Correct Stemware For Serving Wine

There are in the world of American connoisseurs and wine snobs a dozen cardinal rules of ostentatious wine service. Silly or otherwise, correct stemware is one of the first and foremost "rules" when it comes to properly serving fine wine.

As for correct stemware, it is suggested that you first get rid of those pretty wineglasses you received as a wedding gift. They may look lovely displayed on a shelf, but, with certain exceptions, they are worse than useless for drinking wine. Why? Because the wine-ignorant manufacturers make them in thimble sizes that don't hold enough wine for more than a taste.

When you serve a guest the skimpy two-ounce portion of Tempranillo that the average one of these baubles holds, he empties it at a single sip and waits, thirsty and embarrassed, for you to pour some more. In Europe you are served table wine in respectable stemmed bowls that hold seven, eight, or even nine ounces. Rarely are they poured more than two-thirds full; the head space allows the wine to send forth its fragrance, which is part of its flavor.

You will do better to serve table wine in your water goblets than in the tiny so-called wineglasses. If the water glass seems too big, pour it only half full. At a dinner in your home, four ounces of table wine is a decent serving; the average guest will have a second glass. Your old-fashioned cocktail glasses, or even your highball glasses, are equally acceptable.

Or buy some of the sensible wineglasses which a few manufacturers are at last beginning to place on the market in response to the urgent pleas of vintners. The best ones are plain in design, to let the wine’s color show through; they are tulip-shapedâ€"narrower at the top than at the widest part of the bowl-thereby concentrating the wine's bouquet to delight your olfactory sense. A fine glass of Pinot Noir will practically illuminate a red glow from a glass such as this.

They measure seven or eight ounces to their brim, providing a four-ounce serving when half full, and are sturdy enough to survive ordinary dishwashing. They can be used for all kinds of wine, pouring only a third of a glass when serving Sherry. The thimbles in your set of stemware will do for cordials; or, if they can hold at least two ounces without spilling onto the tablecloth, are also suitable for serving Sherry, Port, and other dessert wines.

Whoever first inflicted on American householders the several different grotesquely shaped, various-sized and colored glasses that are sold as complete sets for the separate serving of Claret, Barbera, Rhine wine, Sauterne, Sherry, and Port, must have copied them out of some rare old book treasured only by glassware hobbyists.

In medieval Europe, it is true; every ancient winegrowing district originally developed its own distinctive wineglass. For example, the old Rhine wine glasses were colored green to hide the fact that early Rhine wines were often cloudy and brown. Such relics of past centuries are no excuse for bamboozling the average American shopper into buying ridiculous glassware.

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About The Author, Sarah Martin
Sarah Martin is a freelance marketing writer based out of San Diego, CA. She specializes in international travel, cuisine, and fine wine. To browse a wide selection of varietals including Tempranillo and Barbera, please visit