Sommelier Victoria James shares how to select the best wine glasses, whether you're a beginning wine drinker or a seasoned wine enthusiast.
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Victoria James sommelier
Credit: Courtesy of Lenox

Sommeliers do a lot of sipping. Who better to chime in on wine glasses than these oenophiles? That's why we turned to sommelier Victoria James, director of beverage at Cote restaurants and Cote Wine Club, and author of the memoir Wine Girl, for advice on how to select the best wine glasses. Read on for her surprising takeaway and three more top tips.

The Color of the Wine in Your Glass Doesn't Matter

"I think often people are misled by marketing to think they need a ton of different stems," she says. "The most important thing that shapes a wine is where it is from, so focus on this versus the style or grape." There are two wine region climates—warm and cold—to consider when purchasing glasses, because climate helps determine a wine's acidity, alcohol levels, ripeness, and fruitiness, James says. (James' Signature Series collection of climate-specific wine glasses was done in partnership with Lenox.)

Cool-climate wine regions include New Zealand, Oregon, Washington, New York, Hungary, Chile, Northern Italy, Austria, Germany, and Northern Greece. "Cool region stems have a smaller bowl and narrower opening to hone in on aromas that are often more delicate and nuanced in these regions," James says.

Glasses that are best suited for wines produced in warm-climates—California, Argentina, Australia, Southern Italy, the Greek Islands, Central and Southern Spain, Southern France, Central and Southern Portugal, and most of South Africa—have deep bowls to help the wine breathe.

Choose Glasses That Will Allow Swirling

Look for wine glasses that have bowls big enough to swirl and aerate, "but with a tapered opening so that the aromas don't just swirl right out of your glass and are lost," says James.

Pick Glasses with Thin Edges

A thicker lip edge is frequently found on cheaper wine glasses and James says that is something to avoid: "The thinness of the glass itself is important as a thin lip allows for maximum wine flow and helps coat your palate."

Avoid Colored Wine Glasses

You probably know that pros recommend avoiding colored glasses. "You want to be able to see your wine!" explains James. "Always opt for clear glass stems!"

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