Wine becomes a part of the holidays in more ways than one. It’s a go-to gift for friends, a thoughtful gesture as a house guest, and a staple at holiday meals settings. Not to mention toasting in the new year with our favorite sparkling wine, champagne! If there’s ever a time to brush up on your nectar-of-the-vine knowledge and restock on your glassware collection, it’s now.
Claus Riedel was the first person in the long history of the glass to design its shape according to the character of the wine. Because of this, he not not only started a stemware company in 1956, but a revolution in the way we drink wine. Today, the 11th generation of famed the Riedel glassmaker and CEO of Riedel Crystal America Maximilian Riedel travels the world to spread the word on the difference proper stemware makes. “There is so much more to wine than a price and a good looking bottle,” Riedel has said. “You need to have the right tools as well.” With this philosophy in mind, and years of science and research to back it up, Riedel takes the guesswork out of pairing bottle to glass.
Hear from Maximilian Riedel himself and a team of experts from grapes to glass on the difference the right type of wine glass makes:
Use these tips to master the basics in a cinch:
- Use stemmed glassware for fine dining and stemless for casual dining.
- Have glasses intended for both red and white wines on hand.
- Glasses for red tend to have bigger bowls. This allows you to dip your nose in and detects the complex aromas, which also require more surface area to breathe and develop.
- White wine glasses have a signature “U” shape to allow aromas to be released and to help maintain its desired cooler temperature.
- Sparkling wine glasses have the narrow flute shape to retain its carbonation or “bubbly.”
- Dessert wine glasses have a smaller bowl to direct sweetness to the back of the mouth. The higher alcohol content also requires a smaller serving.
- Plan to invest in one glass as much as you usually spend on your bottle of wine.
- Quality glasses, like Riedel, tends to feel light in hand. Thinner glass allows for a better taste.
- Use grape-varietal specific Riedel glasses only for its intended type of wine.
To get more grape-varietal specific, use this guide. Select the exact type of wine you’ll be drinking, and it will find the perfect glass to match.
Still stumped? In the video above, Maximilian Riedel covers some of the most popular collections, including the “O” stemless tumblers for everyday use and “Vitis” lead-crystal stemware for special occasions. AlwaysMod also carries the “Veritas” collection, a beautiful collection in between the two. Each collection has glasses for sipping specific favorites, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet/Merlot, Riesling, Syrah and Champagne.
Navigate the slideshow of images below for more wine tips and glimpses at glassware.