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“Wine glasses as we know it came into fashion during the medieval ages,” says Alex Augustine, a sommelier at Chicago's Aba. “The stem is thought to be an invention of the church to allow for easier viewing by the clergy during ceremonies, with most glasses predating that being small and stemless.”
Shopping for wine glasses is both an art and a science—whether you're just starting out or adding to an existing collection, you’ll want to find that sweet spot between aesthetics and utility. This isn’t always so easy, especially given the countless options available on the market, from varietal-specific glasses to all-purpose styles, not to mention specialty designs for sparkling wines and the like. The broad category of reds is no exception, so we put our top red wine glasses to the test.
To help weed through the many glasses for red wine available, we've carefully home-tested our favorites. Some of the attributes in which we rated each item include design, quality, size, and durability. We also looked at how these glasses felt in the hand, the thickness of the rim, the stem length, and how the shape affected the aromas and taste, and whether or not it was easily cleaned.
After extensive testing, our pick for the best option overall is the Gabriel-Glas "One for All" StandArt Edition. For an in-depth look at all of our favorite red wine glasses, read on.
Best Overall: Gabriel-Glas "One for All" StandArt Edition
Excellent all-in-one option
Made with lead-free crystal
Rafa García Febles, beverage manager, and sommelier at Le Crocodile in New York has a tried-and-true mantra for beginners when glassware shopping. “Experiment, explore [and] have fun," he says. “If you're just starting out, you want to make sure you have a glass that lets you appreciate the nuances of a great pour, but don't break the bank on separate $60 crystal glasses for each style of wine." One way to go about this, according to Febles, is to opt for a durable, all-purpose glass that works with a wide variety of wines.
One industry favorite is the Gabriel-Glas “One for All” style. Available in two quality levels, the StandArt Edition and the Gold Edition, Febles recommends trying the former first: “[This glass] will show a lot of different styles near their best, allowing you to explore and develop your palate before committing to more specialized glassware." He explains, “Generally, you want a glass with a wide bowl, thin glass and a stem: the bowl allows aromas to emerge and gather, thin glass allows the wine to flow easily into your mouth, and a stem prevents your hand from unnecessarily warming the wine or contributing off-aromas from whatever you've been touching.”
After unboxing the glasses, our at-home tester noted that for an approachable price-point, these glasses still offer an elevated design—elegant, but appropriate for everyday use. Our tester liked that the stem was nice and thick, and didn't feel hyper-delicate like many high-end glasses. The heavier weight and thick stem felt comfortable and secure in the hand. The large, angular bowl also allowed for a thorough swirl. We liked that this glass has the sensibilities of a high-end crystal glass but has more weight to it, and makes swirling feel even more enjoyable.
During testing, we appreciated the conical design—making it feel like a larger, blown-up version of a brandy snifter. This shape helped to concentrate the aromas and directed them straight to the nose. Our tester noted that the glass was thin, but not paper-thin like many of the crystal options, and she didn't feel the need to be precious with the glass. Even though the glass is all-purpose, with bigger, more nuanced red, it still performed with precision—highlighting the fruit and concentrating the nose.
"I like how this glass expresses the aromas of the wine. It comes in at an accessible price point, it's highly durable, and it's all-purpose—it serves all wines equally well, from highly tannic reads to weightier wines to zippy whites." — Kate Dingwall, product tester
Best Stemless: Duralex Picardie Tumbler, 8-3/4-Ounce
Versatile for a variety of beverages
Not a traditional wine glass
Not ideal for higher-end wines
If you’re looking for a versatile workhorse, Victoria James, sommelier and beverage director at Cote in New York, recommends her go-to stemless glass, the Duralex Picardie Tumbler. According to her, these glasses are durable, reliable, and great for brasserie-style wines. Plus, they won’t break the bank.
“This is my vehicle for a tipple at the end of a long workday,” she says. The tempered, non-porous glass of these tumblers is impact- and chip-resistant, and it’s designed to withstand sudden temperature changes—meaning if you make an espresso and want it iced, you can stick it in the freezer while hot and the glass can easily handle it. These space-saving, stackable tumblers are also dishwasher- and microwave-safe.
We put these no-nonsense glasses to the test. Our at-home tester liked that they were stackable, easy-to-clean, and super durable, with a nice weight to them. Though they're not particularly exciting in design, our tester noted that they look like the same glasses you'd find on bistro tables around France and Spain, and there's an appeal to that.
During testing, we noticed that because of the smaller size, we were able to give a slight swirl to these glasses, but there wasn't enough space to aerate the wine properly. We also noted that the lip and overall thickness of the glass was quite chunky, inhibiting the aromas of the wine. These glasses are for enjoying wines in a casual setting rather than holding a serious tasting.
"These glasses are great to have around the house. Use them for espresso, pour juice in them, sip sparkling water, or serve vino. I like how durable they are —they're dishwasher safe, resistant to spills and breaks. These are ideal for no-fuss, everyday drinking." — Kate Dingwall, product tester
Best Varietal-Specific: Riedel Veritas Old World Pinot Noir
Excellent for aromatic reds
Gorgeous to look at
Contrary to popular belief, varietal-specific wine glasses can sometimes work well for wines outside of their intended use. These glasses are designed to showcase fruit-forwardness, temper high acidity, and enhance aromatics—try them with a few different pinot noirs (such as red burgundy or a varietal from California) and a gamay to see how they influence the wine on the nose and palate. The wine bowl specifically showcases bigger bodied wines—barolos, barbarescos, lagreins, and aglianico. These glasses are made from crystal and are dishwasher safe and surprisingly durable—they walk a line between daily drinkers and special-occasion crystal well.
“I'm a big fan of the Riedel Veritas Old World Pinot Noir glass that we use at Le Crocodile for burgundies and other aromatic reds," says Febles. "It's gorgeous to look at and beautifully balanced in your hand, and it highlights aromas while preserving the wine's structure.”
Our home tester appreciated that these glasses had a good weight, were well shaped to their varietal, and not overly precious like many of varietal-specific glasses. Though we noted that these are dishwasher friendly, the oversized bowl and larger height made them awkward for a dishwasher and our tester worried about breaking them. The quality seemed apparent during testing—the glass sparkled and offered a bright window into the color of the wine.
Our tester thought the circular shape made for a really pleasant drinking experience, and the thin lip perfectly aided in that. Trying one of her favorite Brouillys from this glass, the tester thought that it did an excellent job of tempering the acidity while highlighting the high-toned fruit. With a younger spatburgunder, it kept the vibrancy of the fruit while allowing for the more nuanced notes to come out. The tester noted that this certainly isn't a glass for medium and heavy bodied wines, but its tulip-shaped bowl adds depth to brighter wines.
"I'm a sucker for a high acid red, but I can never find just the right glass for them. Too many people seem preoccupied with pouring wines in big-bodied glasses! They do an excellent job of coaxing out notes without subduing the acidity." — Kate Dingwall, product tester
Best for Swirling: Schott Zwiesel PURE Burgundy Glass
Excellent for swirling
Not ideal for more delicate, aromatic wine
Sur Lucero, an award-winning master sommelier, advocates using varietal-specific stemware flexibly. “You don’t always have to play by the rules when it comes to your wine glass choices,” he says. “For example, I typically enjoy Châteauneuf-du-Pape from a burgundy glass because it is almost always grenache-based."
For Lucero, a burgundy glass is a cabinet staple thanks to its versatility. This stemware set by Schott Zwiesel is made from a proprietary break- and chip-resistant crystal and is dishwasher safe. Even more, the glasses can accommodate a variety of wines in addition to burgundy (think sangiovese, chianti, lambrusco, beaujolais, brunello, chardonnay, viognier and more).
Testing these glasses out, we found them to be elegant and modern but wished they didn't feel so heavy in the hand. The clarity was brilliant—surprising, considering they're Tritan—but the glass was a little thick and the weight was heavier than we wanted them to be.
We tested out a few different wines from these—including an inky blaufrankish and a more herbaceous, big-bodied sangiovese, and found the aromas all played well. The bowl was large enough to really aerate a wine, which we loved. We also really liked that the lip was thin, and the wide bowl allowed aromas to sing.
Our home tester thought these glasses were slightly too tall for her to find peace of mind with them in the dishwasher. While the Tritan is very durable and the clarity tends to remain after several washes, the glasses didn't fit well in her standard dishwasher—the bowl was too wide and the stem too long to pop them in carefully. So she preferred to handwash, appreciating that the bowl was wide enough that she didn't worry about them.
"These serve as great dinner party glasses—elegant enough that your guests will be impressed that you brought out the nice glassware, but durable enough so you won't flinch every time you hear a clink. (Plus, I like them for the Kerry Washington in Scandal-sized bowl.)" — Kate Dingwall, product tester
Best Value: Luigi Bormioli Crescendo Bordeaux
Lucero recommends Luigi Bormioli's Bordeaux glasses for most of your red wine drinking needs. Glasses within Luigi Bormioli’s SON.hyx collection are crystal clear, resistant to chipping and breaks, are dishwasher safe, and come with a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty. They’re also very thin and lightweight, which is important for stemware in general.
Our home-tester noted right away that the lip on this glass rivaled that of a higher-end crystal glass and the bowl offered ample room to swirl—particularly excellent given the price. We did notice during testing, however, that the clarity diminished significantly after several uses. It got foggy, and took a good amount of polishing to get back to looking sharp.
Even though this is a Bordeaux glass, our tester liked that it was also great for a variety of wines—traditional young and old red Bordeaux, as well as white wines. At-home testing proved that there were also some downsides: the glass didn't hide flaws, and the weight of the stem felt inexpensive. But what it lacked in elegance, it made up for in price—the glass performed perfectly well with a range of wines.
Use these glasses for any Bordeaux, young or old, as well as any and all of the varietals that go into it (cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, among others).
"I like the presence of these glasses. They're tall, stately—they feel like they belong in a soap opera. The design is a standard Bordeaux glass, they're weighty and offer a generous capacity. I appreciate how stable the base is. Plus, the bowl is massive, providing plenty of room to let the flavors express, though the glass is elongated enough to still highlight aromas." — Kate Dingwall, product tester
Best Everyday: Riedel VINUM Bordeaux/Merlot/Cabernet Wine Glasses
Ideal universal glass
Not ideal for Bordeaux
While tall-stemmed, paper-thin glasses are excellent for opening up aromas and allowing a wine to breathe, that’s likely not the glass you’re reaching for when cracking your weeknight bottle of wine. That’s where a universal glass steps in.
“If you are buying a wine glass for the first time, my recommendation is to buy an all-purpose wine glass which is suitable for both casual and formal occasions. The glass can be used for both red & white wines. My favorite glass has to be Riedel,” says Suman Pradhan, the director of outlets and sommelier at Viceroy Snowmass, in Colorado. “They are the world’s leading glassmakers and produce high-quality stemware with specific shapes and designs. Riedel’s designs always complement the different wine grape varieties and regions, whilst adding to the overall enjoyment of a wine. “
Taking Pradhan's advice, we put these all-purpose Riedel glasses to the test. Our at-home tester liked that the bowl was nice and long, taking up the majority of the height. She also liked the unusually shorter stem, noting that it provided a little more stability—especially good for those of us who self identify as a klutz! While the stem is stubbier, the nice elongated, deep bowl keeps the design higher-end.
While testing, we liked the size of the glass—it wasn't overbearing. It showcased aromas well and allowed for plenty of room to swirl, which is crucial for more tannic wines like what should be served in these glasses. These aren't one of those newfangled glasses with flat bottoms or angled curves—they're the same simple round glasses we grew up drinking from. The slow sloping bowl fit well in the hand, and the long stem provided stability.
These all-purpose glasses are designed to be perfectly serviceable for every and any wine you’re sipping. There’s still a stem and a bowl large enough for oxidizing a tight red, but this glass will also play home to everything from opulent chenin from the Loire to a juicy beaujolais nouveau to a silky trousseau—they’re every-day, glasses that still boast high quality. During testing, we thought this glass was great for all sorts of wines, but found the bowl wasn't quite large enough for bold wines.
Our at-home tester found these glasses to be slightly more fragile than a standard wine glass. Over time, the shape will start to bend and shift from the heat of the dishwasher, so it is recommended to hand wash these.
"I'm a lifelong Riedel fan. The glasses are thin, but not too paper-y, sturdy, but still do a great job of showcasing wine. Because the bowl is more elongated, it allows plenty of room for oxygen to help decant the wines. I appreciate that these are relatively all-purpose. Yes, they're designed for red wines—the cabernets and the merlots of the world—but they fare just as well with any and every wine. I've poured a dash of sparkling for dinner guests, served up some crisp whites, then gave them a rinse and finished off with a silkier bastarda." — Kate Dingwall, product tester
Best Splurge: Josephinenhutte Josephine No. 3 Red Wine Glass
Hard to source
While these aren’t the most well-known or certainly the most affordable option, there’s an appealing story to these glasses. If you’re a wine nerd, Zalto will be a familiar name. Josepheninenhutte is a new project by the lauded Kurt Zalto, one of the most iconic wine glass artisans in the world (his family’s glassware dynasty is globally renowned and dates back six generations).
The glassware prodigy now produces innovative, elegant glasses using Silesian glassware techniques in the Waldviertel region of Austria. The Champagne glass is particularly stellar, though the red wine glasses (both burgundy and Bordeaux) are bar-none if you are a cellar nerd. They’re whisper-thin, made of hand-blown crystal in Austria. His burgundy glass has a wide base, a slight curve, and big curves to amplify more delicate burgundian reds, plus the tall glass has a showstopping presence on a table.
After unpacking these glasses at home, our tester discovered just how incredibly light these are, noting that they feel like air in your hand. The stem is long and elegant, the bowl is large and hugs the wine well, and the glass is delicate and thin, though surprisingly durable. They're on the larger size so they will command a lot of space in your cabinet. In fact, our tester found them to be almost ungainly in size, and perhaps, aren't quite the most practical. But if you're dedicated to unleashing the flavor and aroma profiles of a wine, this glass did so extraordinarily well. The clarity was brilliant and there was more than enough space to give a thorough, generous swirl.
The lip on this glass is particularly thin. When drinking, it felt as if there was almost nothing between your palate and the wine. Our tester opened a bottle of heavier of bottle of red burgundy and compared the tasting experience between this glass and an entry-level red glass. The Josepheninhutte did an exceptional job of unfolding the the aromas delicately—it was clear how much more developed the wine was in this glass over your standard red glass.
"I'm a huge fan of these glasses. When tasting a bottle of Ruche side by side in this glass and another, the Josepheninhutte did a beautiful job of opening up the wine - it's equivalent in performance to a decanter, expertly expediting the aerating process to mere moments. The flat-bottom design is unusual, that's for sure, but it has the air and appeal of a Zalto (perhaps, because it's designed by the same hands). There's a rule that the price of your glass should be equivalent to the price of your bottles. If you're drinking nice wine, this is the right home for them." — Kate Dingwall, product tester
Best Bordeaux: Spiegelau Salute Bordeaux Glass
The perfect glass for Bordeaux
If you’re just getting into wine and want to understand why whisper-thin crystal is exalted by wine pros (without blowing your budget), Spiegelau's Bordeaux glass is an excellent alternative. They’re the same shape as a higher-end Bordeaux glass and similar in quality, but don’t boast a mile-high price tag.
The German-made glasses are designed to showcase the big bold flavors of Bordeaux, with a big bowl that allows in oxygen to pull out the nuanced flavors of full-bodied blends of cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and merlot and a tall shape that pushes flavors directly to the back of your mouth.
Our at-home tester found the stem on these glasses to be thick and too heavy for her liking, but the bowl was the exact opposite. The lip was thin, the bowl was well-shaped, and the clarity was brilliant. Our tester also liked that the bowl was slightly angled too, which felt like an updated take on the classic pinot shape.
These glasses cleaned well, and retained their brilliance when going through the dishwasher. While testing, we found the clarity doesn't remain while drinking though. Our tester touched the bowl once and i found the glass immediately picked up any oils and looked far less brilliant than the moment prior.
If you need an everyday, all-purpose wine glass and don’t have a budget for crystal, Riedel’s Vinum (view at Amazon) or Gabriel-Glas ‘One for All’ glasses (view at Amazon) are excellent for all occasions. If your cellar spans a rainbow of reds, opt for Wine Enthusiast’s complete collection.
Our Testing Process
All of the products featured in this list of wine glasses have been carefully chosen by our editors and writers. We then sent each of the products directly to the writer for at-home testing. After applying a comprehensive list of methodologies—rating each item through several steps, and ranking them on key attributes tailored to each category—the writer provided personal feedback and captured photos of the items in use.
Some of the attributes we looked for and rated each item on included: design, size, material, quality, and aesthetics of the glass. We looked at how these glasses felt in the hand, the thickness of the rim, the length of the stem, how the shape affected the aromas, and the tasting experience. We had our tester taste the wine after it was poured to evaluate the result. And finally, they tested the product to see how easy it was to clean.
What to Look For
Material plays a big role in your glass. Crystal is the gold standard, largely because the material can be formed thin (allowing the wine to better interact with your palate) and is durable (consider that crystal is an incredibly strong material!). The finest of crystal glasses are hand-blown, though machine-blown crystal also offers exceptional quality. Lower down the price point is glass, which is far more affordable but (slightly!) less elegant.
The bowl of the glass will play a huge role in how the wine unfolds.
What types of wines do you drink most frequently? If you love the stories and producers of burgundy, you’re going to want a wide glass specifically crafted for those flavors. If you prefer Bordeaux, choose accordingly—Bordeaux glasses are better for those rich, full, higher-alcohol wines (also great for cabernet sauvignon, cab franc, and the likes!). If you prefer your wines juicy and fresh (think non-cru beaujolais, zweigelt, frappato, etc.), a universal glass will do the trick.
What are the different types of wine glasses?
Glasses are broadly categorized into red, white, and sparkling. From there, red wines can be categorized by universal, Bordeaux, or burgundy.
How many ounces in an average red wine glass?
A standard wine glass holds 12 ounces.
What's the best way to care for/clean red wine glasses?
“My recommendation is to hand wash red wine glasses by holding the glass firmly by the stem and gently scrubbing the bowl with wet soapy water,” says Pradhan. “Always use unscented soap and make sure to rinse the glass thoroughly under hot water to remove any leftover wine or sediment. If you are washing your wine glasses in the dishwasher, the most important thing is to load the dishwasher correctly. Place the glasses securely upside down and make sure to wash separately from any other dishes.”
Why Trust Liquor.com?
The items featured in this piece were all tested by Kate Dingwall, a wine and spirits writer and seasoned, WSET-trained sommelier. She has 7 years experience in the writing world, and has spent the last decade working as a sommelier at globally-acclaimed restaurant groups. She has a soft spot for anything from Piedmonte, particularly ruchè and grignolino. If you’re nice, she’ll pour you a glass in her Zaltos.
Céline Bossart is a red wine obsessed French person who has been writing about drinking for the majority of her career. When it comes to glassware, she does not mess around, and neither do the experts with whom she consults.
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