The Proper Way On How To Hold A Wine Glass
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The Proper Way On How To Hold A Wine Glass

Men enjoying a French white wine

The Proper Way On How To Hold A Wine Glass

Anyone who drinks wine can tell you how relaxing and elegant of an experience it is. That brings up another aspect of drinking wine elegantly: Properly holding the glass.

That's right. The way you hold your wine glass can change your level of enjoyment. Below, Vint shares information on how to hold a wine glass the right way.

What are the Different Types of Wine Glasses?

Technically, you don't have to have an actual wine glass for drinking wine, but it is generally recommended to use a wine glass if you want to get the whole experience. The shape of the glass impacts a wine's aroma, color, taste, and other factors. There are several types of glasses, with each serving its purposes.

While there are multi-purpose glasses used for all varietals, most wine drinkers use specific glasses are used for red wine, white wine, dessert wine, sparkling wine, rosé, and other related beverages. For example, since red wines need additional exposure to oxygen, they are best served in a glass with a wide, round bowl. This allows the aroma of the wine to fill the air as you drink.

In contrast, white wine is typically served in glasses with a narrow bowl and brim. These glasses are the best fit because they need less exposure to oxygen and their aromas tend to be more delicate and ephemeral.

White wine tends to emit a delicate aroma, and a narrower glass helps to send the wine's smell directly to your nostrils. This aroma can enhance the taste.

What are the Parts of a Wine Glass?

  • Stem
  • The Rim
  • Bowl
  • Base

A wine glass consists of four components, each serving a unique function:

The Stem

For holding a wine glass, the stem is the most critical component, and it sits in the center of the glass. Stems are essential because they allow you to hold the glass without touching the bowl and swirl and aerate the wine.

Holding the stem is a must because the heat from your hands can warm the wine and completely alter the aromas and flavors. White wines are typically served below 50 degrees Fahrenheit to allow their bright acid to shine through and for aromas to emerge as you drink.

If you don't hold the wine by the stem, the wine will heat and taste sweeter. Red wines should be served at around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Holding these wines by the stems allows you to swirl and open up the bouquet as the wine slowly warms.

The Rim

At the top of the wine glass lies the rim. This component dictates the wine's exposure to oxygen, and the diameter of the rim varies by the glass. Because it is best for white wines to have limited exposure to air, the rims of white wine glasses are usually smaller.

The diameter and shape of your wine glass rim can significantly impact your tasting experience.

The Bowl

Also called the goblet, the bowl of a wine glass is the part that your whole drinking experience revolves around. After all, it's what holds your wine. Red wine glasses contain a wider bowl, while white wine glasses have a narrower bowl.

Because you will typically swirl red wine, a wider bowl helps to avoid spills. People swirl red wine to help release the aroma into the air.

The Base

The bottom of the glass consists of the base. Essentially, the base supports the glass when held or sitting on a table. As with rims, the shape and size of wine glass bases will vary by the glass and ideally be proportionate to the other components to provide balance.

How Should You Hold a Stemmed Wine Glass?

  1. Grasp the Stem Between Your First Two Fingers and Thumb
  2. Use Just Your Index Finger and Thumb
  3. Hold the Stem Just Over the Base
  4. Lever the Base With Your Thumb

As previously mentioned, it matters how you hold your wine glass because it can affect your whole experience. That said, as long as you have the right glass for the type of wine you are drinking, it matters less how you hold it. Here are a few of the most commonly accepted methods of holding stemmed wine glasses:

Grasp the Stem Between Your First Two Fingers and Thumb

Pinch the stem of the glass between your thumb, index, and middle finger. It is ideal to place your fingers close to the base on the lower half of the stem. As such, your pinky and ring finger should rest over the glass base.

This method is excellent for keeping your fingers off the bowl and providing stability. One of the most significant advantages of using stemmed glassware is that it prevents your hands from smudging the bowl. Plus, your fingers are not contacting where the wine resides, which means chilled wine can stay cooler for longer.

Use Just Your Index Finger and Thumb

The next method to consider is placing your hand near the bottom of the stem and base. Wrap your index finger around one side of the stem and support the other side of the stem with the tip of your thumb.

Then, curl your pinky, ring finger, and middle finger loosely into your palm (like you are making a fist). Typically, your three remaining fingers will not intentionally touch the bowl in this position.

Hold the Stem Just Over the Base

This way of holding your glass is classy-looking: Pinch the stem of your glass just above the base with only your thumb and index finger. These two fingers will lightly brush against the base top, and you will be supporting the bottom of the glass by holding your middle finger under the bottom of the base.

Your pinky and ring finger will rest in the position, and you can either press these fingers into your palm or allow them to fall in line with your middle finger.

Lever the Base With Your Thumb

This position looks a little riskier than it is. Essentially, you keep your thumb over the glass base while bolstering the underside of the base with your index and middle fingers. Using this technique, you will not touch the stem of the glass with any of your fingers.

The top of your index finger and middle finger can support the base, while your index finger, middle finger, ring finger, and pinky naturally curve into your palm.

With enough practice, you can use this elegant technique at dinner parties. Remember, it is the least stable of all the positions.

How Should You Hold a Stemless Wine Glass?

If you prefer to drink red wine out of a stemless glass, you have one technique that will work well. Essentially, you will hold your stemless glass like a regular beverage glass. But there is a caveat: You don't want to hold the glass at its center.

On the contrary, hold your stemless wine glass toward the rim by wrapping your fingers around the glass. If possible, try to limit contact with the glass to your index finger, middle finger, and thumb. By holding the glass higher up, you are reducing accidental heating of the wine from your hands.

"Wining" Down

Maybe you enjoy basking in the sunshine at vineyards or on your patio at home. Perhaps you love to wind down after a long day with a glass of red and your favorite TV show. Or, maybe you're a sucker for classy parties and other social events.

Whatever the case, there are many factors to consider to get the most out of your wine-drinking experience. Sure, the quality and style of wine you're drinking matter greatly. But other considerations like aerating the wine properly, trying out different regions, and using various types of glasses also matter.

It helps if you learn how to hold a wine glass properly. Consider the various types and parts of wine glasses, and experiment with different techniques until you find one that feels natural and allows you to hold your wine securely.

Visit Vint for more wine drinking tips or information on wine investments.


Wine Glasses Need Not Be Complicated—Here's the Lowdown | Food52

How & Why You Swirl Wine In Your Glass | VinePair

The Do's and Don'ts of Chilling Wine | WineEnthusiast

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