Choosing wine glasses, also called stemware is easy with a little knowledge. The shape, size and color of a wine glass can dramatically affect your perception of the wine that’s contained in it.

Wine’s appeal is not just in its taste and smell, but also in its visual aspect. The way light plays on the wine, the “legs” on the inside of the glass when you swirl the wine, and the way aromas are captured within the glass—and presented to your nose while drinking—are things to consider when choosing wine glasses.

Wine glasses with larger, broader bowls are traditionally used for the big red wines, and narrower wine glasses are used to concentrate the more delicate bouquet of lighter white wines.

Champagne is best served in a tall slender flute. Visual enjoyment of the bead (bubbles) is enhanced by the height. The once popular shorter version of the Champagne glass doesn’t present the bead to best advantage or concentrate the aromas.

If your budget or available space limits you to one size of wine glass look for an all-purpose design that holds eight ounces. When budget and space permit, it is hard to go past Riedel Crystal stemware for full tasting pleasure. Riedel have created over 20 different wine glasses, each designed to bring out the best in a particular type of wine.

Do not feel intimidated by the range of stemware available … remember it is better to drink wine from a paper cup than not to drink wine at all!

And, finally, when pouring wine do not fill the glass too full—one third to one half full at the most. Leave room to capture the bouquet and evaluate and enjoy the color of the wine.