The heart of glass

Thinking of updating your glass collection ahead of the summer season of drinking? The shape of the vessel you drink out of can have an impact on your enjoyment of the contents, so make sure you choose right…

● Red wine drinkers should look for a glass with a wider bowl that tapers slightly at the top, which allows plenty of aeration and encourages the tannins to soften.

● The aim with white wine is to keep it chilled with limited exposure to oxygen, therefore go for a tall, U-shaped glass with a smaller bowl. The general rule of thumb is the fuller bodied the wine, the taller the glass.

● Champagne flutes have become a little controversial in recent years; while their shape keeps the wine carbonated for longer, experts suggest it also mutes the taste. A coupe or tulip-shaped champagne glass is a better option – or you could just opt for a regular white wine glass for your bubbles.

● Stemless glasses might look trendy, however the warmth of your hand will increase the temperature of the contents. This is fine if you’re a red wine drinker, but if you want to keep your sauvignon blanc cool and crisp, a stem is a better option.

● Thin-rimmed options have become popular, especially in high-end restaurants, the argument being they are so fine they disperse the wine into the mouth with ease. However, it’s worth bearing in mind they are very delicate and may not be the best investment in a hectic household.

‘Every bottle has astory, and when yousit down and drink it, you feel connected to thatstory’


No matter how delicious the wine, filling your glass all the way to the top is a no-no – not just in terms of etiquette. This limits contact with air, preventing the aromas and flavours from developing. A good rule of thumb is filling your glass only to the widest part of the bowl.


Wondering about the best way to open a bottle of bubbles? The short answer is with great care! Remove the foil, twist open the wire cage (without removing it) and grasp the cork firmly. Angle the bottle and, holding the bottom with your other hand, twist to ease the cork out, slowly pulling up. Experts suggest you are looking for a ‘gentle sigh’, as opposed to a pop.

Grape expectations

Emily Gaspard-Clark was recently named the Tonnellerie de Mercurey NZ Young Winemaker of the Year 2019. The 28-year-old, who studied at Lincoln University and now works at Spy Valley Wines in Marlborough, shares insights into the wine industry – and advice on picking the right drop for the festive season.

To win the competition you gave an impassioned speech about the merits of Marlborough as a wine-producing region. What makes it so great?

We make fantastic wines with great fruit intensity, strong varietal expression, and acid retention over long ripening periods.

What recent innovation or advance in the wine industry really excites you?

There is a winery in the USA that has smart tanks which feed you information during ferment about how the wine is going, then projects the data on the walls so you can easily check every tank. It’s such a cool idea and awesome to see the industry moving towards the future.

What advice would you give on how to choose a good bottle of wine as a festive gift for others? It always helps to know the person’s tastes and preferences, so do your research! Keep an eye out for their wine choices when you are with them, or ask a family member or their partner. It’s always a good idea to think about time of year as well – winter could mean a bigger red, summer might mean a rosé or sauvignon blanc. And if in doubt, buy bubbles – everyone loves bubbles!

When catering for a big group at a summer drinks party, what would be your suggestion on ‘safe’ varietals of wine to stock up on? Sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, rosé, pinot noir and syrah are always safe bets. I’d always recommend having at least one dry white and a red on hand during the summer season.

What are the key things to keep in mind when trying to match food with wine? Acidity and sugar balance. If it’s a creamy dish, something with higher acidity will help cut through the fat. And sweet tends to go with sweet… or cheese. Sweet wine and cheese is always a winner!

Do you have any tips for cooking with wine? I would always recommend cooking with the wine that you intend to pair with the dish, such as a delicious chardonnay that you can both enjoy and add to your mushroom risotto.

What is your favourite wine for summer drinks? I love a good dry riesling or rosé. Riesling is an incredible match with zesty summer seafood dishes and rosé for an afternoon barbecue in the sun.


Want to keep your brain ticking over? A glass of wine each day might be the answer. Researchers at the recent International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease revealed moderate drinkers are less likely to develop dementia than tee-totallers. Among those over the age of 75, consumption of between one and two alcoholic drinks daily is associated with a 37 per cent decreased risk of dementia over six years. But don’t drown yourself in the wine cellar just yet – excessive alcohol consumption of more than 14 units a week remains a clear risk factor for dementia.