Although many of us enjoy winding down with a glass of wine after a long day, plenty of people take wine drinking very seriously.
To some, it’s an art. To others, it’s way too gatekept.
Whatever side of the debate you’re on, and no matter how seriously you take your wine drinking, there IS such a thing as wine etiquette.
Certain situations require you to show that you know a thing or two about your wine – and how you hold your glass will determine whether you’re set up for success or failure.
So, how exactly do you hold a wine glass, and does it really matter if you get it wrong?
Let’s take a deep dive into the world of wine etiquette and brush up on your knowledge for the next event.
Holding A Wine Glass: Does It Matter?
It’s just a glass, right? Does it really matter how you hold your wine glass?
Truthfully, you can hold your glass any way you like. However, there are some situations where ‘wine etiquette’ is taken seriously.
You can expect a snap back if you’re not holding your glass correctly.
While no one wants to worry about being judged for the way they hold a glass (it’s seriously stupid when you think about it), you may just find yourself in a situation where these rules matter.
Learning the rules behind this peculiarly cult-like etiquette is fascinating, even if you’re not concerned about keeping up appearances.
Plus, you’ll get to show off in front of the connoisseurs (or even become one yourself).
So, if you’ve got a few minutes to spare, pull out your best-stemmed wine glass, and join us to find out how you should really be holding that glass.
How To Hold A Wine Glass
Using a stemmed wine glass? If so, you should be holding the stem between your thumb, forefinger, and middle finger, as close to the base as possible.
When you do this, your fingers will naturally rest on the glass’s base. Why should you do this? Well, there’s actually some practical logic behind it.
If you hold your glass at the stem, you’re less likely to get fingerprints all over the glass (not something you want if you’ve been tucking it into a heap of greasy food at a guest’s house).
There’s also the matter of temperature. If you hold your glass at the stem, your wine will stay cooler for longer.
Most wines are drunk at cooler temperatures to enhance their flavor; plus, warm wine isn’t always the nicest.
So, if you clutch at the base of the stem, you’ll be doing yourself (and your party host) a favor.
If you’re using stemless glass, this etiquette doesn’t apply. Just drink as you would from a normal glass, and don’t stress.
That’s it! Think about the design of a wine glass – a thin stem and a tall curved glass.
This design is made specifically to preserve the contents, and the way you hold your glass contributes to this.
All you need to remember is to clasp at the stem – it’s that simple.
How You Shouldn’t Hold A Wine Glass
If you want to avoid holding your glass the ‘wrong way,’ there are a few common mistakes you should avoid.
The first one is NOT to clasp your glass in the typical ‘housewives hold’ fashion. This means cupping the bowl of the glass between your fingers.
If you’re holding your drink like this for a while, you will end up with a warm glass of wine very quickly.
Cradling the bowl may LOOK classy, but practically, it’s useless. You should also avoid holding your glass like a beer, cupping the top rim.
This will also heat up your wine quickly, and if there are any wine-etiquette enthusiasts in your company, you can expect to be grilled for it.
If you want to boost your knowledge, terms have been coined to describe the most undesirable ways to hold a glass of wine.
We’ll run through them briefly below.
The Housewives Glass Hold
If you’ve ever held your glass directly by the bowl, you’ve been pulling off the housewives glass hold.
This got its name from the popularity of ‘housewives’ tv shows and the extra-large wine glasses they love.
Unfortunately, they all hold them from the bowl, which, to anyone big on wine etiquette, is a big no-no.
The Hail Mary Pass Hold
If you’ve got each and every finger on the bowl of your glass, it looks weird.
It’s also called the Hail Mary Pass Hold because it looks like you’re about to launch your pinot across the room at any given moment. This is one to avoid.
Should You Ever Hold Wine By The Bowl?
If you’ve gotten this far, there should be one very important tip you’ve ingested by now – do NOT hold your glass by the bowl.
The stem is always best. Is there ever a time when holding your glass at the bowl is necessary?
Well, actually, yes. Sometimes, wine is served FAR too cold.
Although wines are often served at cooler temperatures, some need a little bit of warmth to release their aromas and flavor profiles, especially if you’re drinking with a meal.
So, if you’re ever served a wine that’s too cold for your liking, it’s acceptable to hold it by ‘cupping’ the bowl for a short while to warm up your wine.
You’ll often see people doing this at restaurants when they want their wine to complement the flavors of their meal.
Wine: you either love it or hate it.
If you hate it because you’re deterred by the rules, etiquette, and (let’s face it) occasional snobbery of the pastime, you’re not alone.
Thankfully, few situations demand you to put your wine etiquette to the test but should you ever find yourself needing to demonstrate your ability to handle your glass, you should now be well prepared.
Remember – always hold from the stem (unless it’s too cold).