ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

What's with the seemingly new idea of drinking Champagne in a standard wineglass versus the flute? I've been seeing and hearing more and more about this. Are we looking at another screw top versus cork type debate on this?

—Don S., Naperville, Ill.

Dear Don,

It’s acceptable—and preferred by some—to serve sparkling wines in a regular white-wine glass. I think that how many and what types of wineglasses you invest in depends a lot on how much and what kinds of wine you drink. There are some really good all-purpose wineglasses that I use daily, then I have specialty red ones that are bigger that I bring out when I have company, and since I drink a lot of bubbly, I also have Champagne flutes. I don’t have many, so sometimes at a dinner party I’ll serve bubbly in a regular wineglass.

I like flutes because they feel festive to me. I believe the narrow opening helps prevent the bubbles from escaping too rapidly, and it’s fun to watch the bubbles rise through the chimney to the surface. The bad thing about a flute is that it’s difficult to stick your nose in the glass to take in the wine’s aromatics. (And some of the best sparkling wines really deserve to have their aromatics enjoyed.) If you’re looking for a new set of glasses, keep an eye out for tulip-shaped bubbly glasses that are like a hybrid between a small wineglass and a flute.

—Dr. Vinny


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