Champagne stemware refers to the flute and coupe or saucer stemware used in the enjoyment of champagne, other sparkling wines, and even certain beers. Champagne can also be served and enjoyed in a narrow 'white wine' glass with a tulip shape.
In early times the preference for drinking Champagne was from a very open style glassware, but this merely had the effect of giving a larger surface area which let the carefully orchestrated bubbles escape more quickly leaving the wine flat and characterless. Today wine and glass producers believe that a fine slender glass not only shows the wine more attractively, but allows the delicate bubbles to be highlighted and preserved as long as possible.
The champagne flute - is a stemmed glass with a tall, narrow, thin bowl. The bowl of a flute may resemble a narrow wine glass; or 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 colour and more importantly the temperature of sparkling wine.
The bowl is designed to retain champagne's signature carbonation for longer, by reducing the surface area at the opening of the bowl; the bubbles can't escape as fast. 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 serving tray.
A smoother surface area inside the glass flute (i.e. EISCH 'Lead-Free' Crystal Stemware) will produce fewer bubbles in the glass. Except from the specifically placed laser 'etch' made at the bottom of a select range of glass flutes - which gives a point for the bubbles to be released and present a more subtle texture to the surface for the taster's lips and palate.
While most commonly used for sparkling wines, flutes are also used for certain beers, especially Belgian beers, which are brewed with wild yeast and often fruited. The tart flavour of these beers, coupled with their carbonation, makes them similar to sparkling white wines, and the champagne flute can be an ideal choice of stemware.