You can spend LOTS of money on glassware, decanters, openers, and other wine ‘accessories’.  And in the end, none of it really impacts the wine itself, so you could ask WHY you would spend all of that hard-earned cash.  In the case of glassware, I’d answer that in two ways:

The manufacturers of top-end glassware (notably Riedel) have designed specific shapes and sizes of glassware for each grape type, ostensibly to enhance the specific qualities of each type of wine.  While this might sound a little too much like wine wankery, blind tasting tend to support the theory that a different size and shape of glass will impact, at the very least, the way the aroma of the wine reaches your nose, which in turn will impact your experience of the wine.

Secondly, and I believe more importantly, drinking wine is a sensory experience that isn’t just about the taste of the wine.  It’s about the visual impact of the wine in the glass, the bouquet of the wine as it wafts out of the glass, and the tactile experience of the glass as you drink.  And it’s great fun to be able to swirl your wine around in between sips, which requires a certain size of glass.

In summary, while glassware is probably only a one-percenter (and some of my best wine experiences have been from jam jars in Italian trattorias), we feel like it’s worth the “investment” in some decent glasses if you’re buying decent wine.

Everyone has their preferences; we’ve listed a few options at different price points that we use regularly, and that we feel represent value.

No matter what you buy, check the washing instructions and follow them explicitly.  The sound of a $60 wine glass breaking is a very, very sad sound.



At roughly $70/6-pack, the Zerrutti Ultimo is a perfect entry-level glass.

It’s pitched halfway between white and red wine (if you’re not going to buy different glasses for each), and it’s not the worst glass for full-flavored sparkling wine either.

They’re also fairly robust; we’ve been using the same set of six for the last decade and it’s the only full set of wine glasses in our household that is yet to suffer a breakage.

Riedel is probably the best known manufacturer of top-end glassware in the world, and the Vinum Syrah was the first fancy glassware we ever purchased, so I have a certain nostalgic connection to this glass.  It’s probably our go-to glass for Australian red wines (Shiraz, Cabernet etc.), and particularly at discount prices such as this, it takes some beating for roughly $25/glass.

If that Vinum Syrah is our go-to red wine glass, the Vinum Grand Cru Riesling is the go-to white wine and sparkling glass.

They’re probably glasses that you’ve used at high-end restaurants, and having a four-pack of each of these will give you a decent option for most wines out of the cellar.

If money is not a concern, I would categorically recommend the Zalto range of glassware.  At $55/glass there’s no arguing that they’re cheap.  But, as John Keats famously said, ‘a thing of beauty is a joy forever’.

Because of our existing collection of Riedel, I’ve only been able to justify the Burgundy glass, which is now our go-to glass for anything along the Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo and light Grenache spectrum.

Seriously, ignore the price tag and do it.

Nick Ireland, Adelaide, South Australia
22 November 2016
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