It’s crazy but it’s true: The right glass makes wine taste better.
Williams-Sonoma, which launched in 1956 in Sonoma—a historic wine-making region—has 60 years of helping customers find the exact right wine glasses they need. Whether you’re a Sauvignon Blanc obsessive or a collector of rare Napa Cabernets, there’s a beautiful, precisely designed glass in our Estate line just for you.
Our in-house design team brainstormed with top sommeliers to develop bowl shapes intended to improve the taste of different wine varietals. We focused in particular on the wonderful wines of California. Improving the taste of vino through glassware boils down to science: The right glass with the right bowl shape will capture the delicate aromas and flavors of the wine itself.
Much of taste is determined by bouquet, so you’ll get the maximum flavor with each sip. The aperture of each glass has also been carefully calibrated to ensure that when the wine flows from the glass into your mouth, your head tilts back at the correct angle, and the liquid hits the correct taste buds on your tongue. For example, a Sauvignon Blanc glass should keep the subtle floral, citrus bouquet largely trapped in the glass so it doesn’t escape when you sip—and buttery Chardonnay needs a round, wide bowl and a broad opening so you can really get your nose in there.
If you’ve ever wondered why wine tastes so much better at the vineyard tasting than it does at home, it’s because it’s time to invest in glassware that can make a $10 wine taste like it cost a hundred bucks. Read on, and a caveat: You may end dashing to your favorite wine shop.
1. Sauvignon Blanc
- This glass has a long, slender stem that’s comfortable to hold. Holding a wine glass by its stem helps keep white wines cool.
- The bowl’s straight sides and small opening work to hold in the delicate, subtle aromas—such as floral and citrus notes—crisp whites bring to the table.
- This glass would work equally well with Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño or Provençal rosés.
- Chardonnay aficionados know that the oaked varietal—particularly from the great state of California—is all about that buttery bouquet. Swirling the glass to get a good read on the aroma is easy thanks to a wide, flat base.
- A wide, round bowl shape helps aerate the wine and allow a broad range of aromas.
- The bowl shape directs flow of wine to edges of the tongue, an area of the palate that picks up acidity and balances the fruit flavors in full-bodied white wines such as Chardonnay and some rosé wines (such as those from the Tavel region).
- This unique bowl shape specifically concentrates the aromatic compounds in Cabernet Sauvignon or red Bordeaux. It’s also ideal for Malbec and Tempranillo.
- The geometry of the bowl features relatively straight edges that taper slightly towards the top to maximize phenolic expression (flavor).
- Smooth, thin glass edges direct wine to the center of the palate to really moderate the tannins.
4. Grand Cru
- A true oenophile’s glass, made with those with a wine cellar or prized vintages in mind, the Grand Cru is an essential.
- We designed this glass to bring out all of the complexities of the world’s finest reds—the special occasion bottles.
- A wide base on the bowl exposes wine to air so it can breathe, while sloped sides direct wine to the front of the palate so you can savor the complex balance of fruit and acidity.
Whether you’re a porch-and-rosé person or a white-tablecloth-and-Napa-cab person, there’s a wine glass out there for you. Just decide that today’s the day you start making budget bottles taste extravagantly excellent.