How To Hold a Wine Glass

If you are visiting a vineyard or wine tasting, chances are you’ll be expected to follow the correct wine etiquette. Wine tasting has become a form of art and even holding the glass has its own rules which has become important to the community.

We’ve gathered everything you need to know about holding a wine glass so you’ll be the connoisseur amongst your friends in no time. 

Choosing the glass

Before you even hold the glass, you need to make sure you are choosing the correct glass which can be determined by the type of wine you are tasting.

Technically, you can drink wine from anything whether it is a mug or straight from the bottle. However, for those who want the full wine tasting experience, it goes without saying that a fine wine glass is the best option. 

Wine glasses are designed to suit a particular type of wine so you can have a suitable amount to compliment a meal. The shape of the glass can also influence the overall taste and experience you get when trying the wine.

This is because the positioned density of the vapors are affected differently depending on the shape of the glass. These vapors will determine how the aromatic compounds will respond.

The simplest way to think about it is that red wine glasses tend to have a big round bowl because of the fuller flavor and rich aroma. The larger bowl allows a good amount of oxygen to enter the wine before tasting which enhances and matures the flavor further.

On the other hand, white wine glasses have a narrower bowl and rim to compliment the delicate flavors that come with white wine. The narrowness allows the subtle notes to reach your nose. 

How to hold a wine glass

1. Holding the stem

The first step is to hold the stem using your thumb and first two fingers while your hand supports the base. The way you need to approach holding the stem is delicate so it feels balanced, comfortable and supported throughout. Make sure that only the thumb, index finger and middle finger are coming into contact with the glass stem. 

2. Pinching the stem

The next step is pinching the stem. As mentioned earlier, it’s important not to hold the stem too aggressively. You need to make sure that your index finger is wrapped around the stem and supported on the other side with the tip of the thumb.

With your hand positioned at the bottom of the stem, you should find that the three fingers used to pinch the stem come around naturally and the rest of your fingers can be curled up into a fist. 

3. Grabbing the stem

Now you need to grab the stem using the index finger and thumb from above the base. If they brush against the top of the base then don’t worry as this can happen.

Your middle finger should support the glass from underneath the base as you grab the stem and your other fingers should then follow as they will naturally follow the weight.

4. Levering the base

The last step is levering the base which will ensure that the glass is thoroughly supported throughout to prevent any accidents. This is done by keeping your thumb at the base while supporting the underside of the base with the middle finger and index finger.

This method means that none of the fingers actually touch the stem of the glass as your fingers will curl into the palm and only the top parts of the middle and index fingers will be supporting the base. As this technique can be tricky to master initially, it’s best to practice by yourself before you go to the wine tasting.

Not only will this help to avoid any spillage or damage but will also boost your confidence in learning about wine tasting etiquette. 


If you’re new to the world of wine tasting then the best thing to do is not panic. Easier said than done, but panicking will mean that you’re more likely to spill the wine and you’ll also find yourself not having a fun time.

Holding a wine glass is the first process to master when it comes to being a true wine connoisseur and once you’ve managed to hold the glass like a professional, the rest will come to you naturally. 

Christina Day
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