In Food + Drink

Size Matters: Wine Glass Etiquette 101

The shape and size of your wine glass can drastically affect its taste and therefore impact your perception of a wine’s flavour and aroma, says glassmaker Riedel. As such, investing in good quality, functional wine glasses is essential.

So, how should we be using glasses to maximise a wine’s taste? We asked Riedel Managing Director Mark Baulderstone and St Hugo’s Chief Winemaker Peter Munro.

wine glasses

Image: Kelsey Knight / Unsplash

Invest in a broad range of glasses

“The easiest way to work out how to start your collection is to shop based on your favourite varietals,” Baulderstone says.

“You can get away with using one glass for all your wines if you really have to – and Riedel do offer shapes that are more versatile than others (the ‘Riesling’ for white wines and ‘Shiraz’ for reds) – but you won’t be able to enjoy the wine to its fullest unless you have a wine glass that matches its grape variety.”

Larger glasses enhance deep, bold reds

wine glasses


For example, Munro says a Cabernet Sauvignon should be paired with a classic larger contoured Cabernet glass, which showcases the majestically structured red wine in all its complexity and finesse, bringing out the fruit expression and the secondary characters.

Use wide bowl glasses for complex-tasting wines

As for Chardonnay, Munro says this wine should be paired with a glass with a wide bowl to allow space for the rich aromas to come through.

On the other hand, a Shiraz should be paired with a diamond-shaped glass to deliver the complex bouquet of plum spice and clove notes, while bringing out the wine’s balanced flavours.

Use a medium size glass for lighter and moderate style wines

wine glasses

Image: Jp Valery / Unsplash

A Riesling, one of the lightest bodied wines, requires a more narrow, tapered bowl designed to focus “the intense floral bouquet and elegant fruit of the wine”.

“For this wine, it’s all about the intensity of the lemon zest, white nectarine and lime aromas and channelling that purity,” says Baulderstone.

Medium-sized glasses moderate the wine’s tannins, allowing them to melt into the fruit, to deliver more aromas, or make complex wines more rounded.

Consider a stemless wine glass

“There are a lot of myths about stemless wine tumblers; the most common is that your wine warms up quicker,” Baulderstone says.

“But on a beautiful sunny day in Australia, the air temperature is going to warm up your whites a lot faster than a couple of fingerprints on the bowl.  Truly, the only difference is they’re missing their stem, so they are a more casual and uncomplicated way to enjoy wine.  They also fit into every dishwasher and cupboard shelf.”

To learn more about choosing the right glass for your wine, book into the St Hugo x Riedel glassware experience in the Barossa, which will see you working your way through an eight-course degustation with matched wines and, at the end, leaving with your favourite St Hugo wine variety and accompanying Riedel glassware.


(Lead image: Pexels)

Published 10 June, 2019