Have you ever thought about the concept of wine glasses? Maybe you wondered when you were out shopping in the Kitchen section one day, or maybe you were curious when your friend was out of wine glasses and asked if a regular glass would do. Why is it that we have specific-shaped glasses for wine, and where did it start? We’re going to uncover a basic history of these glasses and some more details about them.
Wine glasses were used as early as 500-600 AD, and they even helped to emphasize one’s status. Upper class members would use a small cup with a thin stem, while the lower class would use goblets made of pottery. Many other materials for cups were used from 700 AD through the 1600s, including silver, wood, glass, and “black jack” which was made out of leather in the shape of a jug. But it seems that the basic shape of the cup with a thin stem originated as early as 500 AD, so when we use it today we can think of ourselves as drinking like the “upper class”.
You’ve probably noticed – whether you’re a wine connoisseur or not – that wine glasses come in different shapes and sizes. It turns out this isn’t simply for appearance, and instead each glass has a different use. Here’s a quick summary:
- Champagne Flute: We’d all recognize and know the use for this type of class. It’s perfect for champagne, sparkling wine, or prosecco because the small bowl preserves the carbonation of the drink.
- White Wine Glass: To preserve the crisp, citrusy flavour that white wines often come with, these special glasses have a smaller rim than Red Wine Glasses. They say this reduces surface area, which increases oxidation to enhance the flavour.
- Light Red Wine Glass: The rounded globe on a light red wine glass is designed to direct the wine onto the tongue in the area that best receives sweetness, to play up the fruits found in wines like Pinot Noir and Shiraz.
- Bold Red Wine Glass: The bowl on a full-bodied wine glass mirrors the swirling that wine-makers encourage. This allows the bouquet to develop in Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, and Malbacs.
- Standard Wine Glass: In a pinch (or on a budget), this glass could work great for both whites and red wines. It’s a combination of both shapes, and it can also be perfect for rosés.
- Dessert Wine Glass: Finally, the smaller shape of this wine glass concentrates the flavours and provides a better portion size for the rich and sweeter wines.
There’s a multitude of interesting facts about wine glasses – we could write a book about them! But the goal of this post was to summarize the different types of wine glasses and where they originated, to give the newbie wine buff some knowledge to start with!