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how to hold a wine glass

How to Hold a Wine Glass (the Proper Way)

Wine etiquette is more than good manners. The way we store, serve, pour and even drink wine is part of the experience. We’ve perfected the art of enjoying fermented grape juice for thousands of years. 

One of the most frequent questions about the right way of drinking wine is how to hold a wine glass properly. And although it might sound obvious, there’s more to it than it seems. 

Let’s discuss the right ways of holding a wine glass and its benefits. After all, drinking wine is about having a good time, so let’s make the most of it, primarily if you use hand-blown wine glasses. Thin wine glasses are a pleasure to hold!

Table of Contents

How To Hold a Wine Glass, And When?

Let’s start by saying there’s no wrong way of holding a wine glass. Some methods are just more convenient for diverse reasons. Your wine glass, your rules, so don’t let anyone tell you that you are doing it wrong.

Having said that, you should hold your wine glass appropriately depending on the setting and occasion. A formal wine tasting might call for the strictest etiquette, while it doesn’t matter much how you hold your wine glass in a casual get-together. 

Before we get into actual techniques to hold a wine glass, let’s discuss why it matters. Appearances are essential but holding wine one way or another can change your perception of it.

Holding a Wine Glass to Preserve Its Temperature

Wine is a finicky beverage. Serve it too cold, and it will be inexpressive. Serve it too warm, and you’ll only perceive its alcoholic warmth.

Even if you store wine at the right temperature, between 10-16°C (50-61°F), it will increase its temperature as soon as you pour it into a wine glass. The wine’s temperature can rise a couple of degrees in minutes, so it’s better to prevent warming it further with our own warmth. 

Holding a wine glass by the bowl with your palm is an effective way of increasing its temperature if served too cold, but if the wine’s temperature is just right, you’ll warm it more than necessary. By holding a wine glass by the stem, you prevent increasing its temperature unintentionally.

Holding a Wine Glass to Prevent Handprints

Even if you wash your hands several times a day, your sweat and residue from anything you touch can and will cause handprints and smudges if you hold the wine glass’s delicate crystal bowl

Handprints are impossible to remove during a wine-tasting session. If you’re served finger food and canapés, as is customary when enjoying a bottle of wine with friends, the problem is even more serious. 

By holding your wine glass from the stem, you guarantee you’ll hold a nice spotless wine glass all night. Even if handprints won’t affect how the wine smells or tastes, keeping things clean and classy is a good practice. 

Different Styles of Holding a Wine Glass

The thumb and forefinger pinch. Hold your wine glass from the middle of the stem with your thumb and forefinger for a stable grip that looks and feels good. Raising your pinky while you sip is entirely optional.

The three-finger pinch. If the wine glass is too large or heavy, or you’ve been over-poured, holding it by the stem with three fingers is ideal. The extra support from your middle finger will prevent you from getting tired. 

The base pinch. Holding your wine glass from the base looks and feels good. It is ideal for long tasting sessions, especially when you don’t have where to lay down your glass. If using this method, be mindful — an accidental bump from the back is guaranteed to make a mess. 

Using the thumb as a lever. Although avoiding laying your fingers on the wine glass bowl is ideal, if you get tired after long hours of holding a wine glass, use your thumb to carry some of the weight. In this case, hold the wine glass at the top part of the stem.

how to hold a wine glass

What About Stemless Wine Glasses? 

Stemless wine glasses are trendy and pretty good, especially for casual drinking sessions. Still, since there’s no stem to prevent you from warming the wine or leaving your prints on the glass, lay the glassware on a nearby surface when possible. Alternatively, balance the stemless glassware on your palm while keeping it safe with your other hand’s grip. 

And now that you know how to hold a wine glass and why we do it, let’s buy wine glasses online and get some practice. Grassl Wine Glass is a high-end manufacturer producing artisan hand-blown stemware of the highest quality. If you’re holding a wine glass, ensure it is good!



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