Here’s Exactly How the Experts Say You Should Hold Your Wine Glass *Eye-Roll*

You do you, but there really is a proper way. How many of your friends are about to fail the test?

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Proper Way to Hold Wine Glass & Why

We are absolutely not wine snobs around here and typically throw most “wine rules” out the window, but there’s one simple rule even I follow and something that my friends and I always side-eye each other about when we notice someone doing it “wrong.”  Of course, I’m talking about the age old question:  What’s the right way to hold my wine glass?

So, pour yourself a glass, sit back, and get ready to learn a little bit about how this all works.  Please note, there are some who won’t fully agree with me and I’m not here to start war (like Miley Cyrus), but just want to share how I hold my wine glass, how I’ve been told to hold my wine glass, and how the experts I’ve consulted (see below) are holding their wine glasses.  Let’s do this!

So How Are You Really Supposed to Hold a Wine Glass?

As an amateur professional wine drinker one of the things I often notice when observing other wine drinkers is how they hold their glass of wine. While it may seem like a small detail, the way you hold your wine glass can actually have an impact on the way the wine tastes and smells.

Without further ado, it’s important to hold the wine glass by the stem. This may seem counterintuitive, as most glasses are designed with a bowl or cup-shaped vessel, which may make it feel more natural to hold the glass by the bowl. However, by holding the glass by the stem, you can avoid warming the wine with the heat from your hand. Warming the wine can alter its taste and aroma, especially in the case of white wines, which are often served chilled.  But red wine lovers you’re not off the hook either.  This can impact the taste and aroma of reds too.

How to Properly Hold a Wine Glass and Why

Why Else Is It Important to Hold Your Wine Glass By the Stem?

Holding the glass by the stem also allows you to notice the wine’s color and clarity more easily.  Yes, really.  If you’re looking to be proper, this is an important factor – even according to the very proper Martha Stewart. By holding the glass up to the light, you can examine the wine’s hues and viscosity, which can provide clues about the wine’s age, grape varietal, and even the region in which it was produced.  It’s a fun game to play with friends all at the same time.  Who can be more pompous?  I joke.

If you really want to split hairs, there’s an entire theory where it’s also important to avoid touching the rim of the glass with your fingers or lips. Doing so can leave smudges or residue on the glass, which can detract from the wine’s appearance and even transfer oils from your skin to the glass. This can affect the wine’s aroma and flavor, as the oils can interfere with the wine’s natural characteristics.

What About Holding the Glass By the Base?

Good news!  While I’ve focused mainly on holding it by the stem and why it matters, the pros at Wine Enthusiast Magazine give their official stamp of approval on holding the glass, technically, by the base.  The base (the flat piece below the stem) can be held by pinching it with your thumb and forefinger.  Personally, I never hold it this way as it always makes me feel like my entire glass is about to tip over at a moments notice, or if a light breeze kicked up.

To Conclude Our Annoying Lesson

In conclusion, the way in which you hold your glass of wine can have a significant impact on the way the wine tastes and smells. By holding the glass by the stem, avoiding touching the rim of the glass, and taking small sips of wine, you can fully appreciate the wine’s characteristics and enhance your overall wine drinking experience.  

Plus, once you start holding it by the stem when you’re out with your friends you can point at all the people holding their glass the wrong way.  And don’t even get me going on those stemless wine glasses.  The horror!

If you found this little lesson helpful, check out some additional wine-related topics we’ve covered here like the main differences between Champagne vs. Prosecco, why “5” is the magic number of glasses you can squeeze out of a wine bottle, and why one of our favorite cheap rosé brands is only $15.  The more you know!