The wine was very fine, but it was the glasses from which patrons sipped that were the main show at Ventanas in Fort Lee recently.

About 100 diners swirled, sniffed and sipped wines for about an hour while learning which wine glasses are best for what varieties and why.

“The rim diameter actually focuses the flow of the wine on your palate,” said Julio Ruix, regional sales manager for the wine glass company Riedel. “So as opposed to being too sweet or too dry or two bitter, it focuses the wine to be balanced.”

Sign Up for New Brunswick Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

It’s about which taste buds the liquid hits first, Ruix said.

A narrower rim, he explained, is for a sweeter wine intended to make contact with the tip of the tongue, while a wider wine glass directs contact to the mid palate, helping to change its flavor profile — ideal for a stronger wine such as a red.

Gerry Piserchia, director of education at the wine distributor Fedway, instructed diners to take in the full flavor as they sipped sauvignon blank, oaked chardonnay and pinot noir, among other varieties, from a selection of glasses tailored to each variety.

Piserchia prompted the audience explore beyond the initial aroma of the sauvignon blanc, asking them to compare the wine under their noses to a non-wine aroma.

“Look beyond whatever your first smell was,” Piserchia said. “Can you find something else? Are there floral notes? Are there mineral notes? Are there herbal notes? … Wine tasting through your nose is one of the hardest things to do. You just have to let yourself be free.”

The tasting had patrons pour wines from glass to glass so they could differentiate how the wines taste from each and smell how the vapors of a more subtle wine are better sensed when concentrated in the space of a small glass, and a fuller wine made less overwhelming from a larger glass.

Gerald Appelstein, a member of the food and wine society Chaînes des Rôtisseurs, was among the audience members to savor the presentation. Some truths became clear to the Mahwah man.

“There is some science and some art tied to the fabric of drinking wine, and they did a good job of showing that,” Applestein said, adding that while he didn’t sense a significant difference in taste between two of the glasses of like size, “Clearly putting a chardonnay in a sauvignon glass or a sauvignon in a chardonnay glass really, truly effects the taste.”

Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh

Read more on NJ Flavor:

Home Baking for a Profit is Illegal in NJ. Lawsuit Looks to Change That

How Pumpkin Spice Came to Rule the Season

Make Our Easy Sausage and Peppers Soup

To sign up to have NJ Flavor and other great sections sent straight to your inbox, click here. Follow NJ Flavor on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Got a story you'd like to see on NJ Flavor? Email Jackie Lieberman at