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What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Small Wine Glasses?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 17, 2024
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One pro of using small wine glasses is that people may consume less alcohol since they may assess the amount they drink by the glassful rather than in ounces or milliliters. The reduced amount of room the glassware may occupy on a dining table or in a picnic basket is another pro. A con is that smaller glasses are more difficult to clean, especially those that aren't dishwasher safe. Another con of using small wine glasses may be that they won't look as impressive as larger ones on an elegantly set dinner table or in a display cabinet. Cons for the host can be having to refill guests' small wine glasses much more frequently as well as not always have the right glass to suit wines guests may bring.

Red wines are typically served in larger, rounder wine glasses, so if the host only has smaller ones this can be a con. Yet, smaller glasses that have a round body, or bowl, may be ideal for serving red wine, as this feature is said to allow for the proper amount of air to reach the beverage for a smoother taste. Small wine glasses are often used for white and dessert wines though so in that case it can be a pro. The smaller top, or mouth, is said to help keep white wines clean and crisp.

Refilling a smaller wine glass more often may be a con, especially if the host must leave the table to reach the bottle. In a dining room cabinet, large wine glasses may make more of a style statement by being easier to see in candlelight or dimmed light. The look of small wine glasses compared to that of large ones on a beautifully set dining table may also be considered a con. For small fancy wine glasses that can't be placed in a dishwasher a con may be that they are difficult to clean — especially at the bottom of the bowl.

A major pro of a small wine glass style is that it's compact and takes up less room. When packing a romantic picnic lunch for two, small wine glasses can be much easier to fit into a basket than large or tall styles. Compact wine glasses also leave more space on a crowded dining table and may be more difficult than taller and wider styles for quests to accidentally knock over. For health reasons, drinking out of smaller wine glasses may be better, as people may consume less alcohol. Yet, using a small wine glass could be a con for people who may consume several refills to overcompensate for the size of the glassware.

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Discussion Comments
By Sporkasia — On Oct 15, 2014

This article makes several good points about wine and the way to serve the drink. For me, when talking about wine there is much more to appreciate than simply the taste. In my house, the presentation of the bottle and the drink were probably more important than the drinking of the wine.

My grandfather spent time in France where he had a friend who grew grapes and made wine. He always said that cheap wine glasses could ruin a potentially good wine as quickly as could too much or too little water on the grapes during the growing season.

By Drentel — On Oct 14, 2014

I have a nephew who gets on my last nerve sometimes when he talks about wine. He has been to Italy several times and he thinks this automatically makes him some kind of wine expert or something. Whenever he comes to my house he brings his own wine glasses. He says mine are not appropriate for drinking red wine.

All of this time I thought he was just being a pain in the neck and a know-it-all, but after reading this article I see that maybe there is something to what he says about the size of the red-wine glass and the taste of the wine. I had no idea this was a real thing that needed to be taken into consideration with wines.

By Animandel — On Oct 13, 2014

As far as that first sentence of this article where it talks about the smaller wine glasses set being a benefit because people will drink less when these glasses are used, this is a good way to curb alcohol consumption with most people I guess. However, when my friends and I get together for a girls' night, we measure our consumption by the bottle, not the glass. I'm only kidding, mostly anyway.

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