How-to Guides Wine Culture

How To Hold A Wine Glass

Have you been invited to an important event where wine will be served? Are you new to drinking wine and wondering how to hold a wine glass without looking goofy or inexperienced? You’ve come to the right place to learn the proper way to hold your glass of wine so onlookers will judge you positively.

How to Properly Hold a Wine Glass

Believe it or not, there’s a right and a wrong way to hold a glass of wine. If you’re not comfortable with holding a wine glass, pay close attention and make the proper adjustments to correct your bad habits.

Most people who are unfamiliar with wine culture tend to hold wine glasses in the same way that they hold coffee mugs, shot glasses, or cups of juice. But wine glasses are unique in their shape and construction, and therefore, wine glasses should be treated differently and held according to proper etiquette.

Wine glasses are typically made with long, glass stems that act as a handle and separate the warmth of your hand from the chilled wine in the bowl. The proper hand position when holding a glass of wine is to pinch the lower part of the stem, near the base, with your thumb and forefinger. Firstly, this position will provide you with an adequate balance to maneuver the glass and avoid accidental spills. Secondly, this hand position provides a sufficient distance between your hand and the wine in order to maintain its coolness.

The Two-Hand Method

Another popular method of holding a wine glass properly is performed with two hands. This method involves one hand that lays flat with the palm upward while the base of the wine glass sits in the open palm. This provides a stable base for the glass and gives the drinker additional control. In this method, the second hand grips the stem of the glass in the traditional method and the glass is typically lifted with the gripping hand to take a sip.

One critique of the two-hand method is that it appears more feminine. Although that may be true to some, I’d much rather look a bit awkward and control my glass than look “manly” and spill it. To each his or her own.

The Wrong Way to Hold a Wine Glass

When considering an improper way to hold a wine glass, two approaches quickly come to mind. If you spend enough time around wine culture, you will see both of these often.

The first example of the wrong way to hold a wine glass is the grip around the rim of the glass. The method is usually done with two to three fingers and although the hand does not warm the wine in the glass, the fingers crowd the rim of the glass, leaving less room for the lips and placing fingerprints around the glass.

The second example of the improper way to hold a wine glass is the “bowl hold.” This method involves placing the stem of the glass between the index finger and middle finger, while holding the bowl of the wine glass in an upward-facing palm. Besides looking like an amateur wine drinker, holding the bowl of the glass in your palm will warm the wine, altering the taste and lessening the drinking experience.


Drinking wine in your private time should be a comfortable undertaking. Therefore, it’s okay to throw away the typical rules of the road and be yourself. But when you’re out and about at public wine events, remember the rules of etiquette because your presentation matters. Drink with confidence!

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