How To Hold Wine Glasses

When it comes to savoring a glass of wine, there is more to it than just the flavor. The manner in which you hold your wine glass can greatly impact your overall enjoyment. As a …

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When it comes to savoring a glass of wine, there is more to it than just the flavor. The manner in which you hold your wine glass can greatly impact your overall enjoyment. As a passionate wine lover, I have devoted countless hours perfecting my wine glass holding technique. In this article, I will impart some advice and suggestions that will upgrade your wine drinking experience.

The Basic Grip

Let’s start with the basics. When holding a wine glass, you want to avoid gripping it tightly as it can warm up the wine and affect its taste. Instead, hold the glass by its stem. This allows you to admire the color and clarity of the wine, as well as prevent any fingerprints on the bowl.

My personal preference is to hold the stem between my thumb, index, and middle fingers. This provides a stable grip while still allowing me to twirl the wine gently in the glass, releasing its aromas and oxygenating it.

Tulip vs. Balloon Glasses

Now, let’s talk about the different types of wine glasses and how to hold them. Tulip glasses, also known as Bordeaux glasses, have a taller bowl and are ideal for full-bodied red wines. When holding a tulip glass, make sure to cradle the bowl with your palm and wrap your fingers around the stem. This helps to maintain the wine’s temperature and allows you to fully appreciate its complex aromas.

On the other hand, balloon glasses, also known as Burgundy glasses, have a wider bowl and are designed for lighter red wines and white wines. When holding a balloon glass, grip the stem with your thumb, index, and middle fingers, just like with the basic grip. This allows you to swirl the wine in the glass and capture its delicate aromas.

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Champagne Flutes

When it comes to champagne, it’s all about the bubbles. Champagne flutes are specifically designed to preserve the effervescence of the wine. When holding a champagne flute, grasp the stem just above the base. This helps to prevent the transfer of heat from your hand to the wine, as well as maintain the carbonation. Plus, holding a champagne flute by the stem adds an elegant touch to your overall drinking experience.

Special Considerations

While the majority of wine glasses are best held by the stem, there are a few exceptions. For certain dessert wines and fortified wines, such as port, it is recommended to hold the glass by the bowl. This allows you to warm the wine slightly and enhance its aromatic qualities.

It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re at a wine tasting event or a formal dinner, it’s considered good etiquette to hold the glass by the stem. This shows respect for the wine and demonstrates your knowledge and appreciation for the art of wine drinking.


In conclusion, the way you hold your wine glass can greatly impact your overall wine drinking experience. By holding the glass by the stem, you can maintain the wine’s temperature, prevent fingerprints, and fully appreciate the aromas. Whether you’re enjoying a rich Bordeaux, a delicate Pinot Noir, or a vibrant Champagne, mastering the art of holding wine glasses will enhance your enjoyment and allow you to savor every sip.

John has been a hobbyist winemaker for several years, with a few friends who are winery owners. He writes mostly about winemaking topics for newer home vintners.
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