Wine Etiquette: How to Properly Hold a Wine Glass

Wine Etiquette: How to Properly Hold a Wine Glass

Let’s say you’re at a winery. Or a wine tasting. Or perhaps you’ve splurged to bring a date out for a nice night out on the town at a gorgeous, upscale Italian eatery. You want to impress the others and avoid standing out by doing something wrong. You’re handed a glass of wine. Quick—where do you hold it? Do you hold it by the stem or hold the bowl of the glass in your hand? On second thought—does it matter?


There is indeed proper etiquette when it comes to holding a wine glass. While more casual wine drinkers may find themselves cupping the bowl of the glass while conversing with friends, this is actually very improper and frowned upon. This is due to three reasons. First, by holding the bowl of the wine, you will likely put fingerprints on the bowl. This can detract from the fine appearance of the wine itself. Second, it can actually warm the wine up and change the flavor characteristics. Your body heat from your hand will warm the wine. When served at the proper temperature, wine enthusiasts can enjoy the best flavor and aroma of the wine. However, when warmed, this can greatly affect the taste. Third, by holding the wine glass in your hand, it can be difficult to distinguish the true color of the wine, especially with the greasy fingerprint marks.

So next time someone hands you a wine glass, make sure to hold the wine from the stem, underneath the “bowl.” This way, you have the ability to maintain the wine’s perfect serving temperature, keep the glass from unsightly fingerprints, and additionally, it will be much easier to swirl the wine and handle it by the stem itself than by cupping the underside of the glass.

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