white wine glasses will have a smaller mouth and a narrower bowl. This reduces surface area (reducing the rate of oxidation) and the smaller capacity helps keep the temperature cool longer. Generally, red-wine glasses have larger bowls and wider openings than those for white. Glasses for red wine are characterized by a rounder, wider bowl which increases the rate of oxidation. As oxygen from the air chemically interacts with the wine, flavor and aroma are subtly altered. This process of oxidation is generally more compatible with red wines, whose complex flavors are smoothed out after being exposed to air. This is why red wine is often decanted from the bottle before serving.
In the case of sparkling wine, such as Champagne or Asti, an even smaller mouth at the rim is used to keep the wine sparkling longer in the glass. Choose fluted or tulip-shaped glasses for sparkling wines and champagne which will help keep the bubbles intact for longer and ensure the best flavor and aroma. If you drink dessert wines, glasses for Sherry and Port traditionally are small because those fortified wines are usually consumed in small quantities.
A Couple Tips on Cleaning and Storing Your New Wine Glasses
I recommend washing your wine glasses in hot water only. Soap can build up inside the glass and affect a wine’s flavor. If you prefer to wash your glasses in the dishwasher (make sure they are dishwasher-proof!) wash them on the shortest cycle without detergent or rinsing aid and open the door at the end of the cycle to let the glasses air dry without humidity. Do not store glasses upside down as it traps stale air. Stand them upright in a closed cupboard.
Whether you are looking for that perfect wine to accompany your wedding meal, a unique and memorable wedding favor or gift, or simply advice on how to buy, taste, store, or serve your wine, look no further than Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery. Their friendly wine pros will point you in the right direction for all of your wine needs, all in your own backyard!
Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery
300 Houser Street
Centre Hall, PA 16828