What Is The Best Way To Hold A Wine Glass?

Everyone knows that there are different types of wine as well as different types of wine glasses but did you know that there are the right ways to hold your wine glass? In this article, we will discuss the right and wrong ways of holding a wine glass which will hopefully help you to get the most out of your beverage.  

Different Types of Wine Glass

Let’s first take a look at the different types of wine glasses. This will help you to choose the right one for the wine you are drinking.

1 – Stemmed Wine Glasses

These are the traditional wine glasses that have been used for years, both at home and on formal occasions. As the name suggests, they have stems. 

Stemmed wine glasses are better than stemless because they can preserve the temperature and quality of the wine, that is, as long as you hold them properly.

2 – Stemless Wine Glasses

Stemless wine glasses have become more popular over the last couple of decades. You might be presented with one on airplanes and in hotels, and of course, you can use them at home.

Although they might be easy to hold, you can change the temperature of the wine by holding the bowl for too long. 

Different Types of Wine Glass Based on Wine Type

White Wine Glasses

White wine glasses have smaller bowls than red wine glasses. The walls of the white wine glass are also less curved and the glasses have narrower openings than red wine glasses.

Red Wine Glasses

Red wine glasses have larger bowls than white wine glasses. This is because they are generally more full-bodied than white wines and have bolder aromas. The larger bowls allow more air to interact with the wine. This allows the flavors to open up and display themselves. White wines don’t need as much aeration. 

Large Wine Glasses

Large wine glasses are also called goblets, Cabernet glasses, or Burgundy glasses. They are best used for vintage wines. This is because aged wines have intense aromas. These will come out faster in a bigger glass with a wide rim. It is also easier to swirl the wine in a goblet. By swirling the wine, you will be able to see the color better and the action releases the bouquet of the wine. The aromas attach themselves to the oxygen in the air which helps separate the aromas. You will have a far better experience drinking the wine if you swirl it.

Champagne Glasses

Champagne glasses are also called flutes and most people wouldn’t dream of serving champagne in anything else. However, because they have a narrow rim, you don’t get very strong aromas. It is better to serve them in an ordinary wine glass but it doesn’t look quite as special. The choice is yours.

How Should You Hold a Wine Glass?

We all have our personal preferences when it comes to holding a wine glass. As long as you feel comfortable, then that’s fine. However, there are right ways to hold wine glasses and these will enhance your drinking experience. If you are interested in finding out more, carry on reading.

How Do You Hold a Stemmed Wine Glass?

There are three different ways in which you can hold a stemmed wine glass.

At the Bowl

The bowl holds the wine and if it’s too small, it will be difficult to swirl the wine and take in the aromas. If it is too big, the aromas may disperse too quickly. 

It’s not a good idea to hold the glass with your hand around the bowl as this will change the temperature of your wine. Nobody wants to drink warm wine. You can, however, hold it underneath the surface of the bowl with your palm facing upwards. This can, however, still warm the wine up though not as quickly. Perhaps only do this if your wine is too cold. 

At the Stem

Holding your wine at the stem is the recommended method as the heat from your hand won’t reach the wine. 

You can hold the wine glass in the middle of the stem if you find this comfortable. Alternatively, hold the bottom part of the stem with your index and middle fingers and thumb, with the other two fingers at the base. The second method is probably the best as it keeps the glass steady. You won’t then spill any of the wine. 

At the Base

This method isn’t recommended as the glass won’t be steady and you might spill some of the wine. However, if this is your choice then go with it. Put all your fingers and thumb underneath the base, pressing the top of the base with your thumb. Unfortunately, this doesn’t look particularly elegant so if you are at a formal dinner party, we suggest that you hold the wine glass at the stem. What you do at home is your choice. 

How Do You Hold a Stemless Wine Glass?

The only place that you can hold a stemless wine glass is around the bowl. This is not an ideal scenario as the warmth of your hand will warm up the wine. Perhaps try and hold the glass above the line of the wine to limit contact. However, the quality of the wine will still be affected. 

The best way to drink wine out of a stemless wine glass is to take a sip of the wine and then put the glass on the table. Only hold it when you intend to drink. In this way, your hands will have very little contact with the glass. It will also be more comfortable as nobody wants to hold a glass for too long. 

You can hold the glass at the base but your hand will still have too much contact with the wine and in addition, it doesn’t look particularly stylish. 

Things to Remember When Holding a Wine Glass

  1. When holding a stemmed wine glass, the best way to hold it is by the stem. You can hold it at the base but this doesn’t look elegant and it can be uncomfortable. If you hold it around the bowl, you will have to accept that the warmth of your hand will warm the wine. If you do this, take a sip and then put the glass down until you want to drink again.
  2. If you have a stemless wine glass, you will have to hold it either on the base or around the bowl. Both will warm up the wine which is why we advocate using a stemmed glass. Of course, if you are out in a bar, you have no choice. In this case, put your glass down after every sip to help preserve the temperature of the wine. 

Why You Should Hold Your Wine Glass Properly

Perhaps you think that you should hold your wine glass the way you want and, of course, you have this prerogative. However, this is not what our article is about. We want to show you how you can get the best out of your wine and this can be achieved through the way you hold your glass. 

These are the reasons we think you should hold your wine glass correctly. 

1. You won’t spill the wine.

If you hold the glass at the base, the chances are high that you might spill the wine. If you’re at home on your own, that won’t matter but if you’re at a party or a formal gathering, it will be embarrassing. Holding the glass by the stem will balance it perfectly so you will be able to take a sip without spilling any. 

In addition, if you hold your wine glass by the stem, you won’t end up with streaks on the glass. If you hold it by the bowl, there will be streaks and the glass won’t look nice. 

2. Hand heat changes the quality of the wine.

If you hold your wine glass by the bowl, the heat from your hand will warm up the wine and both the nose and the flavor of the wine will change, and not for the better.

Just think about how wine is stored at a winery. It is kept in a wine cellar at a certain temperature. If the temperature changes, the wine can be ruined. The same happens when you open a bottle of wine. Red wine should be served at 60 -70 F. White and rose wines should be served at 50 – 60 F. Sparkling wine should be served at 40 -50 F. If you hold the bowl, these temperatures will rise and the wine will lose flavor and aroma. 

Because of this, we recommend that you hold the wine glass by the stem, not the bowl. 

3. Elegance

If you are at a gathering, you will come across as sophisticated if you hold your wine glass correctly and this isn’t a bad thing. This is particularly important if you are at a business gathering. Your promotion could hang on the way you present yourself so it wouldn’t do any harm to hold your wine glass properly.


As you can see, wine glasses differ according to wine type, not that you are always served the right glass when you are in a restaurant or bar. Still, it is good to know that you can use the right glasses if you have people over. There’s nothing wrong with being sophisticated. 

We have told you how to hold a wine glass, whether it is stemless or with a stem. We recommend that you use glasses with stems as you get a better wine experience especially if you hold them with the stems. If you only have a stemless glass, limit the time you hold the glass otherwise the wine will warm up. 

In the end, it is up to you how to hold your wine glass. We have just tried to point you in the best direction. Happy drinking!

Leave a Comment