Pairing the correct wine glass with the correct wine is actually somewhat complicated. In general, the type of glass, length of stem and shape of the bowl all contribute to how the wine tastes. In almost all cases the wine glass is designed for you to hold at the stem, which prevents your fingers from heating the wine. Fingerprints on the bowl of a wineglass are typically a sign of someone who doesn't know his wine.
White Wine Glasses
Chardonnay glasses are 5 to 7 oz. with a wide bowl featuring a slightly tapered top. The design of the glass aims to keep the wine cool. You should serve glass at the same temperature as the wine. Savignon Blanc glasses are slightly smaller in the bowl size at 5 to 6 oz. The bowl is more narrow and the stem is longer to aid in the enjoyment of the wine's aroma. The Reisling glass is 6 to 7 oz. with a narrow and tall bowl and long stem. This glass is typically chilled.
Red Wine Glasses
Pinot Noir glasses have large bowls at 35 oz. The bowl may tilt out at the rim to speed delivery of the wine to the palette, and the stem is often shorter. Merlot glasses are 30 oz. and somewhat narrower with a longer stem. The rim may taper slightly but this is a swirl wine and the base is often larger. Shiraz wine glasses are smaller at 20 oz. and taper strongly to the inside. Port glasses are very narrow at 8 to 9 oz. and designed to release the aroma of the wine.
Dessert and Ice Wines
Dessert and ice wines often have specialized glassware that tapers up from the stem before widening into a bowl. The size of the glass is from 11 to 13 oz. and it is designed for swirling to activate the wine. The shape and contour balance the wine to air ratio to produce the best finish on the wine.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine Glasses
Champagne glasses are called flutes. This type of glass works with the production of the wine's famous bubbles. Flutes are narrow and tall and only hold 6 to 8 oz. of wine. When you pour the wine, the bubbles rise to froth at the rim of the glass so that the excitement of the froth bursts on the lips and tongue the instant you taste the wine.
F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.