Champenois ditching flutes for wine glasses

Champagne houses are moving away from using traditional flutes for their fizz in favour of white wine glasses, according to glassware manufacturer Georg Riedel.

“The Champenois are starting to serve their sparklers in white wine glasses as the larger surface areas give more aromas, complexity and a creamier texture,” Riedel told the drinks business.

“Flutes are too narrow and don’t allow the aroma and richness of the Champagne to shine as there isn’t enough air space,” Riedel added, revealing that flutes are often mistakenly filled to the top, leaving the wine no room to breathe.

“Ideally, a flute should only be half full, or, better still, a third full in order to release a Champagne’s aromatic potential,” he said.

In response to demand, Riedel has started making bespoke glasses for several Champagne houses and has developed a new sparkling wine glass more akin to a white wine glass.

“Our new glasses (pictured) don’t look anything like a traditional flute. They’re much bigger and rounder,” Riedel told db.

In contrast, as reported by db in mid-December, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, speaking at a Master of Wine event in London, stressed the need for Champagne to retain the flute to differentiate the sparkling product from still wine.

“Champagne is not only a wine but a symbol of love and generosity and if we forget that we are dead,” he stated.

Continuing, he referred to a battle with “marketers” who, he said, “want us to drink Champagne in a wine glass.”

“But we have a specific glass… and Champagne is not a wine but a great symbol,” he explained

Meanwhile, Georg Riedel said that he has his sights firmly set on China, where he is keen to grow the Riedel brand.

“China is a new market for us and our hopes are high for it. We’ve been established in Hong Kong for a while, but it’s time to move our marketing subsidiary to the mainland.

“We want to get into the top hotels and restaurants in China, and start branching out into department stores,” he said.

Riedel is confident that the Chinese will embrace the idea of buying different glasses for different wines.

“Contrary to what has been said, the Asian palate doesn’t differ from the Western palate. Wine is new to them, but they understand it.

“You start life as a milk drinker, then you evolve. An understanding of the complexities of wine comes with a certain age. It’s a celebration, and people love to toast in Asia,” he said.

9 Responses to “Champenois ditching flutes for wine glasses”

  1. Interesting article and thanks for sharing the news. In addition, I attended last year a thought-provoking masterclass and tasting with Georg Riedel at Hush Heath Estate in Kent where we tasted 2 English sparkling wines out of 16 Riedel glasses. The result – we came up with (by process of elimination) and purely on taste and sensory qualities a bespoke glass for Balfour Sparkling Rose and Chapel Down Brut.
    Moreover, a few years ago whilst I was wine buyer and head sommelier at Orrery Restaurant, I hosted many wine tastings and winemaker dinners. Three of which spring to mind – Henriot, Jacquesson and Philipponnat Champagne houses. We decanted the wines and served them in wine glasses NOT flutes.

  2. Asgar says:

    I like the article and agree that a wider area would help with the aromas however champagne for me is about something special and having a wine poured in to champagne glass makes it special. We at do a lot of wine tasting and we try to use the right glassware and I would use the champagne flute for sparking wine even though I agree with points in the article.

  3. Qin Xie says:

    Surely champagne tastings were always done in glasses and not flutes?

  4. I have been serving Champagne in large (16+ ounce) glasses for 20 years. I save my flutes for guests. They would not understand why a wine columnist/university wine educator would not have flutes.

  5. Stephen Jarrett says:

    The points made in this article are very interesting but the glass featured is not new at all. it is the Riedel Overture Champagne glass designed in 1997. Perhaps we could see the new glass.

  6. Ww says:

    This news means I have a response to those saying I’m unsophisticated serving bubbly in a Sauvignon Blanc glass!

  7. The Sediment Blog says:

    Whatever you choose, eschew the wretched little Paris goblet, favourite of the hired caterer and the student party, that hideous little tennis ball of a glass condemned by George Reidel himself as “the enemy of wine”. A glass too thick and too small to enhance the flavour, too shallow and open to enhance the bouquet, and too mimsy to suggest generosity.

  8. janet hicks says:

    Mister Riedel, the current Champagne glass which you have for sale: the stocky one with the hollow, ridged base, which naturally warms the champagne when you hold theglass, must be not right then? a mistake? something which must be quickly replaced with a better idea? Who would be foolish enough to buy that thing. Better get on with the house extension to cope with the glass for every drink then, hadn’t I, instead of being sceptical about champagne glasses.

  9. Wine Glasses says:

    For me, you still enjoy wine experience using a clear or white wine glass because you also see the full texture and color of the wine that looks delicious and nice. But in parties and events, people will usually used engraved and personalized wine glasses.

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