Clearly Inspired BLOG

The Shape of Flavor

Wine Tasting: Glasses that Let the Flavor of Wine Shine

If you’re looking for a fun, easy activity for your next gathering with friends and wine, we’ve got a good one for you. How about a new simple wine tasting with glasses that really emphasize the flavor of the wine rather than rely on your knowledge about wine?

Most of us have had the chance to do a traditional wine tasting, comparing various different wines. But for many people, those can feel a bit intimidating. What do you look for? How do you describe it? Can you discern differences across vintages, regions, and varietals? What’s the deal with all of the swirling, tipping, swishing, and spitting?

The truth is that if you’re not in the business of growing, selling, reviewing, or rating wine, it all comes down to one simple question. “Does it taste good to you?” Whether you’re pairing it with food or sipping it on its own, the bottom line is that in a wine tasting, it should always be Flavor First®.

Finding the Perfect Wine Tasting Glasses

In a flavor-first wine tasting, you only need one wine, but you’ll use multiple glasses. But not just any glasses. The shape of the wine glass is a major component of emphasizing the flavor and experience of the wine. Determining those shapes is more complex than you might imagine.

It took extensive wine tasting and experimentation over two years for wine expert Karen MacNeil – speaker, consultant and author of The Wine Bible and her team to determine the best set of shapes to accentuate most of the world’s wines. They focused on flavor profile and the shape of the glass, regardless of color, varietal, or any other characteristic of the wine itself.

The team had a number of criteria for developing a set of affordable, accessible, elegant wine glasses that put Flavor First®. The glasses should:

  1. All be the same height.

  2. Not include a “small white wine glass” because if you’re focused on flavor, red or white is not the primary distinction.

  3. Have a thin rim and a stem that’s fine but not too fragile.

  4.  Accommodate swirling and a full glass without becoming top-heavy, in addition to having a wide foot.

  5. Be comfortable & durable enough to use as your favorite go-to glassware, not saved for special occasions.

The result is what you now know as our Karen MacNeil FLAVOR FIRST® Wine Glasses. It includes three distinctive shapes:

  1. CRISP & FRESHTM for crisp and fresh wines like Sparkling Wines, Rosés, Pinot Grigios, and Rieslings.

  2. CREAMY & SILKYTM for creamy and silky wines like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

  3. BOLD & POWERFULTM for bold and powerful wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Using this particular collection of shapes for your wine tasting lets you focus on one wine at a time to experience how much of a flavor difference the shape of the glasses makes. That’s why we call it a “wine glass tasting”.


If you really want to experience how much the flavor of your favorite wine can shine, follow these four simple steps in your next wine tasting:

  1. Line up your three FLAVOR FIRST® Wine Glasses from left to right in this order:



  5. Open the bottle of wine and pour about three ounces of wine into each glass.
  6. Give each glass of wine a good swirl to release the aromas.
  7. Smell and taste the wine in each glass. Think about how the aroma and flavor of the wine change. Discuss which glass makes the wine taste best to you.

Because everyone’s palate is a bit different, there’s no absolute right answer. Download this two-page instruction sheet to see more notes about what kinds of wine we found work best in which wine glass shape.

“Our Flavor First® Collection is the next step forward in wine glass evolution. It’s based on the simplest realization of all— that flavor is what matters most. You know the kinds of wine flavors you like. We know how to design wine glasses based on flavor. The result is our Flavor First® Collection— the first wine glasses that make finding the optimal wine glass easy. We think choosing the right wine glasses should be as simple as drinking the wine itself. Cheers!”

– Karen MacNeil, Best-Selling Author of The Wine Bible

For more information, visit our FLAVOR FIRST® Wine Glasses web page. You can also subscribe to Karen MacNeil’s newsletter, WineSpeed and follow her @karenmacneilco.


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