The Best Champagne Glass

From wine educators to James Beard Award winners, everyone agrees: The best thing to drink Champagne out of is a wine glass. But there’s a lot of fine print to that statement, and if you don’t traditionally spend $40 or more on a bottle of Champagne to drink at home, a flute will still do the job nicely. Plus, it has an elegant look that differs from a wine glass, and that’s often what drinking Champagne is all about. At this point, we’ve considered more than 80 glasses in varying shapes and sizes and have put 10 different styles through a total of 12 hours of testing. The Riedel Vinum Cuvee Prestige is our top choice for most people. Its tulip shape, formed of elegant leaded crystal, preserved bubbles best in our tests.

Last Updated: December 14, 2015
Our top picks, the Riedel Vinum Cuvee Prestige and the Crate and Barrel Silhouette, remain the same. Both have an ideal tulip shape that stays balanced and is comfortable to hold. In addition, we’re including a new budget pick, the Crate and Barrel Viv, for anyone who wants an affordable option with a classic flute shape for holiday entertaining.
Expand Most Recent Updates
December 7, 2015: After doing more research in 2015, we our keeping our top picks, the Riedel Vinum Cuvee Prestige and the Crate and Barrel Silhouette. Both have an ideal tulip shape that stays balanced and is comfortable to hold. In addition, we’re including a new budget pick, the Crate and Barrel Viv, for anyone who wants an affordable option with a classic flute shape for holiday entertaining. Look for our fully updated guide in early January. For more detail about the Viv now, see our Great Gear for Hosting Parties guide.
February 10, 2015: We've moved the Riedel Vinum Cuvee Prestige from runner-up to main pick. Our two previous picks, made by Schott Zwiesel, kept going out of stock. The beautiful and available Cuvee Prestige is a solid pick that we've used and enjoyed over the last year. It's the highest quality glass you can get for $25.
February 3, 2015:

We're upgrading our runner-up pick to the top spot because our two previous favorites from Schott Zwiesel seem to be constantly going out of stock. The Riedel Vinum Cuvee Prestige glass will be our new pick. It's made with leaded crystal with a tulip shape that preserved carbonation best in our tests.

December 19, 2014: We considered 80 Champagne glasses before testing 10 glasses for 12 hours, and we found that the Schott Zwiesel 1872 Enoteca is best for most people. It’s taller, lighter, and thinner than any glass we tried, with tiny etching to keep Champagne carbonated longer. The tulip shape allows more aromas to reach your nose while still maintaining an elegant profile.
August 11, 2014: We've continued to test the Schott Zwiesel Vinao in the six months since we settled on it as our favorite glass. We're still very happy with it, and have found ourselves using it for more than just bubbly: see Long-Term Test Notes for details.
May 15, 2014: Updated with animated gifs so you can better see the bubble movement in each glass we tested.
Riedel Vinum Cuvee Prestige
This glass is made of high-quality, sparkling leaded crystal to showcase your favorite bubbly.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $55.

The most important consideration when choosing a Champagne flute is whether or not it makes you feel good when you hold it. Riedel’s Cuvee Prestige strikes an elegant profile while still being comfortable to drink from. The tulip shape also walks the line between that of a tall flute and the more useful (aromatically speaking) bowl of a traditional wine glass. A tiny, imperceptible etching at the bottom keeps your wine carbonated for as long as possible.

Also Great
Crate and Barrel Silhouette
Less fancy than our favorite pick and made of soda-lime glass, the Silhouette has the elegant tulip shape that captures aromas and won’t hit your nose.

The Crate and Barrel Silhouette Champagne Flute lacks the refinement of our top choice, but the tall, balanced glass has the same covetable shape as some of our favorite glasses, for a lot less cash. The Silhouette is made of regular soda-lime glass, so it’s a little more prone to shattering than our pick. There are also no effervescence etchings on the inside. However, for an inexpensive basic meant to round out your collection, the Silhouette is a good option.

Also Great
Crate and Barrel Viv
Perfect for parties, this glass won't break the bank. The Viv is tall, fun to hold, and made of thinner glass than similarly priced restaurant-grade options.

When your friends descend for a celebration, whether the glass “does something” for your bubbly misses the point—flutes are fun. At less than $5 each, the Viv makes a gathering festive without costing a fortune. They’re not crystal, and they have a more classic, long flute shape that might hit your nose when you sip. However, they’re more elegant than other restaurant-grade options (typically that’s all that’s available in this price range), and they look beautiful.

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Why you should trust us

My first restaurant book, Bixology: Cocktails, Culture, and a Guide to the Good Life, was published in 2009. I worked full time as a wine-tasting room associate for three years before switching to stomping grapes and cleaning barrels in the cellar. I have sommelier training from the Culinary Institute at Greystone in Napa, California, and on occasion I still pour wine in Sonoma County, where I live.

And we consulted the expertise of the best. Belinda Chang is a James Beard Award–winning sommelier, former Champagne educator for Moët Hennessy, and currently the wine director at Chicago’s Maple & Ash. David Speer is the owner of Ambonnay in Portland, Oregon, and one of Food & Wine’s 2013 Sommeliers of the Year. And Philippe Gouze is the general manager of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the world-renowned farm-to-table restaurant outside New York City owned by James Beard Award-winning chef Dan Barber.

Should I get this?

If you regularly spend more than $40 on a bottle of Champagne to drink at home, or more than $25 for sparkling wine like Prosecco, then consider drinking out of a wine glass. It will let the aromatics open and develop (see the section on what the experts say below). Check out our full guide to wine glasses for recommendations that will be great for wine and Champagne.

But if your goal is to make an occasion in your home feel special, then a flute is a must! They do have a purpose above and beyond aesthetics—flutes are designed to make sure your wine doesn’t go flat. But since flutes don’t enhance aromas, they’re mostly about creating a memorable drinking experience. There are also certain Champagne cocktails, like the French 75, that are traditionally served in a flute, so they can be a nice addition to a growing collection of barware, too.

champagne glasses

Flutes excel at keeping your bubbly bubbly. Photo: Eve O’Neill

How we picked and tested

The best flute for you is the one that makes you feel like a rock star when you hold it. But there are other details that really make a glass stand out.

Perfect ergonomics for anteaters, but not for humans.
To begin with, a tall and narrow flute is an impractical shape for something intended to hold liquid—they quickly become top-heavy and accident-prone. But a good Champagne glass will overcome those limitations. It will be able to hold a decent amount of liquid, at least 5 ounces, without feeling unwieldy when you pick it up. And the rim won’t get in the way of your face or hit your nose when you drink, which happened with 99 percent of the glasses I tried. I physically couldn’t drink out of them without really throwing it back, and that’s not the ideal way to enjoy Champagne. Perfect ergonomics for anteaters, but not for humans.

champagne glasses

Wirecutter editor Tim Barribeau demonstrating the frustrating flute-hitting-nose phenomenon. Photo: Lilly Bellman

It should also do what it’s intended to do, which is preserve bubbles. This is accomplished most effectively by glasses that have effervescence points or vanishing point bowls. An effervescence point is a tiny etching, often invisible to the naked eye, inside the glass. It gives the Champagne bubbles a dedicated place to latch onto and release from in a slow, steady stream. A vanishing point bowl is a glass that tapers to a very fine point at the bottom, and one of these can also create this effect. But this kind of glass is a pain to maintain, gathering gunk in a tiny space you really have to work to clean out. I dismissed it from consideration.

Through the course of use, I discovered that one of the most important qualities of a good Champagne glass is weight. Heavy glassware is for dark spirits and deep thoughts—Champagne demands something carefree, like the character of the drink itself, and if you’re carrying it around and holding it and refilling it all night, a light glass makes a difference.

They should also be made of the thinnest glass you can find. We spoke to Philippe Gouze, who is the general manager of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the world-renowned farm-to-table restaurant outside New York City owned by James Beard Award-winning chef Dan Barber. They work with glassware designer Deborah Ehrlich to create custom glass pieces for their tabletops. Gouze told us, “The thinner the glass the better the experience is, especially with Champagne because it’s such an effervescent drink, so precious, so beautiful. What I absolutely recommend for the home collection, if you’re gonna buy something, buy the thinnest crystal you can find.” So we paid attention to the thickness of the glass.

If you spend more than $40 on a glass, what you’re getting is a brand name or a specific design. Since at its heart a Champagne flute is meant to make you feel special (as opposed to being a performance piece of glassware), there is an argument to be made for spending money on a brand that you identify with. So if you love Lalique and want to spend the money, do it. But higher-priced flutes have imperceptible advantages over anything in the $20 to $50 range. Everyone who drinks Champagne for a living is putting it in a wine glass anyway.

If you spend less than about $25 per glass, the quality plummets dramatically. Often the product is made of pure glass (instead of some sort of fortified glass or crystal) and it shows. The flute is heavier, not as thin, and often clunkier. In a worst-case scenario, it can be a bit misshapen and the stem can be crooked. Though these imperfections may seem small, once you notice them, you can’t unsee them! And you’ll be left wishing you went with a higher-quality product.

There’s very little existing editorial on what makes one flute better than another. This New York Times piece touches on a few that were tested by a panel of sommeliers, but it’s hardly definitive and not very current. The preferred collections in the article (that don’t cost $85-plus each) include Riedel Ouverture, Riedel Vinum, Schott Zwiesel, and Pottery Barn.

A lot of the things that make a great flute, like quality of craftsmanship and type of glass, can be discovered by taking a cue from our wine glass guide. And the same brands that dominate the wine glass industry dominate in Champagne stemware as well. The heavy hitters are Riedel and Schott Zwiesel. I looked into products from Waterford, Mikasa, Rogaska, Lenox, and Kate Spade—well-known lifestyle brands you can find in a department store. The really high-end brands such as Baccarat and Lalique were not considered, as they generally start at $100 per glass.

In this Chowhound thread people get very specific about what they love about their glasses. In general, they want clear glass, good craftsmanship (no bulges, no bubbles, no crookedness), and a stem (to keep your hand off the bowl).

I ended up with nine glasses that I wanted to test. Glassware in person never looks like it does in pictures, so I checked to see how tall they were, what shape the bowls were, and how well they handled liquid. We also wanted to know if there was one particular shape of glass that excelled at preserving carbonation better than another shape. To test this, we topped up all of our choices with bubbly and tossed in a few Mentos. After observing how much fizz each glass produced, we got a little perspective on how well each could potentially keep your drink carbonated. Tulip-shaped bowls were the big winner, in both practicality of use and bubble preservation.

Our pick

Riedel Vinum Cuvee Prestige
This glass is made of high-quality, sparkling leaded crystal to showcase your favorite bubbly.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $55.

The Riedel Vinum Cuvee Prestige outsparkles the competition in two ways—fine, thin leaded crystal gives the glass extra radiance, while the Cuvee Prestige’s design preserves carbonation better than any other glass we tested. Considering the quality craftsmanship and materials, this flute is a bargain at $25 per glass.

The Cuvee Prestige has the ideal tulip shape, meaning it has a slightly fatter middle section and curves inward slightly at the top. Tulip-shaped bowls, as well as round bowls, were the two silhouettes that distinctly kept bubbles marching along in slow, steady streams in our tests. The shape can also hold liquid without getting top-heavy.

The Cuvee Prestige also has one nucleation etching on the inside of the glass to help direct fizz. Bubbles are formed in Champagne when the carbon dissolved in the beverage latches onto a particle, forms a pocket, and then floats upward. Some Champagne glasses are laser engraved with nucleation sites or effervescence points, which are tiny etchings that allow bubbles to form and release upward in a continuous stream. By giving the gas just a single, targeted place to escape, carbonation stays trapped in the drink longer. Just imagine how long it would take an entire subway car full of people to unload if there were only one exit, as opposed to several.

With Riedel’s leaded crystal, the lip is very thin, the bowl is evenly blown, and the transition to the stem is flawless. The Cuvee Prestige holds about 8 ounces, which is perfect, because that means a big 5-ounce pour of Champagne won’t reach to the brim, keeping the center of gravity in the glass low and less prone to toppling. It is just shy of 9 inches tall, and while flutes taller than this can be nice, I’ve noticed major problems with top-heaviness as soon as the glass goes above that mark. Longer stems can look precarious when they support heavy bowls.

Price is significant, too—after looking at almost 100 glasses, I found only about five glasses in this shape that were less than $100 per. Half of those are discontinued. At just $25 each, the Cuvee Prestige’s quality is an absolute steal. I have found nothing cheaper made with leaded crystal this flawless, and nothing more expensive that has any additional features to offer. There are lighter glasses, and that can be very nice—our former picks from Schott Zwiesel were about an ounce lighter than the Cuvee Prestige. But the price on the Schotts recently went from $40 to nearly $70 each. That’s just way too much to pay to save an ounce of weight.

And, above all, they feel special. The criteria for flute greatness is largely subjective, but you can see on Amazon that people love this brand, and people I know in the wine and service industry love it, too.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The Cuvee Prestige does what it’s supposed to do with very little compromise. If polished wrong or mishandled, of course it could break. And it’s not the tallest or lightest glass out there—two good qualities I fussed over with some of our former picks, because being lightweight is a great benefit for something you often stand around and hold for a long period of time. But when it came down to choosing between an extra ounce of weight, or a glass that could actually be found and used, the Cuvee Prestige became the obvious choice.

A less expensive tulip glass

Also Great
Crate and Barrel Silhouette
Less fancy than our favorite pick and made of soda-lime glass, the Silhouette has the elegant tulip shape that captures aromas and won’t hit your nose.

The Crate and Barrel Silhouette Champagne Glass is an unbeatable $7. It is elegantly tall (even more so than the Vinum) and tulip-shaped, and despite being made of glass (as opposed to crystal), it didn’t have a whole lot of craftsmanship problems, as far as I could see.

It is significantly less sophisticated than our Reidel pick, however. The soda-lime glass is much thicker, as is the stem. Without the benefit of being leaded crystal, you lose both the ability to make the glass very thin and the twinkle of the glass in the light. There is no effervescence point, so carbonation preservation is a fairly moot point.

A budget classic flute

Also Great
Crate and Barrel Viv
Perfect for parties, this glass won't break the bank. The Viv is tall, fun to hold, and made of thinner glass than similarly priced restaurant-grade options.

Our favorite flute for getting six or more of your family and friends sozzled is the Crate and Barrel Viv Champagne Glass, and the reason is price. No one wants to break the bank passing out glasses for a toast. The Viv is tall, elegant, and available for only $5 each or in a set of eight for $35.

champagne glasses

The very affordable Viv has a more classic flute shape. It’s great for parties if you’re planning on buying eight or more. Photo: Amadou Diallo

The Viv doesn’t have the characteristics that make higher-end flutes better than others, namely tulip-shaped bowls, effervescence points, and leaded crystal. But we don’t think you want to spend $200 for a party of eight to come over and drink $40 worth of Prosecco. The Viv costs about $5 and looks marvelous. Though it’s made of glass, the lip and bowl are pulled thin, which creates the refined quality that separates restaurant-grade models from more expensive dinnerware.

It’s just the right amount of tall at 9.5 inches—not so stubby that it looks plain, not so towering that you could break it with a glance. Of all the glass shapes Crate and Barrel sells, the Viv flute has the most user-friendly proportions. I walked into the store and examined each one: It doesn’t loom on a skinny stick like the Camille, or get top-heavy when full like the Vineyard. The base, stem, and bowl are in the right proportion to keep liquid stable.

Why the experts use wine glasses, not flutes

I spoke at length with David Speer, owner of Ambonnay Champagne bar in Portland. He was also voted one of the 10 best sommeliers in the country by Food & Wine in 2013. When it comes to Champagne, this guy knows his stuff.

What does he use to serve Champagne? “The one [glass] I use at my bar where I serve exclusively Champagne and sparkling wine is the Riedel Burgundy stem,” he said. Also according to Speer, Moët-Hennessy, which encompasses Chandon and Veuve Cliquot, has “switched exclusively to white wine glasses” when they conduct tastings. “They no longer want flutes.” And this article at Forbes quotes current Riedel CEO Maximilian Riedel as saying he drinks “Pinot Noir-based Champagnes from Pinot Noir glasses.”

I also interviewed Belinda Chang, James Beard Award-winning sommelier and full-time Champagne educator for Moët-Hennessey. She said Riedel’s “Grand Cru Burgundy glass is, I think, one of the most beautiful glasses that’s made in the world. … We use a similar shape to pour Dom Perignon Vintage Rosé Champagnes into.”

So Dom Perignon, Chandon, Veuve Cliquot, and two of the most accomplished wine and spirits professionals in the country advise drinking Champagne out of a Burgundy glass.

Why exactly? The Guardian has an article detailing some specifics: “The tall thin flute has a very powerful bubble engine … spitting lots of fizz upwards. But there’s so little air space at the top of the glass that flavour is mostly lost to the surroundings. This is fine for young wines, but doesn’t allow complexity to develop. … For these complex older Champagnes, use a wide glass that curves back in towards the top.”

So, is that it? Should you never buy a flute? Why are we even writing this guide? Indeed, nice Champagne is best appreciated in a wine glass, but here the parade of caveats begins.

First, what you’re drinking all the time may not technically be Champagne. Champagne is sparkling wine from the region of Champagne in France. It often has smells that other sparkling wines don’t—smells like yeast and toast and strawberry that are delicate and prized. A wine glass helps bring out those aromas, and that’s what our pros are talking about.

A more common and less expensive varietal, one that you can obtain easily from a grocery store or wine distributor, is Prosecco. This is the stuff that crops up at dinner parties and in Champagne cocktails and at friends’ houses. It’s often not as aromatic as Champagne.

Speer mentioned, “I find Prosecco is less affected by the glass. Until you’re starting to spend good money on Prosecco—and when I say good money I’d say you’re looking at $25 to $40 for Prosecco, the real top-tier stuff that you’re not gonna find at Trader Joe’s or wherever for $10. Put it in a white wine glass, put it in a flute, put it in a Burgundy stem, it’s all about the same.”

You’re probably not spending $25-plus for a bottle of sparkling wine all that regularly at your home, though. According to Speer, this is the sweet spot for price in terms of when you start getting noticeable aromas: “With everything that isn’t Champagne, I would almost put it in a price point category. As soon as you get into that $20 to $25 a bottle price range, they all get better in a Burgundy stem. But kind of below that, I find the glassware doesn’t matter as much.”

A flute does serve some purpose—to keep your drink bubbly. But not all bubbles are created equally. The method by which Champagne is made sparkly creates a ton of very tiny, very small bubbles under a lot of pressure. These bubbles are so fine, the film they create on top of the drink even has its own name—mousse.

But this method—methode champenoise—is expensive and time-consuming, so a large majority of other sparklers are made using a different method that creates much larger bubbles, under less pressure, which dissipate much faster. These bigger, quickly disappearing bubbles are in a lot of those $25-and-under wines and would most benefit from being served in a glass designed to preserve carbonation, which is indeed a flute.
If you’d like the specifics on how sparkling wine is made, Wikipedia lays out all four methods clearly and in exhausting detail, as does this Arrowhead Wine blog post.

Beyond the mechanics, flutes are inherently special thanks to the cultural expectations that come with them. They lack the technical qualifications required of a wine glass, but honestly, how beautiful and fun are they to hold? To sip from? The point of a celebration is to do things that might be outside the normal realm of practicality, so we can appreciate the use of a flute for this purpose, even if it is not always the best glass to use.

What about coupes?

It’s currently very in vogue to serve sparkling wine in a coupe, a short glass with a wide brim. As far as our experts are concerned, they’ve unanimously declared them the absolute worst thing to drink Champagne out of, though their shape remains strangely alluring and is great for cocktails.

Also Great
Libbey Classy Coupe Glass
We don’t recommend coupes for bubbly since they kill fizz, but if you must have them, we think the Libbey 4.5-ounce coupe is as sturdy as it is pretty.

Speer commented, “Flutes have been the traditional glass for Champagne for a while now, and were originally designed to combat the problem presented by the coupe, which was the Champagne glass you see in all the old movies. Those glasses are horrible for the nose, because you can’t swirl the wine at all, and horrible for the bubbles, ’cause they’re so wide and shallow the bubbles dissipate really quickly. That being said, they are a lot of fun to drink out of for whatever reason.”

Gouze added, “I grew up in France and my family always had coupes to serve Champagne, but years later and being a little bit more savvy in wine knowledge I realize that it’s definitely not something you would want to use for more precious Champagnes. The problem with the coupes is basically that they get the Champagne to go flat very quickly.”

“I think they’re gorgeous,” agreed Chang. “I think they’re great for classic cocktails. But as quickly as the bubbles dissipate, even in the style of glass that I’m recommending to you—a Sauvignon Blanc glass—it’s even crazier in a coupe; you don’t get anything.”

Scientific American reported on a study that endeavored to see if this was scientifically correct. The conclusion was “that there was a much higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the tall flute than the broad coupe.”

Bubbles and shapes

When we first published this guide, we tested a number of glasses. We set out to answer a few questions about glass traits: Does the shape of the flute influence bubble preservation? Can one of these preserve carbonation longer than the others? This was worth finding out. I chose these glasses for testing specifically because they look so different from each other, and observed how the CO₂ escaped:

champagne glasses

From left: Bormioli, Cuvee Prestige, Ouverture, Edge, and Vinao. Photo: Eve O’Neill

The Bormioli is what you’d call a trumpet shape. I included the Cuvee Prestige because the bottom of the bowl is slightly tapered in the middle. The glass in the middle is the Ouverture. The Ouverture Magnum was our top recommendation for wine glasses, so it seemed appropriate to see what it could do here. Notice the bottom of the bowl is very round. Next is the Edge, repping an extreme version of a shouldered or squared-off base. Finally, the Vinao, a slightly more exaggerated tulip than the Cuvee Prestige.

In addition to shape, we tested to see if glasses with nucleation sites performed better. Though they don’t advertise it as aggressively as the Schott does, both Riedels have etchings as well.

champagne glasses

Each glass was polished and cleaned with canned air. Photo: Eve O’Neill

I washed the glasses, polished them, and blew each one out with canned air to ensure the insides were spotless (so bubbles wouldn’t form on particles of dust). I filled each glass with 2 ounces of Prosecco, an easy-to-find, well-loved, and inexpensive varietal. This particular Prosecco was made using the Charmat process. All bottles were chilled to 42 degrees Fahrenheit. I backlit the ever-loving hell out of ’em, and then I observed the streams.

champagne glasses

A close-up look at each bubble stream. Photo: Eve O’Neill

The bubbles in A and D form all over the glass, and in D we’ve even got a couple of big fat ones taking form. This might look cool, but is less desirable because it lets the gas escape from everywhere, and you don’t want it escaping in chunks.

Glasses B, C, and E perform a little differently. There are some pinprick streams lining the outsides of the bowls for sure, but there is clearly more organization happening. In C you can see a thick stream emanating from dead center. B and E have the finest streams, B coming from the middle and in E it’s off to the right.

After observing, I spoke with Leigh Krietsch Boerner, Sweethome’s science editor who has a doctorate in chemistry, and she gave me a great suggestion—wait 15 minutes after pouring the sparkling, then toss a Mentos into each glass to accelerate the nucleation process. Basically, whichever glass produces the most fizz is the one that has the most CO₂ remaining, meaning it was able to preserve the carbonation the longest.

I did this experiment twice, the first time after letting each pour dissipate for 15 minutes.

You can see some of the reaction here:

champagne glasses

Like a fancy-pants version of the classic Diet Coke trick. Photo: Eve O’Neill

I then repeated it after letting a new pour dissipate for 30 minutes. The results were practically identical:

champagne glasses

Only one can be the foamiest. Photo: Eve O’Neill

The shape of each glass made it very hard to judge which had more foam. And this photo is a decent illustration, but not perfect. The glasses fizzed up at staggered times and for different lengths of times. But after watching my footage and taking some notes, I’d rank them in this order, from least to most effective:

5. The Bormioli (A) had a significantly weaker reaction than any other glass. What you see in this photo is as exciting as it got. That giant head of foam as seen in the .gif is a little misleading … it disappears almost instantly, while the other glasses continue to react for a long time.

4 & 3. A tie between the Ouverture (C) and the Edge (D). The tiny surface area inside glass D makes this a tough call. If I spread the foam out I think it’s very similar to what I got out of C, and both heads dissipated very quickly.

2. To my eye, the Vinao (E) was the second best at preserving carbonation. It didn’t erupt like the Cuvee Prestige, but it also just refused to stop reacting. It sat there for a long time and kept foaming and foaming and foaming.

1. The Cuvee Prestige (B) felt like the front-runner. It’s a wide glass, yet still created the thickest head of foam, and that foam sat there for a long time—maybe 10 seconds.

Lots of foam means lots of carbonation is left, so from this basic observation I drew the conclusion that the Cuvee Prestige was the best at preserving bubble. The Vinao performed second best. And a trumpet-shaped glass is your worst bet for keeping that Champagne fizzy.

As an added bonus, after the reaction settled there remained a surprisingly clear illustration of how the shape of each glass dissipated the CO₂:

champagne glasses

Observing how bubble streams dissipate in each glass. Photo: Eve O’Neill

It’s absolute chaos inside glass A. It almost looks like someone stuck something in there and swirled the liquid around. But nothing has been moved or shaken—these glasses are just sitting here and have been for almost an hour. To a much lesser but still noticeable degree the bubbles inside the Edge flute are not making a very compact stream, especially when you compare it to the three glasses that have a rounded or tulip-shaped bowl.

After seeing the plumes of bubbles line up in the exact same way in two different experiments, I have to believe that the shape of the bowl has an effect on carbonation. The glasses with the tapered tops and tulip shapes are working overtime to make sure those streams stay where they’re supposed to, and that’s an advantage.

champagne glasses

The tulip shape preserves carbonation like a champ. Photo: Eve O’Neill

The competition

When we first published this guide, the Schott Zwiesel Vinao was our favorite. After it became unavailable, I then chose the Schott Zwiesel Enoteca 1872 to replace it, which suffered the same fate. We still love both of our former picks, but Sur La Table has stopped carrying both, many stockists are not reordering, or there are hefty shipping fees added to the cost of the glass. Disappointed by the increase in cost and constant availability problems, we decided to move on.

The Riedel Ouverture bored me, honestly. We know the Ouverture line is a practical, quality product because of our wine guide. It also handled carbonation very well—it also has an etching inside, in the shape of a tiny O dead center of the bottom. You can see the thick flume of bubbles it creates in the photo. But I felt like I was drinking out of a miniature wine glass.

The Crate and Barrel Edge flute is top-heavy. And you definitely can’t fit your face in it, though to be fair I knew both of those things from the start. It was just the most extreme flat-bottomed or shouldered flute I could find for testing. But it’s unbalanced and heavy, and it fell behind our picks in bubble preservation.

The trumpet-shaped Bormioli Ypsilon wasn’t a contender, either, for all of the same reasons as the Edge. It couldn’t preserve carbonation as well as the others.

The Crate and Barrel Vineyard is very similar in shape to the Vinao and just as tall, but it’s ever so slightly wider at the top, edging it dangerously close to wine glass territory. Also glass.

The Cellar Champagne Flute was a surprise find at Macy’s. Side by side with every other glass on the entire sales floor, it looked the nicest, even nicer than the Waterford crystal. But again, its tall, tapered shape gets in the way of your nose.

The Spiegelau Vino Vino glass didn’t have the same glass quality as the Vinum.

Riedel’s Veritas Champagne Glass was just released, and I honestly thought it would be our new top choice, but when it arrived I set it aside. It looks just like a regular wine glass and has no flute appeal.

Bormioli makes our favorite drinking glass, but we know from our wine glass roundup that their wine glasses are heavy and a little thick, so the Bormioli Rocco Riserva was out.

Lenox’s Tuscany Classics is also very narrow, which we know is not ideal.

Considering the great reviews for the Waterford Marquis Vintage Champagne Flute on Amazon, I was surprised at how squat and lackluster it was.

I double-checked for a low-end offering, but these brands were too expensive to be an everyday go-to: Baccarat, Lalique, and Orrefors.

I eliminated from any consideration the offerings from Kate Spade, Villeroy & Boch, Vera Wang, every Waterford other than the Marquis, every Mikasa except the Stephanie, Reed & Barton, Noritake, Ralph Lauren, Nambé , Ritzenhoff, and Royal Doulton. They’re all high-end decorative offerings and just not what we’re looking for.

The Peugeot Esprit 180 has a vanishing point bowl.

The Stolzle Classic and Revolution flutes aren’t as tried and true as the heavyweights we chose.

Spiegelau’s Festival flute is a sturdy go-to that’s great for entertaining, but without the wow factor of what we wanted for this guide.

Of the other Spiegelau offerings, including Vino Grande, Wine Lovers, Hybrid, I chose the Vino Vino flute as the ambassador. It’s of a slightly higher quality than these and had a classic shape.

The Wine Enthusiast Fusion Infinity has a shape that was outperformed in our test.

I thought the shape of the Iittala Essence was slightly too modern to be a contender.

The Cru Classic and Forte from Schott Zwiesel are highly regarded by users on Amazon, but the loads of reviews are unhelpful because they’re for every glass in entire collections, including wine glasses. It’s hard to figure out specifically which Champagne glass people liked the most. As they were both more narrow than our choice, I set them aside. The Classico is the wrong shape. The Mondial is stubby.

Price eliminates the Zalto.

Rogaska’s Expert is extremely tall, very narrow.

The Riedel Vivant series is the Riedel line at Target. When I opened the package to look at them, they all had small deformities in the bottom of the bowl. It wasn’t the quality I was used to seeing—I definitely didn’t see it on the wine glasses of the same series. I checked every box, and they were all the same, so I passed.

As far as the Nachtmann Vivendi and Supreme, they were great finds during our wine glass tasting panel, though the glass was really fragile. Without the great advantage of making the wine taste better, I knew they would be too delicate to compete with other models in the Champagne category.

Workhorse brands like Libbey, Luminarc , and IKEA would not be able to compete against the thinner glassware up for consideration in this guide.

Care and maintenance

Unlike wine glasses, running flutes through a dishwasher may not be a great idea because it has the potential to leave behind some soap residue, which can mess with the bubbles.

Handwashing is the way to go. Don’t use soap. Letting some hot water sit at the bottom is usually more than enough to break up any residue. I have also used a skinny foam brush similar to this one and it worked well. The Huffington Post mentions using Alka Seltzer to break up dried wine at the bottom, and that seems time consuming, but legit.

Polishing is a different matter. The minute you try to reach into the flute to try to polish, the likelihood of snapping it increases exponentially. For the small price of a water spot or two on the inside, just let it air-dry in the rack and polish the rim.

Wrapping it up

Flutes may not be the best option for appreciating complex aromas in Champagne, but they will keep your sparkling wine bubbly longer than a coupe or a wine glass. They’re also super fun to drink from, and commonly accepted as the standard for celebrations. Our favorite Champagne glass is the Riedel Vinum Cuvee Prestige because it strikes a balance between elegance, price, and quality, and it keeps the bubbles moving slowly through your drink. Cheers!

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Sources

  1. Dr. Leigh Krietsch Boerner, Sweethome Science Editor; PhD in Chemistry, Interview
  2. Katie Kelly Bell, What Is The Best Wine Glass For Enjoying Wine?, Forbes, October 1, 2012
  3. Helen Czerski, Champagne bubbles – it's all in the glass, The Guardian, December 31, 2012
  4. Suzanne Hamlin, A Tall Glass Makes the Best of Bubbles, New York Times, Dec. 25, 1996
  5. Guillaume Polidori, Philippe Jeandet, Gerard Liger-Belair, Bubbles and Flow Patterns in Champagne, American Scientist
  6. Sophie Bushwick, Champagne Glass Shape Affects Gas Level, Scientific American, February 8, 2012
  7. Michelle Manetti, Clean Champagne Flutes and Other Narrow Glasses with an Alka Seltzer Tablet, The Huffington Post, October 11, 2012
  8. Sparkling Wine Production, The Sommelier Update

Originally published: December 14, 2015

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