Wine is a luscious drink with its roots in many cultures around the world. While it’s much more accessible today than it was in the past, that doesn’t make it easy to understand.

From swirling wine around to storing wine in your cellar, there are several fascinating techniques used to drink wine. Among the most important factors is learning how to properly hold a wine glass. If you’re thinking of hosting a party in the future, this is one skill you’ll be glad you added to your repertoire.

It’s time to put down your fears of appearing culturally backwards. We’re going to explore how to hold a wine glass for every type and occasion.

Woman holding a wine glass stem filled with red wine.

What Makes a Wine Glass so Important?

You may wonder what the function of a wine glass design is. The tall, elegant style is more than just for looks: it actually improves the flavor of the wine.

Wine is crafted using a mixture of artistry and science. From the moment wine is stored to the second you open it, the liquid is going through a complex chemical shift. While wine glass styles will shift here and there, they’re all designed with the purpose of giving you the best flavor and aroma experience.

The tulip-like design of the glass is designed to push out the wine’s aroma, resulting in a richer drinking experience.

Should I Swirl and Sniff Before Drinking?

You may have noticed wine drinkers swirling their wine a few times before taking a sip. This motion is done to encourage the aroma chemicals to stick to oxygen, resulting in a better-smelling vintage.

What are Wine Legs?

Have you noticed long streaks of liquid moving down the sides of your wine glass? These are known as ‘legs’ (and sometimes ‘wine tears’). This sight is a sign of alcohol slowly evaporating from your glass.

Related: Buying a Case of Wine [ULTIMATE BUYER’S GUIDE]

Hand pouring red wine into a tall, rounded wine glass.

How to Hold a Wine Glass With a Stem

Holding a wine glass can come off as daunting. The delicate materials and long stem are worlds removed from your ceramic coffee mug.

There’s a method to wine culture’s madness. Holding a wine glass properly means you’ll achieve two important things: looking classy and keeping your wine temperature stable. 

Step #1: Grasp the Stem Between Two Forefingers and Thumb

Don’t grab your glass by the base or by the cup! Pinch the stem between two forefingers and your thumb. Your ring finger and pinky finger should be resting gently atop the base.

Step #2: Maintain Your Grasp Right Above the Base

Holding your wine glass too close to the cup will distribute weight unevenly, leaving you feeling unsteady. Make sure to position your hand closer to the base, using your thumb to rest opposite your forefingers.

Step #3: Rest the Base on Two Fingers

Your last step may seem a little odd, but it’ll result in a traditional, relaxed appearance. Two fingers should still be pinching the stem of the glass near the base. 

Gradually shift the base of the glass to rest above your ring finger and pinky finger.

Related: What is Port Wine? (Learn What You’re Missing)

Wine is a delightful experience from beginning to end. We offer a variety of carefully selected stemware, barware, and accessories so you can get the most out of your vintage.

How to Hold a Wine Glass Without a Stem

For more casual settings, you can also try a wine glass without a stem. While most commonly used for the ever-popular red wine, you can still use these dainty beauties with white or rosé varietals. 

These glasses are fantastic for get-togethers with friends or a solo movie night with your cat.

Step #1: Hold the Glass Close to the Base (But Not Too Close)

These glasses are popular with newcomers and wine aficionados alike for their ease of use. Pick up the glass close to the base where the cup starts to widen out. 

Step #2: Balance the Bottom of the Glass on Two Fingers

Use your ring finger and pinky finger to hold the bottom of your glass. It should rest comfortably in a relaxed grip. 

If you feel like you have to grasp the glass too hard, you may need to buy a smaller cup.

Step #3: Find a Comfortable Position Just Above Your Wine

Remember not to hold your stemless wine glass too much. The warmth of your hand will heat up the wine excessively, altering its delicate flavors. 

Find somewhere to rest your wine glass in-between sips, like a side-table or a coffee table. Make sure it’s somewhere that won’t be bumped into easily.

Related: 5 Unique Wine Glasses to Add to Your Collection

A glass of white wine and dark red wine next to green and purple grapes.

Holding a Wine Glass Final Thoughts

Holding a wine glass is a subtle skill, but one you’ll be glad to learn. With a little practice, you’ll get to the point where you can even teach others.

Holding a wine glass with a stem is a balancing act, designed to distribute the weight of the cup and the wine evenly. This not only looks elegant, but keeps you from indirectly warming your wine through contact with the glass. Stemless wine glasses have a similar approach with fewer steps. 

Are you giving your home wine corner a makeover for the new year? Drop us a line to learn about our shipping policy so you can stock up on stemware and barware.