Tips on Holding a Wine Glass

Tips on Holding a Wine Glass Gracefully That Adds to Your Class

There are so many factors to think about, when it comes to the alcoholic spirit of wine. From the type of wine to suit the food, to the right way of opening the bottle, to the way it should be tasted. Here's another wine head-scratcher: how to hold your wine glass. Scroll below to learn the answer.
The art of dining and wining sounds easy. What's the big deal, pick up a fork and spoon and sip some wine? What is there to it? The fact is that fine dining involves a lot of manners and rules to follow, from the type of fork to use, to whether you should get a gift for your hosts. Amongst the many rules and etiquette, one very common etiquette, often done incorrectly, is the right way to hold a wine glass. This is an etiquette meant to be followed during social drinking occasions as well as wine-tasting parties. So to avoid committing a serious faux pas, read on to learn the right holding a wine glass etiquette.

The Art of Holding a Wine Glass

Wine is an alcoholic beverage that is in a class of its own, when it comes to taste and flavor. From the region where the grapes were grown to the color of the wine to the distilling technique used, there are a lot of factors that influence the feel and taste of wine. So it seems fitting that the beverage should also have different types of glasses to be served in. Based on the wine, the glass's overall shape and weight is meant to complement and enhance the drink being served.

For example, red wine is served in a glass with a rounder bowl and a large mouth to allow the drinker to inhale the rich aroma of the wine, while drinking. White wine is more narrow and tapering in a sort of U shape. A thin stem with a narrow body is the glass type for champagne and sparkling wines. The basic structure of the glass remains the same. The top is an opening with the glass's width widening at the middle or at its base and then a thin stem for support. Dos and don'ts of holding a wine glass properly include the following points:

Do not hold the glass by cradling the bowl in the palm of your hand. This may feel like a very natural way to hold the glass but it is not the right way. Why not? you may ask. Firstly if you are trying to become a wine connoisseur, then studying the color of the wine is something you need to do, prior to tasting it. However it's a bit difficult to see the color of the wine, when your fingers are obscuring the view. Plus you leave a nasty amount of fingerprints on the glass, which is a very serious social gaffe.

You need to swirl the contents of the glass prior to taking a sip. Swirling means a light and elegant hand movement. It does not mean violently shaking the glass, such that wine splashes around and falls out of the glass. So if you catch the glass by the bowl, your swirling is more violent in action and half your wine will be out of the glass.

Wine is served at an optimal temperature. Too cold and its taste will turn chilly and muted. Too warm and the wine will turn sharp or acidic in taste. Even a slight increase or decrease in temperature will change the flavor of the wine, for the worse. So holding a wine glass by the bowl, transfers your body heat to the wine in the glass, increasing the liquid's temperature. So that expensive Riesling that everyone else at the party is raving about, can end up tasting tart and bitter to you, due to holding your glass incorrectly!

There's something to be said for panache and style. The way your waiter stylishly pours the beverage into your glass; The way the wine is decanted; The way you drink your wine; It should all reflect and respect that essence of style. Especially with one of the most classiest of beverages. So do things right and grip the stem of the glass between the index finger and thumb. This posture also prevents you from guzzling or gulping down your wine (faux pas no 3).

Based on the amount of wine, holding a wine glass by its stem can be easy-peasy or unwieldy. If your glass is nearly full or even half full, then holding it by the stem is asking for a spill (faux pas no 4). So make sure that your wineglass is filled at a minimum, a quarter of the glass should be filled. At a maximum, a third of the glass should be filled. Remember to hold your hand over the glass to keep the waiter from refilling it.

The answer to the "how to hold a wine glass" question is always questioned by wine pundits. While by the stem is the recognized method, some experts feel it depends on the occasion. A crowded room, with tons of people rubbing shoulders, means protect your glass at all costs, difficult to do when holding it by the stem. In such cases, hold your glass by the bowl. But to show off your wine expertise, hold it by the stem and remain socially correct. Whatever you do, never hold your wine glass by the rim!
People drinking red wine at a restaurant
Smiling woman holding glass of sparkling wine
Flute of champagne silhouetted on white background
Red wine