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Should You Change Wine Glasses When Drinking a Different Wine?

Sometimes, you need to change wine glasses; sometimes, you don’t. It all depends on the type of wine you are drinking. The following are some practical guidelines that can help you decide whether you should change your wine glass or not when drinking different wines, so read on.

Red Wines and White Wines

In general, you don’t drink red wines and white wines using the same wine glass. Therefore, if you are drinking both, use a different wine glass for each wine type.

Same Wine or Same Varietal

You can stick with the same glass if you are drinking the same wine (different bottle) or two different wines of the same varietal. However, I do recommend that you start with the lighter-bodied wine before proceeding to the heavier-bodied wine. If you reverse this order, the heavy-bodied wine will leave residues that may affect your enjoyment of the lighter-bodied wine.

Wine Tasting

If you are evaluating a wine, you should always use a clean wine glass. As a professional wine taster, I always use a clean glass when evaluating wines. I do this even when tasting two red wines one after another. I apply the same rule when tasting all other wine types.

I have a good reason for doing this. Wines leave their aromas in a wine glass; even after all the wine is gone, the aromas remain.

At wine tastings, I change my wine glass as often as possible. In most wine tastings, however, you will be given only one wine glass and you will have to make do with it. When changing glasses is just not possible, I rinse my glass with bottled water whenever necessary. The fuller the wines’ body, the more often I rinse my glass.

When You Don’t Change Your Wine Glass

Last month, I attended a wine tasting in Europe and I encountered a first. I was poured a new wine into a glass I had already been using. When I sniffed the new wine, it smelled faulty. I could detect the distinct smell of onion! It’s not really a scent you get too often, and it’s not one you’re bound to miss. Interestingly, I was the only one who could smell it. So I passed my glass to the others; they confirmed my judgment and we started investigating.

Do you know what we found out?  The smell of onion was the result of the reaction between the new wine and the wine I had been drinking previously. The new wine would have never developed the faulty aroma if I were using a fresh wine glass.

Until that experience, I had never truly experienced first-hand how wine could be tainted by residues left in a glass. In fact, none of us at that wine tasting event ever had. It really brought home the fact that, if at all possible, one should change wine glasses when drinking a different wine.

Changing wine glasses is especially important if you are a wine aficionado or are drinking premium wines that you don’t really want to taint with another wine’s aroma. If it’s all the same to you then, by all means, you can drink different wines using the same glass.