Red Wine, White Wine

How to Hold a Wine Glass Like a Sommelier

Want to hold your wine glass like a seasoned sommelier? 

Wine is one of entertaining powerhouse, Fran Berger’s, greatest passions. She believes a bottle of bubbly should be opened for any and every occasion. After over 20 years in the industry, she has evolved her iconic experience into designing a wine glass collection to bring to your own personal gatherings. 

This article will cover the proper methods for holding different types of wine glasses so that you can experience the best characteristics of your drink in a stylish and functional way.


Why You Need to Hold Your Wine Glass Properly

From temperature to comfort, holding your wine glass correctly undoubtedly enhances the entire drinking experience, in part because it helps preserve the wine’s temperature, which allows the aroma and taste to fully unravel, enriching each one of your senses in every sip. Depending on the glass you use, there are ways to properly hold it so that you experience everything the winemaker hoped you’d enjoy.


How to Hold A Wine Glass By The Stem

Holding a top-heavy wine glass can feel awkward and uncomfortable. While there is no single proper etiquette for holding a wine glass by the stem, there are several ways you can choose to do so that are considered appropriate. 

To determine how you want to hold your wine glass by the stem, choose the method that gives you a balance of both comfortability and stability.

  • Method 1: This is the most convenient way to hold your wine glass. Pinch the lower part of the stem between your thumb and index (pointer) finger. You can also use three fingers - thumb, index, and middle finger. This method is useful if you prefer to swirl your wine before tasting.
  • Method 2: If you’ll feel more confident holding your glass with extra stability, this is a great method to use. Hold the glassware stem by pinching it with your thumb and index finger slightly above the base. This creates a balance between the weight of your hand and the weight of the contents in your glass and allows you to have a firm grip
  • Method 3: To give you more control for tilting your glass, hold the stem just below the bowl by pinching it between your thumb and index finger and curling your hand slightly towards your face. This method is both comfortable and allows you to swirl the wine and tilt the glass with leisure. 
  • Method 4: When you want to have a better view of your wine, hold the glass by the base with your thumb holding the top of the base and your index and middle finger underneath the base to support it from the bottom. This is a great method for observing the different color hues of the wine in your glass.


How to Hold Stemless Wine Glasses

Stemless wine glasses are primarily used when drinking red wines. These modern wine glasses are often seen in airlines, hotels, and bars. Though they are not as commonly used in significant dining occasions, you may arrange an event where you choose to use them.

Here are some of the proper etiquette guidelines for holding a stemless wine glass skillfully and confidently: 

  • Unlike stemmed glasses, maintaining the proper temperature of your drink in a stemless glass is harder, as it's impossible to avoid touching the bowl. 
  • It is best not to hold a stemless glass from the top or middle of the bowl. Instead, hold it towards the bottom part of the glass using only your thumb, index finger, and middle finger. If the glass feels unstable, you can curl your ring and pinky fingers directly underneath your middle finger for extra support.
  • To avoid warming your wine, hold the stemless glass as little as possible and only when you're about to drink. Find a table or surface to rest your glass on between sips. If the wine is too cold, you can cup your hands around the body of the glass until it is the appropriate temperature.

Learning to hold a wine glass is only one part of wine etiquette. There are several other acceptable behaviors to remember for your next classy wine gala.


Other Wine Glass Etiquette Tips to Remember

How Much to Fill up Your Glass

The amount of liquid in your glass can greatly affect the weight of it in your hand. This can make it too heavy to hold firmly or too light to remain stable, so pouring the right amount of wine can elevate the entire drinking experience. 

When pouring the contents into your glass, it’s important to consider the following standards:

  • Wine glasses are commonly filled with no more than 5 ounces each. According to Lucaris Crystal, it is “universally agreed that there are five glasses of wine per standard 750ml bottle.” 
  • Filling a wine glass partially allows room for the wine to breathe and release its aroma and tasting notes.
  • Protect the aromas by not overfilling the glass

Follow these guidelines for your wine of choice:

  • Red Wine: Fill ⅓ of the glass for red wines and red blend, but be aware of how large the glass may be. Fran loves a really large wine glass and each of her Signature Red Wine Glasses can hold a full bottle of wine! Pay attention to the ‘waist’ of the glass and pour below that.
  • White Wine: Fill ½ of the glass for white wines, but again be aware of how large the glass may be. 
  • Sparkling Wine: Fill ¾ of the glass for sparkling wines and Champagnes

Different glasses for different wine types are recommended, such as a wider red wine glass and a slightly narrower glass with a smaller bowl for white wine. 

Rest Your Glass

If your hand gets tired of holding the wine glass, you don’t have to hold it for the entire event. You can rest it somewhere in close vicinity, but be sure to remember which glass is yours! Wine charms are a good way to always know which glass is yours.

If you're seated at a table, the proper placement for your wine glass is in the top right corner of your setting next to your water glass. 

Sip From One Spot On The Glass

If you want to keep your wine glass crystal clear and smudge-free throughout your celebration, try to sip from the same spot on the rim every time. Sipping from various spots around the rim can make it appear dirty and leave lipstick or food marks. 

Examine the Wine Color

Examining the color of your wine is proper etiquette for the drinking experience. The color of your wine can indicate a lot: grape variety, flavors, acidity, texture and more. 

Observe the color of your wine before you taste it by looking through the top or the side of the glass. As you observe, tilt the glass slightly and take notice of the different hues within the wine. Place the glass under a light source for better visibility if the contents are hard to see. 

Swirl Before You Drink

Wine is primarily “tasted” through the nose because of the many different unique aroma compounds. By swirling your wine, you can accelerate the oxidation and evaporation processes in the glass (much like using a wine decanter). This helps separate the aromas in the wine, enhancing both the smelling and tasting experience.

For the best results, pinch the lower part of the stem between your thumb and index (pointer) finger and slowly swirl the contents within your glass. You only need to swirl for 10-15 seconds. If you're worried about spilling your wine while swirling, you can place your wine glass on a flat surface, hold the stem, and then swirl in small, gentle, circular movements.


Get The Best Stemware In Your Hand from Fran

Holding your glass like a skilled wine connoisseur will allow you to fully enjoy the contents of your favorite bottle of wine. Use this guide to find the best method for holding your glass both properly and comfortably.

According to Fran Berger, the experience of holding a wine glass is not complete without ensuring you have the right wine glass in hand. Glassware is the natural first product offering in the Fran Berger Living collection that brings Fran Berger’s distinguished, sophisticated lifestyle experience to your own everyday gatherings. Personally designed by Fran, these red and white wine glasses will surely elevate your drinking experience.



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