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    Red Vs White Wine Glasses

    Red And White Wine Glass Differences

    As if ordering and buying wine wasn’t confusing enough, you then have to worry about the best ways to serve and store your wine once you get it home.

    With so many different wine glasses to choose from it’s hard to know whether you’re opting for the right one.

    So we’ve put together this guide to help you tell the difference between red and white wine glasses.

    You’ll be an expert in no time.

    Let's start with what are the key differences between red and white wine glasses?

    Listen to this post here:

    Difference Between Red And White Wine Glasses?

    Red Wine Glass and a White Wine Glass

    As a rule, red wine glasses tend to be larger than white wine glasses.

    Generally speaking, white wine glasses will have smaller bowls than red wine glasses.

    The openings of the glass will be narrower and the sides of the glass will be slightly less curved.


    Well it’s all to do with the way our senses work, here are some of the main differences:

    • Red wines tend to have much fuller bodies in comparison to white wines, on account of their tannin complexity.
    • A larger glass bowl means more oxygen can interact with the wine and help open up all those wonderful red wine flavours we know and love.
    • White wine requires less aeration and a smaller bowl helps to protect the more delicate, perfumed aromatics of white wines.
    • However, white wine glasses will have longer stems than red wine glasses. This allows for a greater distance between our hands and the wine, which helps to keep the wine at a consistent and cool temperature whilst we drink.

    There’s much more than meets the eye with our wine glasses and lots of thought has gone into their designs.

    Red Wine Glass White Wine Glass
    Bowl Size Larger Smaller
    Bowl Shape Slightly less curved Rounded
    Stem Length Shorter Longer
    Wine Types Suited Fuller-bodied reds High-acid whites
    Oxygen Interaction More oxygen for aroma Less oxygen for delicacy
    Temperature Control (Hands) More warmth from hands Cooler due to longer stem
    Stemmed vs. Stemless Effect on Wine Same effect; stemless warmer Same effect; stemmed preferred

    So is there just one type of red wine glass?

    Red Wine Glasses

    Red Wine Glasses

    Red wine glasses come in three different styles:

    • Bordeaux
    • Standard
    • and Burgundy

    Large (Bordeaux)

    This is the largest style of red wine glass and is designed to create distance between the wine and your nose so that the ethanol vapours from these fuller bodied wines pass you by.

    Wines with high levels of alcohol and tannins, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, are well suited to these types of red wine glasses.

    Standard (Medium-Bodied Glass)

    Red Wine Glasses (Large, Medium, Small)

    These Medium-Bodied red wine glasses will be smaller than Bordeaux glasses.

    The size of this glass will help to really soften your red wines whilst allowing a little more of the alcohol to come through.

    Old World Italian wines such as Primitivo will be perfect in these shaped glasses.

    Small (Bourgogne/Burgundy/Pinot Noir)

    The smallest of the red wine glasses, but by no means the least impactful, is the Burgundy glass.

    These glasses were designed with lighter, perfumed reds in mind and can even be a perfect match for premium Champagne and fuller bodied white wines such as Chardonnay.

    So how do white wine glasses compare?

    White Wine Glasses

    The three most common types of white wine glasses are high-acid, full-bodied and sparkling.

    High-Acid (Sauvignon Blanc)

    These are the smallest of the white wine glasses and best suited for wines with high acidity and low alcohol such as Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.

    Full-Bodied (Chardonnay)

    A more generously sized white wine glass this design has fuller-bodied whites in mind such as White Burgundy and New World Oaked Chardonnay, helping to accentuate their richer qualities.


    There are also glasses designed for sparkling and wines such as Champagne and sweet Moscato.

    These will be smaller, narrower bowls to help preserve the delicate flavours as well as the carbonation of the wine.

    But do we really need all of these options?

    Do you have to have red and white wine glasses?

    Do I Need Both Red And White Wine Glasses?

    Red and White Wine Glasses on a Table

    Whether you need both red and white wine glasses depends on what you want to get out of your wine.

    You can absolutely have just one type of wine glass and you’ll still have a wonderful time tasting through your bottles.

    But if you want to improve the experience of drinking wine, especially if you like to explore different styles and varieties, having different shaped wine glasses will help you to get the best out of your drinking experience.

    Which is why even knowing the difference between a big glass and a small glass will go a long way in your enjoyment of wine.

    What Is The Difference Between a Big Glass and a Small Glass?

    Very simply, the main difference between a big glass and a small glass is the amount of oxygen that can interact with the wine.

    The more oxygen contact a wine gets the more its aromas and flavours will develop and soften.

    For red wine this is a good thing and will really help to open them up and help them to breathe.

    For more delicate wines such as aromatic whites and sparkling wine some of their delicacy may be lost, so a smaller glass is better.

    But what about stems?

    What effect do stems have on a wine?

    Stemmed vs. Stemless Glasses

    Stemmed Wine Glass

    Stemmed and stemless wine glasses will have the exact same effect on your wine depending on the size of the bowl.

    The only difference is that with stemless glasses your hands will come into contact with the wine bowl which can affect the wine’s temperatures.

    Depending on the wine this may be something you want to avoid, which is why having different glass options is always a good idea

    Before You Go...

    We hope this article answers any questions you may have on the difference between red and white wine glasses.

    We hope this article answers all your questions on blending red and white wine together.

    If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, or email us at

    You can browse more posts on Wine Tasting here

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    philip thompson Author: Philip Thompson
    Philip is the General Manager at Expert Wine Storage, and is very knowledgable about all things relating to wine and wine storage, including wine fridges. He is regularly featured in media outlets sharing his knowledge on wine. Connect on Linkedin