Last updated: August 9, 2021

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"Life is too short to drink bad wine" - Even Johann Wolfgang von Goethe recognised the high enjoyment potential of the juice of the vine. Drinking a glass of red wine with friends or family in the evening is almost part of good social manners. However, in order to be able to enjoy the wine, it must not only suit your taste, you must also be able to taste it unadulterated.

This is where the right red wine glass comes into play. Only those who use the right wine glass among many will get the maximum taste out of their red wine. For this purpose, we have created this red wine glass test 2021 for you. It is intended to provide an overview of the most important facts, products, criteria and questions on the topic of red wine glasses and thus make your purchase decision easier.




Summary

  • There is a suitably shaped wine glass for each grape variety that perfectly brings out or supports the characteristics of the wine. For red wine, there is a rough division into Burgundy glasses for fruity wines and Bordeaux glasses for strong wines. Both are available in various different shapes.
  • If you choose wisely, it is enough for a layman to own a few wine glasses and use them to serve wine well and tastefully. If you want to use as few glasses as possible, it is worth buying red wine glasses. White wines can also be drunk from these, but red wines do not taste good in white wine glasses.
  • Red wine glasses differ particularly in terms of material, style, shape, price range, type of manufacture, capacity and brand. The purchase decision is facilitated by one's own taste and preferred types of wine.

The Best Red Wine Glass in the United Kingdom: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for red wine glasses

If you want to buy a red wine glass, there are several criteria you should look out for. The criteria include:

In the following paragraphs, we will show you what is important in each of the buying criteria.

Shape

If you decide on the shape or include it in the purchase decision, it should first of all match the chosen wine. It is of little use if you buy a red wine glass that is suitable for a strong wine, but you only drink fruity red wines.

Especially with red wine, you should make sure that it can develop its aromas well.

Of course, you should also like the shape. However, due to the large number of suppliers, it is highly likely that you will find your favourite among the red wine glasses that are compatible with your grape variety.

Material

There are basically four types of material: Crystal glass, lead crystal glass, conventional glass & plastic or stainless steel. The first three types are common for household use. Here it depends on how much value you place on high quality, which is characterised by shine, sound & material processing, and price. The latter material is more suitable for outdoor use, as it is break-proof and dishwasher safe.

Handle

In terms of design and style, there are endless possibilities: dyed in all colours, with a gold rim, engraved, printed, antique, modern, elegant, classic, high-quality, vintage, retro, with knobs, with a short handle, without a handle, etc.

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Glasses with short stems or without stems are also available. But you should avoid these, both can change the taste of the wine due to the hand or table heat. (Image source: unsplash / Alice Donovan Rouse)

There are no limits to your imagination here; you can also design many glasses yourself. However, if you are concerned about the pure taste of the wine, you should choose as few design accessories as possible and instead opt for a simple, modern and high-quality red wine glass.

Brand

More expensive red wine glasses are often brand-name products, while cheaper ones can be bought at discount stores. Here it is mainly a question of whether you want to buy one or more particular brands and how high quality your wine glasses should be. Once you have decided on a brand, it is best to look directly in their online shop for the glasses that are right for you. Or ask in specialist shops for products of your choice.

Production

There are two options for the production of wine glasses:

  1. Machine production: Glasses from machine production are usually cheaper, which is due to the cheaper and faster production process. You can recognise them by the seam on the stem. In some cases, however, there are also machine-made stems in combination with mouth-blown goblets.
  2. Mouth-blown: Mouth-blown red wine glasses are of course something very noble and special. Also because of the usually high price, one therefore considers the purchase of such a set carefully. But you will be rewarded with high quality, because the thin glass walls lead to an improved drinking experience and in turn have an effect on the quality of the wine. The stems have no seams. However, the glasses break more easily here and should always be cleaned carefully and by hand.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a red wine glass

How can I recognise a red wine glass?

It is very difficult for laypeople to recognise a red wine glass by itself. There are clues, but it is easier to identify such a glass in direct comparison next to a white wine glass. The exact differences are listed in the trivia section of this topic page.

A red wine glass consists of a foot, a stem and a goblet.

Generally, most red wine glasses have long stems. This is to prevent the drinker from touching the glass too far up or directly on the goblet and altering the taste of the wine due to the heat of the hand. What is special about red wine glasses are their goblets. They are usually very bulbous, round or broadly angular towards the base of the goblet and have a lot of volume.

The reason for the former is that light red wines need to develop freely in the glass and therefore need a lot of surface area and oxygen supply. The latter brings out the best in heavy red wines.

What materials are available for buying a red wine glass?

When buying red wine glasses, the following materials and their properties are available:

Material Advantage Disadvantage
Crystal glass Crystal glasses are very high quality. The glass is clear, has a fine sound and has a good effect on the taste of the wine. It can also be machined The glasses are sometimes expensive. You have to clean and polish them manually, they are also very heavy.
Lead crystal glass Lead crystal glasses are robust and break well. Another advantage is that they shine very intensively lead crystal glasses are often expensive and heavy.
Glass Conventional glass is relatively cheap and less heavy than crystal glass. It can be machine-cleaned without any problems however, it has less sound and shine and is not as robust. The wall thickness is also thicker.
Plastic Plastic or plastic is super suitable for outdoor dining or camping. The material is unbreakable and easy to clean in the dishwasher however, you save considerably on gloss, sound and high quality.

You can now also buy wine glasses made of stainless steel. This is a rather unusual material, especially because you can't see the wine in it. However, a stainless steel glass can be a good outdoor companion as an alternative to a plastic glass; at least it has the same practical properties.

What shapes are red wine glasses available in?

When we talk about shape, we are of course also talking about the overall appearance of the wine glass and its composition, but the focus is on the shape of the goblet. You can find them in a wide variety of designs, but each one is designed for a specific type of wine.

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The most typical red wine glass shape has a large bulbous goblet that provides a lot of volume and a long chimney. (Image source: pixabay / qimono)

Therefore, you should not go purely by the style of the glass, but think about what wine you want to drink from it. Red wine glasses can take the following shapes: bulbous, round, square, balloon-shaped, grape-shaped.

What types of red wine glasses are there?

There are many different types of red wine glasses, but the roughest and most familiar division is between:

  • Burgundy glass
  • Bordeaux glass

A third demarcation would be the all-round red wine glass, but since this is not really an official type of glass, but is generally regarded simply as a beginner's glass or universal glass, we will disregard it in this chapter.

While a wine connoisseur uses various glasses, one or two glasses per type of wine are sufficient for the layman.

There is a varietal-specific glass for almost every wine. Over the course of time, glasses have been modified and developed in such a way that their function is adapted to the characteristics of the wine.

However, it is not necessary to have a specific glass for each type of wine. A good and sensible collection for amateurs or wine connoisseurs includes approx. 2-3 different red wine and white wine glasses and 1 glass for champagne or sparkling wine.

Burgundy red wine glass

Burgundy glasses are usually very broad-bellied, as they are intended to enhance the characteristics of rather fruity, less heavy red wines. The larger surface area allows the wine to breathe and develop even better. These include wine varieties such as Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir, Dornfelder or St. Laurent.

Advantages
  • Enhances the characteristics of lighter red wines
  • Also suitable for white wines
Disadvantages
  • Very voluminous
  • Good quality often expensive
  • Alcohol odour is clearly perceived with high content

However, you should not serve all white wines in a Burgundy glass. Rather strong white wines or those aged in wooden barrels feel comfortable in this glass.

Bordeaux red wine glass

These glasses are particularly suitable for heavy, strong red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc or matured Bordeaux. They offer a medium to large volume with a long, narrow chimney. This volume supports and carries the natural characteristics of the wine.

Advantages
  • Carries natural characteristics of the wine
  • Good to swirl thanks to high chimney
Disadvantages
  • Not suitable for white wines
  • optimal is to pour only very small quantities

What is the capacity of red wine glasses?

Red wine glasses usually have a larger volume than white wine glasses, for example. However, it is not important how much fits into a red wine glass, as you never fill the glass completely anyway. You should not fill more than 1/3 of the glass with red wine, and no more than 1/4 with heavy wines, such as those you enjoy in wide Burgundy glasses.

As a general rule, less is more. This way, none of the guests will feel invited to drink and the wine has enough room to develop. You can always top it up more often.

However, the larger the glass, the more lost the wine can seem in it. Therefore, you should develop a little dexterity here and estimate the amount based on the characteristics of the wine and the glass.

What are the most popular brands of red wine glasses?

Due to the popularity of wine and the demand for countless different wine glasses, the number of supplier brands is also unmanageably large. To give you an idea, here are some of the most popular brands of red wine glasses:

  • Leonardo
  • WMF
  • Schott Zwiesel
  • Rosenthal
  • Iitalla
  • Eisch
  • Riedel
  • Ritzenhoff
  • Spiegelau & Nachtmann
  • Villeroy Boch
  • Holmegaard
  • and many more

How much do red wine glasses cost?

Red wine glasses are among the products that can be placed in almost any price category. It depends on which materials, types of production, brands and designs you value. The cheapest glasses start at around 2€ per piece.

However, such red wine glasses are often intended for the gastronomy sector, which you can easily see in the description. Here, there is often a minimum purchase of glasses. Otherwise, the price range goes up to 200-300€ for sets of 2, 4 or 6.

How do you clean red wine glasses?

More and more red wine glasses are made of such sturdy glass that, according to the manufacturer, you can clean them in the dishwasher without any problems. However, it is questionable whether they are really so robust and retain their shine after several washes.

If you are unsure, it is always helpful to look at reviews - i.e. experiences - of buyers of these glasses beforehand. If you want to be on the safe side and enjoy your red wine glasses for a long time, it is best to clean them yourself by hand. Hand-blown glasses should always be cleaned by hand, as the material is very thin and therefore fragile.

What is the difference between white wine and red wine glasses?

The following basic differences can be found between white wine glasses and red wine glasses:

Feature White wine glass Red wine glass
Stem Longer stem than for red wine glass Mostly long stem
Size Smaller than red wine glass Larger than white wine glass
Goblet Narrower, little bulbous, little wide, shorter chimney Bellied, large volume, often long chimney

In general, there are greater differences between red wine glasses than white wine glasses. This is due to the often varying flavour strength of red wine. If you don't want to buy too many wine glasses, it makes more sense to use red wine glasses rather than white wine glasses. White wine is better drunk in red wine glasses than the other way round without losing its flavour.

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In a direct comparison, the difference between the goblets of the two glasses is particularly visible. The white wine glass is much narrower, especially towards the base of the goblet. The opening of the white wine glass is also narrower. Sometimes it can also happen that red wine glasses are smaller, but in this case this can also be due to the photo viewing angle. (Image source: pixabay / Didgeman)

Where is the red wine glass placed on a set table?

At an elegantly laid table, every piece of tableware has its fixed place. There are two different ways of arranging glasses, but the arrangement of the individual glasses is similar and particularly easy to remember. Basically, the glasses are placed to the right above the knives.

  • Triangular formation

The white wine glass always functions as the centre point, since you use it during the main course. It forms the top of the lateral pyramid. The other two glasses follow in a triangular shape, the red wine glass at the top right and the water glass at the bottom right.

  • Linear formation

Here too, the white wine glass forms the centre of the diagonal row. Above left is the red wine glass, below right is the water glass.

Can red wine glasses be engraved or printed?

Yes, red wine glasses can be engraved as well as printed. This is a popular and special gift idea, especially for weddings, anniversaries or birthdays.

Personalised glasses are also a real eye-catcher for private use.

Many glasses can be ordered already printed or engraved, one of the most popular portals for this is etsy.com. With a quick Google search, you can also find a number of photo, print and engraving shops from which you can choose according to your preferences. If you've already found the perfect glass, check out your local homeware shop.

How can red wine stains be removed?

Red wine stains are annoying at first because of their stubbornness and intense colours on all surfaces. However, there are now many ways to remove them and not always with chemicals such as stain spray or special cleaners. Simple household remedies are also effective. The most common method is to remove stains with citric acid or white wine and salt:

  1. Soak up: Dab up the remaining liquid with a cloth
  2. Prepare: Drizzle some lemon juice/white wine on the affected area
  3. Leave to soak in: Cover it completely with salt and wait for the salt to absorb the red wine
  4. Wash: Wash the textile normally

This method works in principle for all textiles, for example clothes or tablecloths. However, keep in mind that the salt can also pull colour out of the material. Sofas can also be cleaned this way, just leave out the lemon and brush out the stain afterwards.

Image source: 123rf / Dima Sobko

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