Champagne stemware

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Champagne stemware refers to the flute and coupe glasses used in the consumption of champagne, other sparkling wines, and certain beers.

Champagne flute[edit]

Champagne flute and bottle

The champagne flute (French: flûte à champagne) is a stem glass with a tall, narrow bowl, generally holding about 6 to 10 US fl oz (180 to 300 ml) of liquid.[1] The bowl of a flute may resemble either a narrow wine glass, a trumpet shape or be very narrow and straight-sided.

As with other stemware, the stem allows the drinker to hold the glass without affecting the temperature of the drink. The bowl is designed to retain champagne's signature carbonation, by reducing the surface area at the opening of the bowl.[2] The flute has largely replaced the champagne coupe or saucer, the shape of which allowed carbonation to dissipate even more rapidly than from a standard wine glass. Its smaller diameter also allows more flutes to be carried on a tray.

Nucleation in a champagne glass helps form the bubbles seen in champagne. Too much nucleation will cause the carbonation to fizzle out quickly. A smoother surface area will produce fewer bubbles in the glass and thus more bubble texture in the taster's mouth. Flutes, with their deep bowl, allow for greater visual effect of bubbles rising through the liquid to the top.[2]

While most commonly used for sparkling wines, flutes are also used for certain beers, especially Belgian lambics and gueuzes, which are brewed with wild yeast and often fruited. The tart flavor of these beers, coupled with their carbonation, makes them similar to sparkling white wines, making the champagne flute an ideal choice of glassware.

Champagne coupe[edit]

Champagne coupe
Champagne tower

The champagne coupe or champagne saucer is a shallow, broad-bowled, stemmed glass generally capable of containing 4 to 8 US fl oz (120 to 240 ml) of liquid.[1] Legend has it the shape of the coupe was modelled on the breast of Marie Antoinette, but the glass was designed especially for sparkling wine and champagne in England in 1663.[3][4][5]

The coupe was fashionable in France from its introduction in the 1700s until the 1970s,[6] and in the United States from the 1930s[7] to the 1980s.[4] The coupe was also fashionable at American weddings in the 1920s, where "champagne towers" were created by stacking coupes in pyramidal forms. Champagne was continuously poured into the top glass; as it overflowed, it trickled down to fill every glass below.[8]

The broad surface area of the mouth of the coupe allows champagne to lose its carbonation more quickly, and the curved, short bowl does not provide nearly as dramatic visual effect for bubbles as the flute.[9] The coupe also has a relatively short stem (compared to some champagne flutes), which encourages the drinker to seize the bowl. This transfers heat to the champagne, warming it more quickly than in a flute.[9]

The coupe is now more commonly used for certain cocktails such as daiquiris.[10] It is also the glass which James Bond uses for the Vesper in the novel Casino Royale.[11]

White wine tulip glass[edit]

Coupe and flutes

Champagne is a white wine, and can be served in white wine glasses. Some oenophiles prefer this, particularly in a "tulip" or "belly" shape in which the rim of the glass is narrower than the midpoint, as it permits the drinker to get more of the aroma than a traditional flute, while still not having enough surface area to cause the champagne to quickly lose carbonation.[12]

Innovations and novelties[edit]

In the 1990s, double-wall stemware came into vogue for champagnes as well as other beverages. The inside and outside of the glass are separated by a small air gap to retard the transfer of heat from the drinker's hand to the drink. An additional novelty designed by Alissia Melka Teichroew and sold by the Museum of Modern Art came on the market in 2004, the "inside-out" double-wall glass in which the inner wall is molded in the traditional shape, but the outer wall is simply cylindrical. When filled, the color of the contents reveals the traditional shape.[13]

Another stem variation is the "stemless" champagne flute.

In 2014, a revised design of the coupe was created with a ledge designed on the inside. This allowed the glasses to be safely stacked one above the other, creating a single line tower from which a bottle of champagne could be poured. Named the Coupe Stack,[14] it was the creation of Barny Macaulay.


  1. ^ a b Giblin 2011, p. 15.
  2. ^ a b Andrews 2014, pp. 138, 140.
  3. ^ Lamprey 2010, p. 35.
  4. ^ a b Boehmer 2009, p. 55.
  5. ^ Ray 1967, p. 59.
  6. ^ Liger-Belair 2004, p. 31.
  7. ^ Andrews 2014, p. 138.
  8. ^ Blume & McFerrin 2010, p. 37.
  9. ^ a b Liger-Belair 2004, p. 33.
  10. ^ DeGroff 2002, p. 67.
  11. ^ Fleming, Ian (1953). Casino Royale. Glidrose Productions. p. 45. ISBN 0-14-200202-X. 
  12. ^ "Why settle for a flute when you can savour the whole symphony?". The Telegraph. 
  13. ^ "ABSOLUT TUNE Launch at the Beresford Hotel Cocktail Lounge". Gourmatic. August 25, 2011. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  14. ^ "SERVE CHAMPAGNE IN STYLE WITH THE COUPE STACK". Good Housekeeping. December 18, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014. 


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