Whether you’re new to wine or just don’t normally drink vino outside the comfort of your own home, there may be some wine glass etiquette you’re not aware of. After all, when you’re so focused on the amazing aroma and flavor of your favorite wine, it’s easy to forget about any rules regarding how to enjoy this drink—such as how to properly hold a wine glass. You should just drink it the way you want to, right?
Well, sort of. Indeed, it’s totally up to you to decide what foods to pair with your wine, where to store the bottle, and how to hold the glass. But it turns out that all the ideas on wine etiquette you’ve heard exist for a reason, as following them will improve your wine drinking experience.
Learning how to properly hold a wine glass is no exception. So if you’re ready to boost your enjoyment of wine by following the right wine glass etiquette, here are some suggestions on how to hold your wine glass for best results—and why it matters.
Wine Glass Etiquette When Your Glass Has a Stem
If your wine glass has a stem, the proper protocol is to hold onto it. There are a few ways to do this, and the option you choose is up to you. But the bottom line is that you should avoid touching the bowl of the glass—where the wine is—as much as possible. Why?
Well, there are two main reasons that wine glass etiquette states to hold the glass by the stem. The first is to keep the wine at a cool temperature. White wine is typically meant to be sipped at temperatures around 49 to 55 degrees, while red wine is best between 62 and 68 degrees.
So whichever type of wine you have, it should remain a little below room temperature—and certainly below the average body temperature of 98.6 degrees! As a result, the less you touch the wine glass with your warm hands, the better. Warming up the wine to be anywhere near your body temperature will change the flavor for the worse.
Another reason to follow wine glass etiquette is to keep the glass looking clean. When you hold the glass by the stem, you avoid getting fingerprints all over the bowl. While this might not matter to you if you’re enjoying wine at home, it’s proper etiquette to keep the glass looking clean in social situations, such as during a wine tasting.
How to Hold a Wine Glass
Now that you know why it’s so important to know how to properly hold a wine glass, it’s time to learn the most common ways to do it. One option is to hold the stem between your index finger, middle finger, and thumb. Then rest your ring finger and pinky on top of the base of the glass to keep them away from the bowl.
Another way to hold the glass is to wrap your index finger around one side of the stem toward the bottom and then put your thumb on the other side. In this way, your index finger and thumb will be pinching the stem of the glass while the rest of your fingers curl up in your palm.
When you follow this wine glass etiquette, your glass will be properly supported, yet none of your fingers will touch the bowl where the wine is sitting. This will keep your wine cool and the glass free of fingerprints. But if you find another way to hold your glass that provides the same results while feeling more comfortable for you, feel free to do that, as the way you hold your wine glass is ultimately up to you!
Wine Glass Etiquette for Stemless Glasses
If you’re at a restaurant or bar that serves wine in stemless glasses—or perhaps you prefer to use stemless glasses at home—the wine glass etiquette is a little different. After all, there’s no stem to hold as you sip your wine!
How to Properly Hold a Wine Glass That Has No Stem
Even though you don’t have a stem to grasp, you should still follow the basic guidelines of doing what you can to keep your fingers away from the wine, so you don’t warm it up. For a stemless glass, this means holding the glass toward the base, not the top or middle. You can wrap your thumb around one side, and on the other side, wrap as many fingers around it as you need to keep it stable.
For most people, the index and middle finger on one side should be sufficient, with the thumb on the other side. The pinky and ring finger can go underneath the stemless wine glass or extend out from it, depending on what’s comfortable for you.
Whatever you decide on, keep in mind that wine glass etiquette says you’re supposed to be making as little contact with the wine as you can. Since you can’t completely avoid holding the part of the glass where the wine is, you should keep the glass on the table any time you’re not taking a sip. If there’s no table around you, you can set the stemless glass on the palm of one hand and hold it near the base with the other hand for stability.
Now that you know how to properly hold a wine glass, you should test out your wine glass etiquette by setting up a day to drink some vino with friends and family. Whether you meet at a restaurant or plan a fun wine tasting trip, you’ll get some practice holding your wine glass while making memories with loved ones over your favorite drink. Of course, you can do the same at home as long as you have some delicious reds and whites to choose from, so stock up from Sweet Oaks today!