Anatomy of a Wine Glass
A wine glass is composed of four parts – the base, the stem, the bowl, and the rim. The base is what gives the glass its stability. From there, the stem elongates the glass while giving the customer something to hold on to without raising the temperature of the wine within. It also prevents fingerprints from getting on the bowl of the glass.
Atop the stem sits the bowl. The bowl is arguably the most important feature of the glass. It should be large enough to comfortably swirl the wine without spilling or splashing it, and it should be tapered to retain and concentrate the aroma of the wine. Full-bodied red wines need room to breathe and to release their aroma; therefore, a larger bowl is needed when serving these wines. Conversely, white wines are typically served in smaller glasses, ones that are shaped like a "U" and narrower than a red wine glass. This gives the wine enough room for the aromas to be released but also helps in maintaining the cooler temperature of the white wines. Finally, flutes are often used to serve sparkling wines, as they help the bubbles last longer.
The uppermost part of the bowl is where the rim lies. A thinner rim is less distracting to drinkers as they sip their wine, and a smooth rim will not impede the wine as it flows from glass to mouth. Thicker, rounder rims are the sign of a cheaply made glass, and while the glasses serve their purpose, they may be more distracting to the drinker.