Which wine glass should be used for red, white, rosé and sparkling wine?

If you really love wine (and if you’re reading this chances are already fairly high that you do) then you’re probably the kind of person who would recoil in horror at a Champagne saucer.

You know as well as we do that wine tastes best when it’s drunk from the right sort of glass, because each piece of glassware has been created to emphasise a particular wine’s characteristics.

It’s not a deal-breaker – if you’ve just opened up a vibrant and fresh Sauvignon Blanc and only have a red wine glass to hand it won’t completely ruin your enjoyment of the wine. But it’s likely you’ll miss a lot of those gooseberry and elderflower aromas that make the style so distinctive.

Read more: What wine goes with roast chicken?

Likewise if you serve a big, oaky Cabernet Sauvignon or a smooth Merlot in a flute, you’re just not going to be able to get enough air in the glass to allow all those complex flavours to be drawn out.

So let us teach you a very quick lesson of what glass to use for which wine.

Red wine

As we’ve already suggested, red wines are best served in large glasses. That’s because you want a large surface area so the wine comes into contact with lots of oxygen.

Oxygen helps to develop the aromas and flavours in red wine, and unfortunately just opening the bottle a little while before you serve the wine just doesn’t cut it.

If you don’t have a big glass there is a shortcut, as the video below will show you!

White and rosé wine

White and rosé wines can be served in the same glass – though we’d advise against putting them in at the same time!

Ideally they need to be in a medium-sized glass with a slight tulip shape so the fresh, fruit characteristics are drawn up towards the top of the glass.

Sparkling wine

Champagne flutes are much better than saucers as they allow the bubbles to travel through a larger volume, enhancing the aromas

Champagne flutes are much better than saucers as they allow the bubbles to travel through a larger volume, enhancing the aromas.





Champagne glasses come in many shapes and sizes but while saucers may evoke a lot more glamour than a flute, they cause sparkling wines to lose their fizz very quickly.

In general a flute is a great option for Champagne, English Sparkling Wine, Cava and Prosecco as the long, thin shape of the glass allows the bubbles to travel through a larger volume before bursting at the top.

Read more: Tony’s Diary: My first big lesson in how to buy wine

Some people prefer a tulip-shaped glass as they concentrate more of the aromas at the top.

Both are a great option for your bubbly.

Fortified wine

Nothing delivers flavour quite like fortified wines, whether that’s Port, Sherry or Madeira.

To give those fruit characteristics a real boost these wines are best served in a small glass, although it should be big enough for lots of swirling and nosing!

This also helps to mask the strong alcohol on the palate and the nose.


About Laithwaites Wine

Laithwaite's began in 1969, when Tony Laithwaite took a job washing bottles in Bordeaux... and fell in love with real wine and the people who make it. When he borrowed a van to share these delicious wines with friends and neighbours at home, things went so well that boutique wineries were soon queuing to take part. Today we're the UK's No.1 home-delivery wine merchant, with over 1,500 wines to choose from... including red, white and rosé, plus Champagne and sparkling, beer and cider.