Holding a glass by the stem prevents smudging, and keeps the bulb free of fingerprints. Keeping the bulb fingerprint free means you can more easily asses the wine’s colour, and thereby learn things about it before ever even tasting it. For example, if there is a white wine in your glass and it seems to have a darker hue resembling the colour of straw, this might be an indication the wine spent some time in oak. Examining the wine in this was is more of a practice utilised by sommeliers, but it’s fun to do every once in awhile.
The second reason the glass has a stem is that gripping the stem as opposed to the goblet makes it easier to swirl your wine. The action of swirling churns the liquid as it travels around the bulb, drawing in oxygen from the air and opening the wine up, helping it to release it’s aromas. Though it seems esoteric and a little pretentious, swirling can be the key to unlocking flavours and allowing for an appreciation of the wine’s nose.
Not sure of which wine goes in what glass?
Just keep in mind that wine glasses were not designed to merely impress your guests.That tall flute glass, for example, not only helps bubbles circulate in chilled champagne Its slender stem also allows you to hold the glass without raising the champagne's temperature. On the other hand, bold red wines usually require a bit more 'elbow room' in a wider glass with a bigger bowl, to help aerate and release its true flavours. To prove it, at your next wine tasting party pour a glass of red wine in a small glass, and another in a larger glass, and see the unique difference it makes in your mouth! While there is lots of debate about what wine glass best suits a particular wine, these are the classic shapes that have become universally accepted for enjoying wine to the fullest:
1. Port, 2. Brandy snifter 3. white wine, 4. red wine, 5. red burgundy, 6. Champagne flute 7. Champagne coupe.