Wine Glass Tasting

How A Comparative Tasting Will Change Your Wine Life


You’ve probably heard us talking about how the glass makes a difference: but have you ever wondered what the big fuss is all about? We’ve got a simple exercise that will help to show you why RIEDEL Grape Varietal Specific glasses are so important for wine enjoyment!

The Philosophy behind Grape Varietal Specific Glasses

Imagine you are a carpenter building a house, and someone tells you that you can pick only one tool to complete the job. Which one do you choose? You know you can't use a hammer to tighten a screw or a screwdriver to cut a piece of wood, and this is the same as the philosophy of grape varietal specific glasses. 

Different wine varieties have different characters and flavor profiles. The size and shape of whatever vessel you use – whether that's a RIEDEL glass or plastic cup - will alter the way your senses perceive the wine. To find out more about this, we encourage you to read our blog about Grape Varietal Specific glasses.

A comparison will show you how it works

RIEDEL hosts elaborate comparative tastings with a team of wine professionals, where they assess the same wine in up to 20 different glass shapes to find the correct shape for that one variety.

It’s easy to recreate a simplified version of this experience at home: all you need is two glasses with different shapes!


Our Step-by-Step Guide to a Comparative Tasting

Before you start, we recommend reading our guide to the Stages of Wine Tasting as this will help you critically assess wines. 

This exercise will work best if you have a RIEDEL varietal glass and can use the matching varietal (for example, a RIEDEL Shiraz glass with a Shiraz wine). However, if you don't yet own one, find two clean glasses that are drastically different in shape. Place them side by side, and pour at least 100ml/3oz. of wine into either your RIEDEL varietal glass or whichever glass you are using as glass #1.

First, smell the wine by putting your nose right into the glass and taking a deep breath. The intensity of aroma sits inside the bowl, so there’s no point only hovering nearby. Make a note of what you can smell and how intense or dull the aromas are.

Now, have a taste. Think about how the wine tastes and if you enjoy it. What’s the first thing you taste, and the final? Is it good or bad, and how long does it last? How does the wine feel on your palate: does it leave it dry?

Transfer all of your wine to your comparison glass, glass #2, then follow these steps again. While you are smelling and tasting, think about how the wine has changed from your first experience of it. Is it better or worse? Did you prefer it more from either glass?

Ultimately, you should ask yourself: if someone else had poured the wine without you seeing the bottle, would you believe it was the same wine? You can do this test again using a third differently shaped glass, or even a plastic cup! You'll be amazed by how much the wine changes each time.

How RIEDEL can improve your wine life

This simple test is designed to show you one thing: what you drink your wine out of will have an impact on your enjoyment. Luckily, our Grape Varietal Specific glasses have 50 years of research and development behind them, so they’ve been tested (and tested) to ensure they’ll deliver the best performance.

Our attitude is that you should never have to compromise on the things you love, and that's why we recommend you invest in the correct glass for your favorite wine variety. Our online shop allows you to filter via wine varieties: head over there to find the ideal product for you.

Host your own comparative wine party

This fun little exercise can become a wine game at your next dinner party:

You’ll need to have enough glasses so that each guest gets the same set of differently shaped glasses. Pour the wine for your guests but don’t tell them it’s the same. See if they can guess what the variety is, or if they think the wine is different from one glass to the next!

For the full experience, purchase a RIEDEL Tasting Set for each guest and use the mat provided within the box to host your own mini-RIEDEL Tasting. Make sure to use single-variety wines that match the glassware within your RIEDEL set, and always start your comparison using the correct varietal glass. You'll discover that the result will always be the same: you'll get the best representation of the wine in the right RIEDEL glass.

RIEDEL Wine Glass Guide

Explore our wine glass guide!

Our wine glass guide can be incredibly helpful when it comes to selecting the perfect glass for your favorite grape varietal. With so many different types of wine glasses available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your needs. However, by checking out an online wine glass guide, you can access a wealth of information that will help you make an informed decision. These guides often include details about the size and shape of different glasses, as well as information about how these factors can impact the taste and aroma of your wine. By using this information to choose the right glass, you can enhance your overall wine-drinking experience and truly savor the flavors of your favorite varietal.