Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Is it true that wine should be poured to the widest point of the bowl of a wineglass?
—Lawrence, Bay City, Mich.
There’s definitely some truth to this. I can’t say it applies to every wineglass, but many wineglasses, especially fancier ones, are designed with the bowl's widest point somewhere between one-third and one-half the height of the bowl. The widest point of the glass will be where the wine has the greatest amount of surface area, which allows the wine the most exposure to oxygen (something wine lovers refer to as "letting the wine breathe," or simply "aeration"), which is of course essential to releasing all of wine's wonderful aromatics.
Swirling the wine in your glass will also help release those aromas, and that's a lot easier to do without spilling when the glass is less than half full. For me, the sweet spot is about one-third full, no matter the wineglass design, so my paws can get a good grip on the stem and give the wine a hearty swirl.
Some glasses taper in at the top, which can help concentrate the aromas for when you put your nose in the glass. It doesn’t apply to every glass of wine, but for those trying to find the sweet spot for that perfect 5-ounce pour, the widest part of the glass can often get you there.