“Um, excuse me. This is a white wine glass,” Marchelle said, remembering to smile as she beleaguered the server.

A blank stare met her in return. “I’m sorry?”

“My wine, red, is in a glass made for white wine.”

“Oh, of course. Um. Let me tell the bartender.”

“Be nice, he’s not even of age yet,” I urged.

“I’m paying good for that drink, and I want it right,” she asserted, giving me a look that told me I better just let her handle that one all by herself.

If you can imagine how that went, the waiter and the bartender looked at one another and probably would’ve scratched their heads if it weren’t a health code violation. Eventually, he returned with what ostensibly could’ve been a brandy glass that nevertheless made Marchelle happy.

Why worry?

It’s easy to dismiss someone’s preferences for proper stemware as a pretentious, etiquette-driven concern. You might be fine drinking vino out of a Dixie cup, perhaps even obtaining a little extra happiness from “sticking it to the man” with your beverage container choices.

But I must urge your consideration: would you drink coffee out of a martini glass? Would you sip an old-fashioned from a Collins glass?

If your answer to either of those questions is yes, my case might be lost cause, but that’s not going to stop me from trying.

Though it might be painful to admit, diving into proper—and even innovative—glassware options can open doors to a deeper and more nuanced appreciation of any beverage, especially one as influenced by varietals and terroir as wine. The container from which something is imbibed can impact the exposure to air, the composition of each sip and even the temperature of the beverage over time.

If you don’t believe me, give a couple of these innovative pieces of glassware a try and see if you don’t just pick some notes that make you go, “Hmm.”

Riedel Stemless Swirl Red Wine Glass

While I am usually opposed to the stemless variety of glassware for wine (holding by the goblet can heat wine and ruin flavor), this one might just make up for it with its other features. Billed as a “casual wine glass,” this curved cup is created with the intention of easing the swirl. Swirling wine assists in aeration, lightening up those tannins. The wider bulb gives you the air-to-wine exposure you want for a red, making each sip more complex and nuanced than the last.

Roberts Wineware

For something as ancient as glassware, Roberts Wineware might just be as far on the frontier as we can get right now. Their claim? “The last important wine region to be explored, is you…”

With patented “Taste Stimulating Textures™” Roberts offers the more sophisticated wine drinker a sensation that is said to activate digestive and tasting capabilities that a normal wine glass leaves untapped. Available for multiple varietals.

Metrokane Rabbit Aerating Pourer

This one might be the best for the skeptic, and it makes serving wine a little bit sexier. A low-cost tool from a trusted brand, this aerating pourer offers you a quick and quality solution for enhancing wine flavors. Making use of the natural exposure to oxygen that happens when you pour, the bulb ensures that more wine is aerated in the pouring process. It even spares you the ache of pouring an entire bottle into a decanter to achieve the same effect.

There are countless novel rimmed glasses, decanters and nifty aerating devices available to the wine geek, all of which bill their own unique benefits. We recommend a glassware party, where you and some friends give a few of these innovative wineware products a try and compare notes. 

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