Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

Choosing The Perfect Stemware

Written by Patti on February 2nd, 2012

Good Morning Darlings!

I am so tickled to introduce you to our Guest Blogger today, Lydia Quibbin-Jones.

Lydia is a full-time mom and part-time designer for Hinkley Lighting. She is also a wine enthusiast and dreams of owning her own vineyard in Santa Barbara someday.

We are going to learn all about choosing the correct stemware for wine.

Wine tasting and drinking is no longer an activity reserved for the elite. What was once perceived as a highbrow movement is now embraced by people from different walks of life. All that swirling, sniffing and sipping is not a pompous and pretentious way of attracting attention–it is a revelation of people’s appreciation for the finer things in life.

Those who are familiar with wine tasting know that pairing the right wine with food brings
out the flavor in a meal. Wine balances flavors and cleanses the palate for a more appetizing gourmet experience.

Pick the correct glass for maximum enjoyment.

Wine Savvy
As if knowledge of wine and food pairing is not enough, wine connoisseurs take the pursuit a notch higher by indicating what kind of vessel wine should be poured into. Isn’t Riesling still a Riesling regardless of the glass you use?

Apparently not, according to wine connoisseurs. Red wine tipped in a shot glass will not taste as good as it would have been if poured in the proper glassware—and we are not talking about the kind that grandma uses to serve lemonade.

Just as wine-food pairing is an art, there is a science behind choosing the appropriate stemware to use for your drink. Take the time in choosing the correct stemware to bring out the true flavors of wine.

Pick a wider mouth for a red wine.

Stemware Basics

Stemware is aptly named so because of its function. Wine glasses are designed to be held at the stem so that fingers (and fingerprints) do not obscure your view of the wine. More importantly, it prevents body heat from warming the wine and affecting its flavor.

Here are the basic rules when choosing the correct stemware for wines:

•Pick clear and colorless wine glasses. Although clear and colorless almost mean the same,
there is a difference when it comes to serving wine. Chiseled and colored glasses do not give
justice to the beauty of the wine as it muddles the wine’s true color and distracts you from fully appreciating its looks. Part of wine appreciation is sight, so the clearer your vision of the wine is, the more you are likely to appreciate it.

•Choose thin-lipped glasses over thick ones. Wine should easily flow from the glass to your
mouth. A thick rim inhibits you from completely tasting its flavors. In addition, it emphasizes the wine’s flaws and makes your drinking experience less than satisfactory. A crystal glass is perfect, as it has a rougher surface than ordinary glass. The coarse (different from chiseled) surface intensifies the aroma and flavor of the wine.

•Look for the right wine glass size. Different types of wines call for different sizes of glasses. Red wines like Merlots and Cabernets are robust and require a glass that has a wide bowl and mouth for swirling (think tulip-shaped). This allows the wine to develop its aroma or bouquet. White wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, on the other hand, are best enjoyed at cooler temperatures. Therefore, a stemware with narrow bowl and opening prevents the wine from

•If you are serving champagne, choose a champagne flute over a coupe. The tall, slender
body and narrow opening of a champagne flute enhances the aroma and taste of the drink.
Traditional champagne glasses, which are short and shallow, do the opposite and shorten the
visual enjoyment of bubbles in the sparkling drink.

Choose champagne flutes for more bubbles.

Wine stemware is designed for the full enjoyment and appreciation of wine. Even if you are serving cheap wine, crystal stemware will allow the bouquet of your drink to develop and give you a bolder flavor.

While you do not need to be a sommelier to know which stemware goes best with the kind of wine you are serving, it pays to know the basics so that you can enjoy its full flavor. Observe proper cleaning and storage of your stemware to prolong the goodness of your wine tasting experience.

That was great! Thanks, Lydia!

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Oasis – Champagne Supernova


4 Comments so far ↓

  1. John says:

    I have a question..I received a set of the Riedel Cabernet/Merlot and Burgundy ‘wine tumblers’ for Christmas. I’ve always held stemware by the stem. Is there a proper way to hold these glasses since there are no stems? Thanks!

  2. Patti says:

    Hi John!

    Those tumblers are cute, and the wine is not affected because they are meant for red wines, which benefit from being warmed by your hands.

    I just prefer glasses with stems, as I hate to see fingerprints on my wine glasses.


  3. John says:

    I agree. I prefer stems as well. I only received a small set of the tumblers and I’ve been debating whether or not to expand the collection. I think the jury is still out on that. Thanks for the reply!! xoxo

  4. Lisa says:

    I like using tumblers or other stemless glasses for wine. Those “picardie” glasses are great, cheap and almost unbreakable. Country French chic. And I was given a set of blown crystal tumblers that I also love. Also think finger smudges are less visible on stemless glasses. We should have a dinner party contest — who can keep their wine glass smudgeless!