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12 best wine glasses for every occasion and tipple

Whether its red, white, rosé or sparkling, drink it in style with one of these sets

John Clarke
Friday 01 October 2021 16:22 BST
<p>Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of vino</p>

Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of vino

According to the medieval philosopher Thomas Aquinas, sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.

He didn’t specify what sort of glass, but if he was around nowadays, he’d find that the type of glass used can increase the pleasure and enhance the enjoyment to be found in any good wine.

There is a world of glasses to choose from. Some, such as those with rounder and fuller bowls, are designed to accommodate red wines.

Others, slightly more streamlined, are designed to bring out the best in a white. Sparkling wines go well with glasses with longer and leaner silhouettes. And then, there are those that cater for all types of wine.

How we tested

We looked at a range of glasses, from plastic polycarbonate to authentic Murano glass. Some come from the UK and Europe, others from as far afield as the Middle East and India. All offer to add to the appreciation and enjoyment that Thomas Aquinas found nearly 800 years ago.

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The best wine glasses for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Richard Brendon x Jancis Robinson wine glass: £70, Richardbrendon.com
  • Best for a new take on tradition – Blue murano classic flute: £137, Originalmuranoglass.com 
  • Best for a stylish table setting – Denby white wine glasses: £36, Denbypottery.com
  • Best for a retro look – Epoque champagne flute: £32, Lsa-international.com 
  • Best for cabernet sauvignon – Waterford Elegance cabernet sauvignon wine glass: £65 for a set of two, Waterford.com
  • Best for sauvignon blanc – Schott Zwiesel pure sauvignon blanc wine glass: £48.99, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for red or white wine – Black Toast small wine glass: £29.95, Emmabridgewater.co.uk
  • Best for picnics – Elite Polycarbonate plastic red large wine glass: £15.95, Virtually-glass.com
  • Best for engraving – Balmoral seawaves white wine glasses: £19.95, Diamantehome.co.uk
  • Best for the wine connoisseur – Riedel winewings wine tasting glasses: £110, Theriedelshop.co.uk
  • Best for artistic elegance – Meet Palestine hand painted crystal wine glass: £67.99, Etsy.com 
  • Best for recycled rustic charm – Ziki small wine glass: £32.50, Nkuku.com

Richard brendon x jancis robinson wine glass

Richard Brendon x Jancis Robinson

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

When a renowned wine critic and a celebrated designer collaborate, the result should be something special. And this doesn’t disappoint. Unlike some of its rivals, this wine glass has been specifically designed to offer the best tasting experience for every type of wine, whatever its style or strength, whether that be champagne, port, sherry, red wine, white wine or rosé.

Light, but perfectly balanced with a tulip bowl that allows the wine to breathe, it also has a fine rim that means there’s little impediment between the palate and the wine. Mouth-blown from lead-free glass and stunning to look at, it could be the only wine glass you will ever need.

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Original Murano Glass blue murano classic flute, set of 2

Blue Murano classic flute

Best: For a new take on tradition

Rating: 9/10

Murano, in the Venetian Lagoon, has been the home of high-quality glassware since the 13th-century and Original Murano Glass is keeping the tradition alive with glasses that reflect that heritage while keeping abreast of modern styles. This 25cm-high champagne flute comes in a beautiful shade of pale blue that grows darker as it reaches the bowl. Superbly balanced with a long and slender stem but a very stable base, it has a pleasing amount of weight to it too. It may be pricey, but you get a pair of glasses that enhance the enjoyment of any sparkling wine.

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Denby white wine glasses, set of 2

Denby

Best: For a stylish table setting

Rating: 8/10

These white wine glasses are designed by the team at Denby and then handmade and mouth-blown for them by glassmakers. The attractive smoky shading is created by rolling clear glass in coloured chips and melting them so that they fuse. As a result, the colour is permanent, and the glasses can be safely put in a dishwasher. Contemporary and stylish with generous bowls and sturdy stems, they match Denby’s Halo and Praline tableware ranges but would work well in any table setting.

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Epoque champagne flute, set of 2

LSA Epoque champagne flute

Best: For a retro look

Rating: 8/10

This mouth-blown champagne flute, with a look inspired by the champagne cocktail era of the roaring Twenties, is from LSA International, a London-based design studio specialising in contemporary handmade glass. The most noticeable aspect is the hollow stem which sounds like a gimmick but actually fits in well with the slimline profile of the glass. A comfortable 20cm high, it’s easy to hold and the disc-shaped base, shaped by hand, adds to its steady and stylish balance. The rim has also been expertly polished to ensure a smooth finish. Overall, it would be a sophisticated addition to any cocktail cabinet.

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Waterford elegance cabernet sauvignon wine glass, set of 2

Waterford Elegance

Best: For cabernet sauvignon

Rating: 9/10

A supremely stylish glass from a company whose history stretches back to Ireland in the 1780s. Generously-proportioned, these are big glasses – 22.9cm high with a 750ml volume – that bring out the best in cabernet sauvignon or any similar classic red wine.

The spacious hand-crafted bowl is designed to allow oxygen in and let the concentrated flavours of the wine breathe. In doing so, it also lessens the chance of the tannins becoming too big a factor in the overall taste. Statuesque in profile, with a thin stem and a wide base, it’s a pleasure to look at and hold and the polished rim enhances the overall sense of satisfaction.

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Schott zwiesel pure sauvignon blanc wine glass, set of 6

Zwiesel Glas Sauvignon

Best: For sauvignon blanc

Rating: 9/10

An established brand leader, the German-based Zwiesel Kristallglas company is the supplier of the glassware of choice for everything from prestigious wine competitions to luxury hotels. And it’s not hard to see why. Dishwasher safe and lead-free, this elegant and stylish sauvignon blanc glass has all the features that make Zwiesel glasses stand out.

Using their own Tritan titanium crystal, the hand-blown glasses have laser-cut and polished rims and a protective treatment that strengthens the stems. With an angled bowl, it’s designed to bring out the best in a sauvignon blanc or any similar, green grape white wine, as well as being a durable and aesthetically pleasing shape.

  1. £48 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Black toast small wine glass

Emma Bridgewater

Best: For red or white wine

Rating: 8/10

For those who like a bit of substance with their glass, this is a beautifully chunky wine glass which, as the sandblasted words show, is suitable for either red or white wine (and no doubt rosé if there’d been space to include it). Made of crystal glass and manufactured in traditional hand-turned moulds in Poland, it’s not what you would call a lightweight choice but it is superbly balanced and has that imitable “House of Bridgewater” look.

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Elite polycarbonate plastic red large wine glass, set of 4

Elite red wine glass

Best: For picnics

Rating: 7/10

A polycarbonate plastic glass that’s ideal for outdoor use. You can buy them in clear plastic, but we like this striking blood red example. As you would expect, it’s shatterproof, unbreakable and dishwasher and microwave proof, and the colour won’t fade or flake. Well-balanced, and with a generous bowl it would suit any event from an alfresco lunch to a music festival. Apart from being red, it’s also very green – by which we mean this polycarbonate glass only takes 10 per cent of the energy required to make a glass version.

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Balmoral seawaves white wine glasses, set of 2

Balmoral

Best: For engraving

Rating: 7/10

Diamante prides itself on delivering high quality crystal at realistic prices. These impressive white wine glasses with hand cut designs of ocean waves bring a touch of class to the table. Handblown and made from lead-free crystal, they’re a whopping 25cm high with a long stem and steady base. The lavish bowl successfully captures the flavours and aromas of white wine adding a new level of enjoyment, say, to an aromatic gewürztraminer or a tropical-tasting sauvignon blanc.

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Riedel winewings wine tasting glasses, set of 4

Riedel Winewings

Best: For the wine connoisseur

Rating: 9/10

Don’t know which glass to have with which wine? Well, here’s a set that will help you out. Four individual wine tasting glasses: a cabernet sauvignon for full-bodied red wines, a pinot noir for lighter reds, a sauvignon blanc for more aromatic whites and finally, a chardonnay glass for more complex white wines.

Handblown in Germany and Austria, each has a distinctive shape, governed by the type of wine and the company’s use of the classic “golden architectural formula”, which means that the size of the bowl has to correspond and synchronise with the height of the stem and the width of the base. Costly perhaps, but they’re a superb combination of style and class.

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Meet palestine hand painted crystal wine glass, set of 6

Meet Palestine

Best: For artistic elegance

Rating: 8/10

These beautifully hand-painted wine glasses originate from Hebron in the West Bank, where traditional glassware painting skills are handed down from generation to generation. Each tulip-shaped glass has its own slightly individual pattern within the set of six glasses.

More than just useful glasses, these are works of art as well. Plus, they are scratch resistant and dishwasher proof, and the delightful pastel colours are permanent. At a height of 16cm and with translucent stems and bases, they will bring a touch of class to any dining table.

  1. £67 from Etsy.com
Prices may vary
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Ziki small wine glass, set of 4

Nkuku Ziki small wine glass

Best: For recycled rustic charm

Rating: 8/10

Small but distinctive, these are hand-blown glasses that have been hammered while still in a molten state, creating a textured, almost sculptured surface that is able to catch and reflect the light. We also liked the solid base that adds to the overall rustic charm of these highly attractive glasses. And, as these are made in India from recycled clear glass that has been crushed then melted down, they do good too.

  1. £32 from Nkuku.com
Prices may vary
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The verdict: Best wine glasses

A good glass isn’t just useful for a good wine, it’s essential. The Waterford elegance glass catered really well for cabernet sauvignon and similar-bodied red wines, while the Schott Zwiesel sauvignon blanc glass enhanced the appreciation of this classic white.

The set of Riedel Winewings wine tasting glasses provided the ultimate tasting kit for anyone with more than a passing interest in different wine styles, while the Epoque Champagne flute added a touch of Venetian style to Champagne or sparkling wine.

But it is the versatile, stylish and durable Richard Brendon x Jancis Robinson glass that we think provides the perfect glass for any occasion and any wine. Cheers to that.

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