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February 10, 2019 – Published in Design & Decor Spring 2019 issue

Conclusion: Enjoying wine


Words Fabien Etienne

Have you ever experienced a wine which did not taste as you expected it too?

Did you ever think that you might be drinking it in the wrong glass? That the same wine in a different glass could taste different?

I cannot count how many times I have been disappointed by wines served in inappropriate wine glasses, both in restaurants and in private houses.

So, does the wine glassware really make a difference?

In my opinion, yes. The glass makes a difference. Try it yourself: pour the same wine into two different glasses and taste.

The shape of each stemware consists of 3 parts: the bowl, stem and base. The height of the stem and the width of the base are part of the glass design (known as the architecture). Grape varietal specific stemware features finely-tuned glass bowls consisting of 3 variables: shape, size and rim diameter; to translate the “message” of wine to the human senses.

Let’s take a very good example. Have you heard about the Riedel glassware company?

Claus J. Riedel is recognized globally for designing and creating the finest quality decanters and glasses for the enjoyment of spirits and wines.

For over 250 years, Riedel have been producing glasses in the heart of Europe for generations. The business is family owned, and they produce a series of glass for any price range and lifestyle.

Historically, Riedel was the first to develop and introduce wine friendly stemware. This wine-friendly stemware is about delivering the taste, balance, bouquet, and finish of wine to the sensory.

They have created a different glass for nearly every varietal. This seems almost crazy until you try them and realize how well they work. Of course, having a glass for every grape is not realistic but many of their glasses work equally well for different wines.

The great thing is that, good wine glasses are now available at any budget. No one who cares about wine and who serves fine wine should have to settle for anything less than fine crystal glasses. If you’re serious about wine, you might want to own several ranges of glasses.

As a wine expert, having worked the past 14 years with Riedel glassware, I truly am a believer of having the proper glasses when I am enjoying a glass of wine. Unfortunately, the majority of wine drinkers pay little attention to the glass from which they drink.

What glass do you choose for which type of wine?

Let me give you some recommendation about Riedel glasses.

If you don’t want to break the bank by having each of the collection in your private home or restaurant, I recommend the Degustazione range. Degustazione is the perfect starter glassware for restaurateurs on the rise. Its generous bowl is shaped especially for white wines. Made of crystal, this glass is durable and functional. The shape of the glass helps to release the aromas of the red wines, emphasize fruit and balance tannins.

Another option is the Riedel 001, recent addition to the collection. A multifunctional stem shaped to enhance the aroma and flavour of all aromatic wines.

If you want the right glasses specifically for a white or a red wine, I recommend the Riedel Veritas collection. The Veritas glasses are ideal for those passionate about the complexities of the wine they’re drinking and want to showcase their fine wines in superior glassware.

Sadly, many restaurants are unwilling to invest in good glassware and there is nothing more frustrating than buying a wine in a restaurant only to find yourself drinking out of a glass better suited to water.

Having said so, drinking wine from the right glass will definitely enhance the whole experience!

Fabien Etienne is a professional sommelier and wine consultant based in Malta. Riedel ambassador, he organizes private master class as well as other bespoke wine services. 

Find out more on

Instagram fab_somm or contact him on 9938 8088 or

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