One of the things you’ll notice when you go to buy new glassware is the bewildering range of shapes and sizes. You’ll also notice that you’ll be encouraged to buy a different type of glass for the different types and styles of wine. You have to have a glass for red, one for white, one for Champagne… There’s even slightly different styles for varietals.

While it can be nice to have a wide range of glasses – setting out the Champagne flutes ahead of a special dinner is a real joy, for example – the truth is that you don’t actually need them!

That’s right. A good glass of red will taste and smell just as good in a tumbler as it will in a balloon glass designed specifically for oaky reds with a hint of vanilla.

Why do I have a cabinet full of different glasses?

In a word, marketing.

Back in the early 1970s Austrian glassware manufacturer Riedel was looking for ways to sell more glasses and boost its profits. It came up with the Riedel Sommelier range; the first range featured ten glasses, each with a different shape, designed to optimise the aroma and taste of various wine types. The shape of the glass, buyers were told, directed the wine to the area of the mouth that would pick up the dominant characteristics of the wine. This sales pitch worked and sales soared.

However, 30 or so years later, these ideas were debunked by a series of studies in Europe and the US. These studies worked out that your brain doesn’t interpret tastes or aromas differently if they come from different regions of the mouth.

That said, owning lots of styles of glasses is fun, and you are somewhat justified in serving Champagne, prosecco or any other fizz in a flute because this concentrates the bubbles right under your nose.

You only really need two types of wine glass

There’s nothing to stop you filling your cabinet withal sorts of styles, shapes and colours of glasses – in fact for many people it’s a hobby – but if you’re space or cash-poor, you only need regular, all-purpose wine glasses and flutes.

You could even join a burgeoning trend and go stemless, although this tends to work best with reds as your hands will warm up the wine.