How to Hold a Wine Glass (Advice from Experts)

How to hold a wine glass


Clutching your glass of wine like a steaming cup of hot cocoa may seem tempting, but we suggest you stray away from that method.


You can drink your beer out of a teacup or hide your Dr. Pepper in your water bottle, and no one will suspect a thing, but there’s a method to the madness of holding a wine glass (and it’s not that mad). Long story short, hold it by its stem.


Nowadays, you can grab a wine glass at the dollar store, and it’ll do the job just fine. To be historically correct, the wine glass was first made in Venice in 1400 when glass blowing was first invented. The bowl of the wine glass is a sacred space for the wine to settle and swirl. Heaven forbid you disrupt this magic by holding your wine glass by the bowl; the ultimate sin in the world of wine.


The proper approach to holding a wine glass is quite simple. Here is all you need to know to become a seasoned wine expert!


Why Proper Wine Etiquette Matters


Is anyone at a party or dinner really watching your wine-holding technique with the wine police on speed dial? Wine etiquette is a lot more important than you might think, it’s not just for show. 


Think of it this way: would you put cheap wheels on your expensive car? Probably not, because it would decrease the value and drive of the car. The same goes for wine; how you handle it can affect the whole experience.



Enhances the Flavor 

You thought swirling was left in dance class, huh? Well, swirling wine has been a tradition for ages because it lets the wine breathe (aerate, to be correct) and enhances the smell! Fun fact, taste is perceived more by smell than by taste buds!

Preserves the Temperature

Your hands emit heat, which can alter the temperature of the wine. You may not notice the difference a few temperatures can make, but the experts say that the perfect wine temperature stays between 62 and 68 degrees! (Make sure to store the wine correctly, too!)

The Perfect Amount

The right pour allows your wine just enough space to swirl around and refill a few times before getting too tipsy! A glass filled to the brim can easily spill, and heaven forbid you get red wine on your white shirt! Fill your glass a little less than halfway; 5 to 6 ounces is just right. 


hold to properly hold a wine glass


How to Hold a Wine Glass (With a Stem)

When sipping on Chardonnay, from Bordeaux to Pinot Noir, the variety of glasses to choose from is endless. There are three main types of wine glasses: full-bodied (or Bordeaux), medium-bodied, and light-bodied (or Burgundy).


Just remember, the less contact with the glass the better! Avoid the bowl of the wine glass like a groom avoids his crazy mother-in-law. Finally, choose a soft grip; after all, we’re drinking wine, not rock climbing.

  • Thumb and forefinger: Grasp the lower region of the stem with your thumb and forefinger while the other fingers rest on the base. 
  • Pinch the stem: Pinch the stem just above the base with your thumb and pointer finger. Use your other fingers to support the base of the glass.
  • Pinch at the base: Use your thumb and forefinger to grip the glass around where the stem and base meet.
How to hold a wine glass without a stem


How to Hold a Stemless Wine Glass


While a traditional wine glass is ideal, you may have to use a stemless wine glass in a pinch. After being warned never to hold a wine glass by the bowl, you might be confused when it comes to stemless wine glasses.


Whatever you do, don’t clutch your glass like a baseball. Hold it with your thumb, index finger, and middle finger. Let the rest of your fingers rest gently on the base of the glass underneath the cup.


This technique will keep your wine at the right temperature, and it directs any smudges to the bottom of the glass rather than leaving fingerprints along the rim! 


Holding wine glass


Is There an “Ideal” Way to Hold a Wine Glass? 


Of all the acceptable options, choose the one that feels the most comfortable.


After all, confidence is the best way to hold a wine glass. You will surely impress all your friends and family when you show them how to hold a glass and why wine etiquette matters.