Whether you drink wine in the comfort of your home or prefer to attend wine tasting events, knowing how to hold your wine glass is an essential part of enjoying the experience. So, what’s the right way to hold a wine glass?
If you want to hold your wine glass like a pro, use your thumb and forefinger to pinch the stem of the glass. Holding the glass by the stem helps maintain the temperature of the wine and prevent fingerprints on the glass. It’s also customary to sip from the same spot on the glass.
Knowing how to properly hold your wine glass can make the difference between looking like an amateur and being deemed a true wine connoisseur. Let’s look at some of the best ways to hold your wine glass so that you can confidently drink wine with the pros.
Is There a Correct Way to Hold a Wine Glass?
When it comes to holding a wine glass, there are several ways it can be done, regardless of whether you’re at a special event or in your own home. Although there are technically many ways you could hold a wine glass, many wine connoisseurs feel that there’s one true way to do it.
One thing most wine enthusiasts agree on is that the wine glass should always be held by the stem. And the most common way to do it is to hold the stem between your thumb and forefinger and pinch them together for a stronger grip. From there, you can either hold the glass just under the bowl, near the middle of the stem or even just above the base of the glass.
Nonetheless, there are many ways that you can hold your wine glass and still be accepted by the enthusiasts. Choosing what you feel most comfortable with is the key to pulling it off.
How Shouldn’t You Hold a Wine Glass?
While there are many ways that you can hold your wine glass, there’s one way that you definitely shouldn’t hold it: Never hold your wine glass from the bowl itself.
Holding your wine glass by the bowl can indicate to other people that you’re an amateur when it comes to drinking wine. Not only is the practice socially unacceptable, but there are also other reasons you should never hold your wine glass by the bowl as well.
When you hold the wine glass by the bowl, the body heat you radiate through your hands can affect the temperature of the wine. This, in turn, can change the taste of the wine since most wine is best when it’s slightly cooler than room temperature.
Another reason it can be seen as poor etiquette to hold your wine glass by the bowl is because of the fingerprints you will leave behind. If you set your glass down at any point throughout the evening, you and your guests will see your fingerprints all over the wine glass bowl.
Are There Benefits to Holding a Wine Glass Correctly?
When it comes to holding your wine glass correctly, there are many benefits, including being seen as a wine expert. While it may not matter much if you’re in the comfort of your own home, it may matter more than you think when you’re drinking socially.
So, what are the benefits to holding a wine glass properly?
Keeps the Temperature of the Wine Steady
When you hold the wine glass at the stem, you don’t have to worry about transferring your own body heat to the wine. This means that your wine has a better chance of staying at a constant temperature, thus preserving the taste of the wine.
Although most people know that wine is typically served just below room temperature, holding the bowl of your wine glass can heat the wine beyond that point. This will harm the overall quality of the wine as you drink it.
Keeps the Wine Glass Cleaner
Holding the wine glass by the stem not only preserves the overall temperature of the wine but also can help you to keep the glass cleaner overall. When you hold the glass by the bowl, you end up transferring your fingerprints to the glass, which can make it look tacky.
This is especially true when you don’t hold your glass throughout the entire event. Once you set the glass down, everyone in the room will be able to see your fingerprints on the glass, which leaves it looking dirty.
Keeps the Wine Glass Steady for Swirling
If you’re one of many wine enthusiasts who like to bring out the aroma and flavor in your wine by swirling it, holding the glass steady is important. When you hold the glass by the stem and pinch your thumb and forefinger together, it steadies the glass to keep you from spilling when you swirl.
If you choose to hold the wine glass other ways and swirl, you’re more likely to end up spilling the wine on yourself and possibly on others near you. This is because the glass is typically not as steady for swirling unless you’re holding it correctly.
What if Your Wine Glass Doesn’t Have a Stem?
There are many wine glasses on the market today that are created without a stem — like these ones from Luminarc (on Amazon). If you’re drinking wine from this type of glass, it’s important to follow a few social norms to keep you from seeming like an amateur.
As we previously mentioned, when you hold the bowl of the wine glass, you’ll inevitably leave behind fingerprints that can make your wine glass look dirty and tacky. To keep this from happening, it’s important to make sure that you only hold the glass close to the bottom.
Most wine enthusiasts who drink from a stemless wine glass suggest using only your forefinger, middle finger, and thumb to hold this type of wine glass. This will lessen the chance of you leaving fingerprints all over the top and middle of the glass.
Another thing to keep in mind when drinking from a stemless wine glass is that you may have a hard time maintaining the temperature of the wine — since holding on to the bowl is inevitable. Because of this, it’s recommended that you set the glass down when you’re not actively drinking from it.
Is There a Proper Way to Drink Wine?
Drinking wine in a social setting can come with many expectations, especially if you want to be seen as a wine enthusiast. Because of this, there are several factors that you should keep in mind as you drink your wine.
Rest Your Wine Glass When Not Drinking
There’s nothing wrong with setting your wine glass down occasionally when you’re drinking in a social setting. This practice is perfectly fine and acceptable whether you’re with a few friends or at a special wine-drinking event.
In order to rest your hands, you can set the glass down on a table if there’s one nearby. If you’re not near a table, you can rest the wine glass in the palm of your other hand.
Pay Attention to the Etiquette of Filling Your Glass
Another rule of thumb when drinking wine is that you should never fill the wine glass all the way up to the top. This is mostly because filling it up can make it much harder to hold it steady, and it can cause you to spill the wine more easily.
When drinking red wine, you should only fill the glass about one-third of the way, while for white wine, about halfway is acceptable. Since wine in a glass can get a bit heavy, filling it only partially can help you maintain control of the glass.
Drink From the Same Spot
Another rule of thumb when it comes to drinking wine in a social setting is to make sure that you’re only drinking from one spot on the glass. This practice will not only prevent you from leaving lip marks around the glass but it’ll also help maintain the scent and taste of the wine.
Focus on the Wine When Drinking
As a rule, it’s most common to ensure that you’re gazing into your wine glass while you’re drinking. This is because looking at someone while drinking your wine is considered to be somewhat impolite.
However, if you’re giving a toast, it’s important to make eye contact with the person you’re toasting. Not doing so is considered bad luck and can also be considered impolite.
Do You Hold a Champagne Glass the Same as a Wine Glass?
If you’re drinking champagne, you may be wondering whether or not you should be holding it the same way as a wine glass. The short answer to this question is a resounding yes.
The same rules apply whether you’re drinking wine or champagne for the same reasons of protecting the flavor of the wine and keeping your glass’s appearance intact. Because of this, you should always hold the champagne flute by the stem by pinching your forefinger and thumb together.
Keep in mind that champagne is typically served chilled, which means that if you hold the flute by the bowl, you can certainly affect the temperature. To preserve the temperature and the overall flavor, you should make sure that you’re holding your champagne flute properly.
The bottom line when it comes to holding your wine glass like a pro is that even though many ways are considered socially acceptable, you need to use the method that you find most comfortable. To find the best method for you, you might like to practice at home before you attend a very formal event.