The Difference Between Red & White Wine Glasses

The right vessel makes all the difference. It’s for good reason that French onion soup has its customary bowl with a bulging middle and tapered mouth, creme brulee its shallow ramekin with a broad surface and espresso its traditional demitasse. The serving dish selected can make or break the gustatory experience—and this is especially true for wine. Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson once said: “Wine is bottled poetry.” Using the proper glassware allows you to fully enjoy the nuanced language that wine evokes.

To that end, wine calls for a variety of glassware to optimize your experience. Once a bottle of wine is opened, it immediately begins to interact with its environment. The wine starts to oxidize and evaporate—and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary, the right amount of oxidation helps release volatile flavor and aroma compounds that allow for the full expression, and appreciation, of a fine bottle.

As with all things, there is a turning point—when a wine is exposed to enough oxygen, the flavors begin to flatten and become dull. This is where having the right glassware for the right wine is key, as the glass will help control how the air interacts with the wine. Thoughtful tasting, a little background knowledge and the right glassware will set you on the path to enjoying each glass to the utmost.

When You’re Drinking Reds

Red wines, with their fuller body and greater concentration, require larger glasses. The ample size allows for optimal aeration in the glass, something that reds require more of in order to display their full potential. (Gently swirling the wine to purposefully increase oxidation helps, too!)

A red wine glass’s larger bowl also allows for space between the surface of the wine and the lip of the glass, where nuanced aromas can be trapped and then savored. Bigger, bolder reds (like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Bordeaux) taste best in larger glasses that allow for maximum aeration and aromatic collection.

We recommend: The Atelier Cabernet/Merlot is the perfect example of a large format glass that is up to the task. Lighter-bodied reds like Pinot Noir don’t require quite as much room, or swirling, in order to shine, so select the Atelier Pinot Noir with its angular bowl, specially designed for enjoying Burgundy, Pinot Noir and other light reds.

When You’re Drinking Whites

Due to chemical differences, there are few white wines that improve with aeration the way reds do. Those same chemical differences are why white wines are served chilled, which helps create ideal concentrations of the pleasant phenolic compounds sought after in these varieties.

For the ideal white wine experience, look for a more moderately sized glass with a smaller globe. The tight tulip shape that whites are characteristically served in is perfect for capturing desirable aromas in the “headspace” between the wine and the lip of the glass. Since aeration isn’t pivotal to the wine’s expressiveness, a smaller liquid surface area allows for less oxidation, which means your Sauvignon Blanc continues to taste great for longer.

We recommend: From Pinot Gris to Chardonnay, our Atelier Riesling is the versatile vessel of choice for white wine varieties.

When You’re Drinking Sparkling Wines

Sparkling wines, with their effervescence and zippy nature, require something special. Champagne flutes are especially designed to preserve the bubbles and present them, along with trapped aromas, to the nose and palate.

We recommend: The slightly bowed shape of our Atelier Champagne Flute will perfectly capture aromas and it's treated to maintain a consistent flow of bubbles of your favorite Prosecco, Cava or Champagne.

Our made-in-Italy Prestige stemware boasts two of our proprietary technologies: all glasses are TITANIUM reinforced for stem strength and durability, and SON.hyx keeps them flawlessly brilliant and strong. Like all Luigi Bormioli products made with SON.hyx, they carry a 25-Year Guarantee that guards against chipping on the rim or foot, as well as discoloration or cloudiness resulting from washing. (Did we mention they’re dishwasher safe, too?)



At Luigi Bormioli, we take pride in our Italian-crafted, superior quality glassware. Your glasses, created using our proprietary SON.hyx ultra-clear formula, will retain their brilliant and transparent appearance and are backed by our 25-year guarantee that guards against chipping on the rim or foot, as well as discoloration or cloudiness resulting from washing. You will enjoy their beauty, durability and strength for many years to come. We aim to enhance your tabletop lifestyle and entertaining experience with a glass for every occasion. When the moment matters, the glass matters.