So why do you need to care about the type of glass from which you drink wine? A water glass, a Mason jar or even a coffee cup can do the job. Right? Well, maybe if you are on a camping trip, but if you are learning about and enjoying wine more and more, then it is time for you to know that the type of container from which you drink your wine will affect your drinking experience.

Only when I began working in the wine industry did I learn that there are differently shaped glasses designed for different wines. And, it is only in writing this piece that I realized that the 10 ounce wedding gift glasses etched with frigates on the outside are made more for white wine than red.

To truly enjoy a wine, your glasses need space and shape, and if you have the money, they need to be crystal, not glass.

Also, we must begin with the premise that a “glass of wine” is 5 to 6 ounces. This is important because any glass filled too full will be useless in enjoying all that the wine has to offer.

One problem with my wedding stemware is it is too narrow to swirl even a few ounces of wine. To swirl wine in my little glasses is an indelible wine stain in the making.

My glasses need a more shapely bowl. The almost vertical sides serve to keep wine cooler, which is valuable in drinking white wines; however, to enjoy red wine, they need a broader, tulip shaped bowl. This would give the wine room to breathe, and it would create a space between the surface of the wine and my nose and mouth to capture the aromas released by the wine.

Finally, if you have the money, stemware made of crystal will have a thinner lip, or rim, on the glass. A thinner rim focuses the delivery of the wine to your palate (sense of taste). Also, crystal refracts light and thus better presents the color and beauty of the wine.

As a budding oenophile buying your first set of glasses, consider first the type of wine – red, white, full or light body, dry, sweet, high or low alcohol – to be consumed. Take your budget into account, and then do a bit of research to determine the best shape and make of wine glasses to purchase. The website based on the book Wine Folly by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack, WineFolly.com, is a good place to start.

No matter which stemware you buy or use, always clink you glass with others and say, “Cheers!”