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Types of Formal Dinner Glasses

by Ann Hudson, studioD

Formal dinner glasses look elegant in a china cabinet and add grace to a formally set table. Each place setting at a formal dinner party can include up to five different types of glasses. Coordinating the proper dinner glass with the correct beverage does not need to be a challenge. From regal champagne flutes to delicate wine glasses, this beautiful stemware always bring a touch of style.

Water and All-Purpose Glasses

Water glasses are placed to the left of all other dinner glasses.

In a formal table setting, place the water or all-purpose glass just above the knife with other dinner glasses placed to the right. Water and all-purpose glasses are often similar in appearance to wine glasses. Since this glass holds more liquid than other types of dinner glasses, it will usually have a shorter stem and a deeper bowl than a wine glass. Tumbler-style water glasses are also appropriate. Use these glasses to offer guests ice water or a choice of a non-alcoholic beverage.

Champagne Flutes

Champage flutes are tall and slender.

Slim and elegant, champagne flutes have a short stem and a long, almost test tube-like bowl. Delicate in appearance, champagne flutes are about the same height as a wine glass but are narrower and more slender. A tulip champagne flute, as its name indicates, features a tulip shape with a short stem, a narrowing near the bottom of the bowl and a more rounded appearance at the top. The distinctive narrow shape of the flute helps champagne keep its famous bubbly quality by decreasing the surface area at the top of the glass.

Wine Glasses

Long-stemmed wine glasses are both lovely and functional.

With their long, delicate stems and rounded, almost oval bowls, wine glasses add beauty and sophistication to any formal dinner table. The elongated stem on a wine glass allow guests to sip the wine without grasping the bowl and changing the temperature of the wine. White wine glasses have longer stems and smaller bowls while red wine glasses have slightly shorter stems and deeper, fuller bowls. A red burgundy wine glass has a larger, slightly wider bowl.

Other Special Purpose Glasses

Martini glasses are wider and more shallow than wine glasses.

A variety of special purpose glasses can be used at formal dinner parties including martini glasses, port wine glasses or sherry copita glasses. A martini glass features a long, sometimes curved stem and a wide, almost triangular-shaped bowl. Dainty and petite port wine glasses are similar in appearance to regular wine glasses, only in miniature. Narrowly tapered, the even smaller sherry copita glass has a shorter stem and more slender shape that augments the aroma of the sherry.

About the Author

Ann Hudson is a freelance writer who began her writing career working for a small community newspaper. While there, her work as a feature writer and a weekly columnist were honored. Hudson holds a bachelor's degree in journalism. She has been writing for more than 30 years.

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