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article imageWhy shape matters: Wine glass design affects the taste of wine Special

By Lesley Lanir     Mar 28, 2014 in Lifestyle
The flavour of wine can alter so greatly when served in a different shaped glass, you may believe you are drinking a different wine to the one tasted before. Find out how wine glassware design can influence the taste of your favourite tipple.
Wine lovers are attracted to colour, bouquet, and taste. But who really pays great attention to or understands the relevance of the shape or size of the glass the wine is served in, apart from noticing it being roundish and bigger for red wine and sometimes tallish and smaller for white? Have you ever noticed though that you can drink a really enjoyable wine in a restaurant or bar, note down the name and year and then buy the same wine and drink it at home and find, disappointingly, it tastes nothing like the one you admired so much in the restaurant?
Well, although the grape variety mainly determines the relationship between fruitiness, acidity, tannin and alcohol, apparently, according to wine tasters and glass making experts a complex relationship does exist between glass shape and size and the flavour of the wine you are drinking.
Shalom Aronzon - Golan Heights Winery Kashrut Supervisor / Wine Education.
Shalom Aronzon - Golan Heights Winery Kashrut Supervisor / Wine Education.
To find out more, once again Digital Journal turned to Shalom Aronzon, Golan Heights Winery’s kashrut supervisor and wine educator who has previously enjoyed sharing his knowledge about wine and wine bottle shapes, to see if he could help us understand how the glass design affects a wine's flavor. To begin with Shalom mentioned that wine glass design is not his specialty but he had learned some interesting things at lectures by Mr. George Riedel, Chief Executive of the world famous Riedel glassworks located in Austria, established over 250 years ago.
Professor Claus J. Riedel was the first glass designer to notice that the bouquet, taste, balance and finish of wines are influenced by the shape of the glass. So, more than 50 years ago he began creating glasses that would match and complement different wines and spirits. Riedel went on to start a design revolution in the 1950s, by producing thin-blown, simple glassware by reducing the design of the glass to its basic three elements: bowl, stem, base.
Wine and wine glasses - C.  Matilla
Wine and wine glasses - C. Matilla
Riedel followed the design principles of Bauhaus “form follows function“ and in 1961 a revolutionary idea was launched, the first line of wine glasses designed and created in different sizes and shapes. Before this, the bowl had the same design — just the size differed.
While working together with expert wine tasters, Riedel discovered that wine consumed from his glasses had more depth and better balance than when the same wine was drunk from other glasses.
Where does the cork come from? Cork tree bark.
Where does the cork come from? Cork tree bark.
So as Shalom pointed out:
From these lectures, and further research, I discovered the shape of a wine glass does greatly affect our enjoyment of the wine we are drinking and can definitely enhance the flavour.
Can you explain a little about how the design does influence the taste of wine?
Our sense of taste is spread around the mouth and along the tongue. There are areas where the taste receptors are in charge of sweet, or sour, or salt or bitter. The shape of the glass directs the wine to different areas of the mouth and tongue.
Riedel explains this design concept in more detail. If the glass is narrower at the top, a glass shape known as a cut rim, it directs the wine fairly quickly to the centre of the mouth and tongue. Another type of cut rim guides the wine to the tip of the tongue. If the wine glass is more like the classic balloon-shaped glass, known as a rolled rim, the contour allows the wine to flow all over the mouth but at a slower rate.
Wine glass design influences the taste of the wine.
Wine glass design influences the taste of the wine.
Could you give an example of glass designs that would be suitable for popular wines?
Yes, heavy rich red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, benefit from being served in big deep glasses that allow you to swirl them around well. To do this properly they should be less than half full. These glasses although deep, become narrower towards the top of the glass. This shape preserves the aroma better in the glass, so it doesn't get lost.
Wine glass design influences the taste of wine.
Wine glass design influences the taste of wine.
Surprisingly, if you try and taste the same good wine in a good big professional glass that allows you to swirl it well and is the right shape and you drink the same wine in a simple glass, you do really feel the difference! The wine is much more enjoyable if consumed from a glass that has been designed to respect its quality, and can bring out the best of its expression and its unique character.
Oak wine casks
Oak wine casks
If you are interested in learning more about suitable glassware for your favourite wine, visit Riedel - the wine glass company where they state:
"RIEDEL has researched the grape varietal sensation, leading to the conclusion, on which the world’s wine experts agree; that the enjoyment of aroma, taste, texture and finish of a wine, is maximized by using the right “WINE TOOL“."
The taste of wine is affected by wine glass design.
The taste of wine is affected by wine glass design.
More about wine glass design, wine glass, golan heights winery, Riedel
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