I’m obsessed with red wine glasses. Ever since I first drank wine from a Riedel glass, my world changed forever. This led me to try more and more brands and to this day, I constantly fall in and out of love with my Riedel in favor of Zalto. And vice versa. But I love my glasses. Mrs 12 goes crazy that my 2 favorite wine decanters, my wine glasses, my champagne flutes take up so much space in her kitchen. And don’t even get me started about my favourite whiskey glasses; Mrs 12 hates those and purposely uses them for water.
When we fight she threatens to throw out my best red wine glasses. She knows exactly what to say and I love her for it.
But red wine glasses have become an obsession of mine. And you know why? It’s because it actually makes the wine taste better. It can take great wine and make it taste epic and it can take average wine and make it the best version of itself. And before you ask, yes, I did the Pepsi challenge with wine glasses.
I was blindfolded and told to try and taste the same wine from different glasses. That was the day that I discovered Riedel. Which not only led me to buy thousands of bucks worth of Riedel glassware but also drove me to seek an interview with Maximilian Riedel himself.
How To Choose The Best Red Wine Glasses For You
When it comes to choosing the perfect red wine glasses for yourself, you have to take so much into consideration. And before you even consider which style of glass you’re going to go for, you have to look at how much space you actually have at home. Do you have space for 6 wine glasses. More importantly, do you have space for 6 tall wine glasses.
People, myself included, have gone out and ordered some of the most magnificent glasses, only to find that they were too tall when they came home. So be sure to at least buy the type of glasses that will fit in your kitchen. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Stemmed Wine Glasses Vs Stemless Wine Glasses
Let’s just assume that you don’t have the space for tall wine glasses. You’ll find that stemless wine glasses are an excellent alternative to this problem. Brands like the O Range from Riedel, have been beautifully crafted to still give you that excellent taste whilst drinking. The O Range had been created by Maximilian Riedel, because at the time, he was living in an NYC apartment and his cupboards were too short to fit his array of wine glasses. So the way I see it, if they’re good enough for him, they’re good enough for all of us.
Additionally, I’ve noticed stemless wine glasses more and more in restaurants. I guess these establishments are trying to limit the number of wine glasses knocked over. Whilst I do own a few stemless wine glasses and a LOT of stemless champagne flutes, I prefer the stemmed wine glasses. Just holding it and spinning the wine around feels so much more natural in a tall wine glass.
Red Wine Glasses – Size Matters
When it comes to red wine glasses, size really matters. The idea of a red wine glass is:
- to allow the wine to breathe
- allow you to get your nose in and smell in all those flavors
For some reason, some of the bars I’ve been to serve wine in very short, stubby, thick wine glasses. For me, when I pick a wine glass, I need to know that 3 things come true.
- the weight. I want a glass that’s extremely light. I find that heavy glasses are awful to hold from the stem. And if you can’t hold a wine glass from the stem, whats the point right? For me is has to be light weight, it’s can’t be so heavy that when I try and swirl the wine around in my glass, it goes all over the place.
- the thickness. The last thing you want to find is a thick glass. The thicker the glass, the harder it is to really taste the wine. I would advise thinner glasses. This is where Riedel & Zalto excel. They make the world’s thinnest wine glasses. However, the downside about having very thin glasses is that you can’t clink glasses and shout ‘cheers’. The chances are if you did that, you would probably break them. For me, I have differing types of red wine glasses and only pull out my Riedel or Zaltos when I’m with fellow wine lovers.
- the balance. There’s got to be a certain balance to it all. There’s got to be a balance in the glass when you’re holding it from the stem. I’ve owned and used thousands of wine glasses, that look great, are tall, thin and yet, when you come to holding it from the stem and swirl the wine around, the glass almost falls out your hand. Balance is everything. Whichever glass you go for, ensure that when it’s filled with red wine, and in your hand – you can spin the glass around effortlessly with just the stem only.
Check out our reviews on the Best Red Wine Glasses. The aim of this piece is to save you lots of time (doing heaps of research) and hopefully some money (by ensuring you don’t buy the wrong glasses).
Best Wine Glasses For Red Wine
Riedel O Cabernet/Merlot Wine Glass – Best Stemless Wine Glass
If you’re limited on space, then look no further. These stemless wine glasses are just superb. Made by the world’s best wine glass company Riedel, these are the brainchild of Maximilian Riedel who created the O Range because he used to live in an NYC apartment, where their just wasn’t enough space to store tall wine glasses.
As a result of this, Maximilian maintained the integrity, style, thinness and quality of the glass. The glasses have been shaped in such a way that they are best suited for either Cabarnets or Merlots. However, the truth is they work incredibly well with all red wines.
The problem with most Riedel wine glasses is that they are very delicate. They can break easily and putting them in the dishwasher is a no no. However with these glasses, they are 100% dishwasher friendly.
Schott Zwiesel Tritan Crystal Glass Pure Stemware Collection – Best Schott Wine Glass
These Burgundy Glasses are great. First off, let’s not forget they’re made by Schott Zwiesel. And if you’ve never heard about School Zwiesel, where have you been hiding? Schott AG, are based in Germany, boasting an annual turnover of 2bn Euros. That’s right, BILLION!!!
Generally that indicates to me that they know a little something about glassware. And after having sampled these particular Burgundy glasses, I can concur. I found that these glasses were tougher and sturdier than most fragile glasses. They are dishwasher friendly and aesthetically pleasing and lovely to hold.
These are the type of glasses you could use daily if you had to; and not just save them for special occasions. Stylish and sturdy – these glasses are a must for every wine lover. And no, they’re not just for Burgundy….
Riedel Wine Series Cabernet/Merlot Glass – Best Riedel Wine Glass
These glasses are just epic. Once again, made by famous glass makers Riedel, these wine glasses are simply perfect in so many ways. Not only do these wine glasses look great, but they’re incredibly light, well made and super thin; making the overall experience of tasting your wine even more pleasurable.
The bowl for these glasses allow for the aromas to truly hit your nose and the thinness of the glass helps pick up and appreciate all the subtle nuances in the wine.
These glasses are 9 inches tall and when full, they hold circa 24 Oz. Despite the fact that they say they are dishwasher friendly, mine very sadly chipped on the first time in there. The new ones that I ordered, I only hand wash them. Better safe than Riedel Free.
Zalto Denk’Art Bordeaux Glass – Best Zalto Red Wine Glass
So yes, when you drink as much wine as I do, sometimes you can end up breaking more Riedels than you had hoped. And I don’t mean by breaking them or by washing them, but sadly just by doing cheers.
When I do fall out of love with Riedel, there’s only one other brand I run to without thinking twice. And that’s Zalto. These glasses to me are simply perfect. Firstly they’re a work of art. They look beautiful and are thin and have curves in all the right places.
I have found these glasses to be so well balanced that I refer to them as the Hatori Hanzo swords of the wine glass world. They are just wow. But they are very thin. In fact, I believe they could be thinner than Riedel glasses and with that comes a couple of negatives. Ideally you want to hand wash these glasses instead of throwing them into the dishwasher. Never do cheers with them. If you do that, you won’t be celebrating; rather on your hands and knees soaking up the wine from the carpet.
And ONLY EVER use these for people who appreciate wine. There’s nothing more frustrating than serving some wonderful wines in these glasses to people who can’t tell the difference between a plastic wine glass and a Zalto one.
Stainless Steel Stemless Wine Glass Tumbler with Lid – Best Stainless Steel Wine Glasses
These insulated stainless steel wine glasses are great for keeping your wine chilled. The purpose behind these glasses is to be able to use them when you’re out and about; be it at a picnic, hiking, running, etc… And if you’re wondering why you’d need to take wine with you when hiking, it means that you’re doing you’re hiking all wrong.
These glasses come with a lid and can keep liquids cool for up to 9 hours. If you’re thinking that they’re great just for white wine, then you’re half right. I use them for taking red wine to picnic, without having to worry about the beating sun upping the temperature of my beautiful Bordeaux red.
As great as these glasses are; I would of course never use them at home. Rather more for when I’m out and about. And given that they come in LOADS of colors, you can be sure that your wine glass matches your car, clothes, sunglasses or whatever.
The added benefit about these glasses is that you can use them for hot drinks like your morning coffee. These tumblers can keep your hot drinks hot for up to 3 hours. Given how inexpensive they are, you simply need to have a few of these in storage.
Waterford Markham Wine Glasses – Best Crystal Red Wine Glasses
Some wine drinkers out there don’t necessarily care about the weight of the glass, the balance, the finish, the thickness, nothing. They believe that wine glasses should be crystal and look beautiful. And I guess, if you are that way inclined, if you are trying to make a statement and tell your neighbors you’ve arrived, then look no further.
These Italian-made, crystal wine glasses really do look like the type of glasses you’d expect to see if you were lunching with The Queen. Given that they are made of Crystal, keeping them scratch free is a priority. That means more hand washing.
What I liked about these glasses is that they look the part and very regal.
Summit Outdoor Wine Glasses – Best Outdoor Red Wine Glass
These are another set of outdoor wine glasses I wanted to test. Again like the ones above, they are great for all things outdoor, be it hiking, BBQs or picnics.
What makes these glasses so unique is that they’ve gone to great lengths to ensure they’ve used 18/8 stainless steel to protect against any flavor transfer. They’ve been keen to eliminate any metal tastes whilst making the outside durable to prevent from any drops.
These glasses are a cool addition for outdoor glasses. I’ve surprised myself in how much I’ve used them
The truth is picking wine glasses is like picking wine; it’s subjective. What I may like, is something you may not. All I can advise is to try all the ones on this list that fascinate you. Serve the same wine in each glass and really see which glass tastes the best.
It may sound like hard work, but it’s all for a good cause. In doing this exercise, I had almost convinced myself that I was only going to like Riedel or Zalto (because I use them all the time anyway) – but doing this review, really opened up my eyes and plates to the other excellent options out there in the market.