For many wine connoisseurs, having the appropriate glass for a particular type of wine is vital. There are seemingly endless shapes and sizes to choose from, but white wine glasses usually all share a few characteristics. White wine glasses are usually slightly taller and smaller at the base than red wine glasses. Also, the top of a glass may be narrower for sweeter and more delicate white wines and wider for those that are more mature with bolder flavors. Sometimes the stem of a white wine glass is longer to help keep it at a cooler temperature, although some glasses have no stem. Usually, the best-quality glasses are thin, which allows proper visual evaluation and tasting.
Almost all wine glasses are narrower at the top of the bowl and wider at the bottom, which helps to direct the wine's scent toward a person's mouth and nose. A wine with brighter and sweeter flavors can be served in a glass with a narrower top, which directs the wine to the tip and sides of the tongue. A glass with a longer and more upright shape can be used for fuller-bodied whites with bolder flavors. This shape disperses the wine to the back of the tongue. A white wine glass usually has a narrower bowl than a red wine glass, but it still should be wide enough to swirl the wine and observe its legs and other visual characteristics.
White wine glasses often have a long stem so that the wine isn't warmed by contact with a person's hand. Holding a glass by the stem also prevents smudging the bowl, which can detract from visual inspection of the wine. For some people, a longer-stemmed wine glass is also more visually appealing than one with a shorter stem. Stemless wine glasses are also available that have a more casual appearance and are less fragile than long-stemmed glasses.
For those who are casual wine drinkers, a good-quality thin glass is usually sufficient, although more serious connoisseurs may prefer crystal. A white wine glass should have a thinner rim so the wine can be properly sipped. As white wine glasses can vary greatly in price, it's best to choose the best-quality material that is still affordable for an individual budget.