Tip 3: Do I have enough glassware and what glassware do I need?
Glassware is easy isn’t it? It is just something that you drink out of, right? Well yes, and no. Firstly, it depends if you are having the function in the office or in a different venue. You might expect that the venue will supply appropriate glassware, but I have been to a professionally organised tasting where they supplied glasses that might have been appropriate for a 1980’s rustic Italian restaurant but were totally inappropriate for the tasting session. And this was a very famous Sydney hotel! It is worth checking what they have – particularly if you require Champagne flutes.
What glasses to use.
Essentially unless you are serving Sparkling wine, Port or Brandy, don’t stress about which style of wine glass you serve wine in. While size is not really important, small glasses holding less than 125 ml are probably a bit small. However, some glasses sold today will nearly fit a bottle it if you poured it to the top! Of course, you only pour very little into these massive glasses. You will also need to consider the practicalities of having these oversized glasses – who is cleaning them and how, but more seriously, you have to think about how much people will drink as well. People tend to drink more from the large glasses, meaning they will have issues with getting home and sometimes their behaviour. When you are serving any alcohol you do need to take the Responsible Service of Alcohol guidelines into account.
It also depends on where you have your function: a restaurant or function centre will have glasses – just check what they have available for the occasion particularly if you are having a toast with Sparkling wine and there are 500 of you!
Here are the basic things to consider when checking your glassware requirements.
- Sparkling wine / Champagne - Champagne flutes are an absolute must have, Champagne saucers should only be offered if you are doing cocktails. As well as keeping the bubbles in the glass longer, they also have the added benefit of being less likely to slosh over the side if you are jostled in a crowd. Serving Sparkling in a normal wine glass also means the wine will lose it’s fizz quickly. It really is best to go with a flute.
- White wine – White wine is usually served in a smaller wine glass than a red wine primarily because it is made to be served chilled and because red wine needs more contact with the air to achieve it’s full potential of flavours and aromas. If you pour white wine into a large glass, it will be warm by the last sip and most people do not enjoy the flavours and structure of a warm white wine. The typical shape of a white wine glass is the classic tulip shape. Obviously, you can use smaller sized glasses for both red and white.
- Red wine - There are two basic shapes – a tulip shape and more of a ‘goblet’ shape which is great for Pinot Noir or Burgundy or other more fragrant red wines. The large goblet shape can be harder to balance on a stand up occasion too. I recommend that you stick to the tulip shape for general purpose. In a formal dinner situation, the restaurant or function centre would probably have the goblet shape if you are serving a Pinot, particularly if they follow the Riedel glassware guide.
- Port, liqueur wines, dessert wines – These wines are served in small portions due to either sweetness or alcohol content or both in the case of Australian liqueur Muscats. Therefore they do need a smaller sized glass. As a guide it would be a glass smaller than a white wine glass.
On the occasion that you do need to organise extra glasses, check with the store where you buy your wine. Some of the major liquor chains do offer glass hire services for varying fees – you should always try to negotiate! At the time of writing the following chains do offer hire services for events:
- Vintage Cellars
- 1st Choice Liquor.