How to Hold a Wine Glass? (Beginner’s Guide)


Did you know there’s a correct way to hold a wine glass?

When I am handed a glass of wine at a party, a friend’s home or when I hand myself wine in my living room (we all do this from time to time right?), I generally don’t bother with the etiquettes of wine drinking. However, there are good reasons why those etiquettes are there in place. It’s a good idea to know why these etiquettes are in place.

First, we have to look into the root cause for the presence of these etiquettes, the Wine Glass. 

The Anatomy of Wine Glass 

Wine and wine glass aficionados tell that there are 7 parts for a wine glass. How crazy is that? Well, even though wine glasses come in all shapes and forms, we can consider 3 major part for a wine glass. The cup, stem and the base. From the picture, it is obvious what the parts are and the purposes they serve.

Note: We will be speaking about the wine glasses like the images shown in this article, not these particular ones. Although these are just as great!

It’s important to understand the structure or anatomy of the wine glass because it affects the flavors you experience. That way, for example the rim of the glass alone can affect the texture you perceive and overall flavor profile of your wine. It get’s pretty deep!

4 Correct Ways to Hold a Wine Glass

The wine glass could be held around the cup, it could be cupped in your hand with the stem between fingers, it could be held by the stem, or it could be held by the base. Let us go through each of these and know why you should or shouldn’t be holding a wine glass in that manner.

Also, grab yourself some fine wine glasses for practice here!

The Hug Hold

This is holding the glass around the cup of the wine glass. I call this the hug hold. Holding a wine glass in this manner is not advised for a few reasons.

  1. Chances of breaking the glass are high. Wine glasses are generally brittle in nature. I have broken one too many wine glasses. When the glass is held around the cup, a bit tighter grasp will shatter the glass and that’s not good, obviously.
  2. Smudging of Glass. Wine is generally served with appetizers or finger food. Maybe peanuts, maybe canapés. This makes your fingers sticky and will leave smudges on the glass. I don’t want to be seen holding smudged wine glass during a party. Even if there’s no food involved, fingerprints leave oily smudges.
  3. Swirling is not possible. Wine is swirled to open up the flavor of the wine. In hug hold, it’s difficult to swirl the wine. Again swirling in hug hold increases the chances of breaking the wine glass.

If you didn’t guess already, hug hold is not a good way to hold a wine glass. 

The Cupping Hold

This method of cupping the wine glass from under the cup with the stem wedged between fingers. It is not a desirable hold for the same three reasons as the hug hold.

Another reason why this hold should be avoided is that heat from our body will be transferred to the wine. Wine is most enjoyable at the right temperature for the particular variety served. Due to these reasons cupping hold is not preferred.

In case the wine served is a bit too cold, cupping hold will help to warm up the wine.

The Stalker Hold

Here, the wine glass is held by the stem/stalk. The stem is held between the thumb, the index finger and the middle finger. I call this stalker hold, with a little pun.

There is no downside for this hold. You leave no smudges on the glass. There’s no chance of breaking the glass with grip. The wine can be swirled to your satisfaction. This is the way wine glasses are held in most instances. 

The Acrobat Hold

This is when a wine glass is held by the base of the glass. Only experts with practice hold like this. Inexperienced hands might cause the glass to slip and shatter. Even worse, ruin the beautiful rug of your host.

This has the same advantages as stalker hold, just that more caution is needed. Holding the glass in this manner might also signal sophistication, which might be desired or not depending on the crowd around you.

The Stalker Hold is The Best

All things considered, stalker hold is the best way to hold a wine glass. It doesn’t leave smudges, has fewer chances of breaking the glass, wine can be swirled well and doesn’t interfere with the temperature of the wine.

What more can you ask?

Let us know what you think about these ways to hold your wine glass, what method do you like the best? Also, share this with a friend who holds wine glasses the wrong way, they might not even know it! And if you didn’t know already, Wine On My Time boasts an audience of over 20,000 wine lovers across the world, see why they engage with us here!

Check out some additional Wine on My Time articles and enhance your wine knowledge! Check out Beginner Wines You Need to TryWhat is the Best Wine for Weddings, or How to Cork Wine Correctly. Bottoms up! We’ll uncork ya later!! ?

Wine on My Time is a resource blog for wine lovers all across the world! We take pride in delivering the best quality wine material for our readers.Check us out on Instagram for daily wine content!

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