Four Facts About Champagne Glasses

Champagne is more than just about a drink — it's an entire experience that's the last word in elegance, even if you've gone for one of the cheaper brands. This means that everything has to be correct, and that includes the glasses you use to drink it. So here are the answers to four questions you may have had about champagne glasses.

1. Why Are Champagne Glasses Shaped the Way They Are?

As we'll see, there are different types of champagne glasses, but there are certain requirements they all attempt to answer. Perhaps the most important is apparently the simplest — the fact that all champagne glasses have stems. This enables the drinker to hold the glass securely without warming it at all and thus spoiling the wine.

Most champagne glasses tend to be tall and narrow, with deep bases. This has the advantage of holding the bubbles in and making them circulate more steadily, whereas a rounded base creates more of a fizz. A broader glass, on the other hand, tends to lose bubbles but allows a better appreciation of the aroma.

Champagne Glasses | Two crystal champagne glasses next to each other.

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2. What Are the Three Types of Champagne Glass?

The most familiar type of champagne glass is the flute, which was first developed in the 18th century. This was originally a straight-sided conical glass with a stem, but modern flutes tend to become narrower near the top.

The coupe goes to the opposite extreme, with a broad, shallow bowl, although it has a similar stem to the flute. The coupe's big plus is allowing more of the aroma to reach the drinker.

The tulip combines these properties, with a tall, narrow shape like the flute, but a bulbous body and a more flared mouth. The idea of this is to combine the flute's regulation of the bubbles with the coupe's promotion of the aroma.

Champagne Glasses | Two crystal champagne glasses next to each other.

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3. When Did Champagne Glasses Change Shape?

Before the early 18th century, there were no glass designs specifically for champagne. The flute developed around this time, with straight sides, developing its narrower top early in the 20th century.

The coupe also dates back to the 18th century but began losing its popularity for champagne by the late 20th century, although it continues in use for cocktails. The tulip glass is a more recent innovation, though there are disagreements about exactly when it was introduced.

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4. How Do You Drink Champagne Elegantly?

You don't just toss back your glass of champagne. First of all, opening a bottle is an art — and forget about the way Formula One drivers do it. The secret is to ease the cork to a point where it will pop out without spilling or spraying any of the nectar inside.

Your champagne bottle, once opened, should always be placed in an ice bucket, if there's any risk of it lasting long enough to get warmer. There should be no ice in the glass, however, and (as already mentioned) you should hold the glass by the stem, to avoid warming the contents.

The best way of drinking champagne elegantly, though, is to use an elegant glass. Check out our selection of fine champagne glasses.