A good glass should have a tulip shape and a long stem. The shape of the glass: narrow at the top and wider at the bottom, will help bring out the aromas in the wine. While the stem gives your hand a nice resting place so that you can gently swirl the wine and further release some of the wine’s bouquet. The stem also helps keep the heat of your hand away from the wine as warming the glass can increase the alcoholic flavors.
A set of all purpose wine glasses and some Champagne flutes are really the only styles that one needs for their cabinet. A Bordeaux or Burgundy sized glass can be used for both your white and red wines. While the Champagne flute's design is especially helpful in keeping your bubbly effervescent longer. If you want to expand your collection a little more, the next step would be a smaller glass for white wine and then a cordial glass for port of desert wine.
Deals on non-name-brand glassware can be found everywhere - especially Crate & Barrel.
For something a little fancier, but still affordable, we just found a six-pack of Spiegelau Spiegelau Vino Grande Magnum Bordeaux Glasses for only $45.00. At this price we won’t jump when one is accidentally broken.
• Glass shape affects wine's chemistry (New Scientist, August 28, 2002)