How to Hold a Wine Glass

Never guess what’s deemed the “proper” way again.

  • Team Made In
  • Sep 19, 2022
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Whether you enjoy the occasional glass of moscato or consider yourself a full-fledged wine connoisseur, knowing how to properly hold a wine glass is key. Not only does holding a wine glass properly reduce your chances of an accidental spill (or worse, a broken glass), but the right technique can also enhance your tasting experience overall. Learn how it’s done below.

How to Hold a Stemmed Wine Glass

If you're drinking wine out of a classic stemmed wine glass, there are a few different methods to choose from. Try each and determine which is most comfortable and enjoyable to you.

By the Stem

If you prefer not to get fingerprints or smudges on the bowl of the glass itself, you might prefer to hold it directly by its stem. To do this, grab the stem directly above the base of the glass and pinch it with your thumb and index finger. This will provide some additional support from the base of the glass, reducing the likelihood that you may accidentally tip or spill your glass.

By the Bowl

Some people opt for stemless wine glasses, which eliminates the fear of breaking the stem. For this style of glass, you hold it directly by the bowl itself. This does tend to cause smudges to form on the glass, but also provides a lot of stability. If you decide to go this route, just be sure that the wine glass you're holding has a thicker layer of glass around the bowl. Otherwise, you might actually crack or break the glass if your grip is too strong. We don't recommend this for stemmed wine glasses however, as it can cause the wine to warm, changing its flavors.


Many people choose a combination of the above methods when holding a classic stemmed wine glass. This involves holding the stem of the glass just below the bowl itself. This allows you to enjoy plenty of stability and control without getting too many fingerprints on the bowl of the glass. When using this method, pinch the stem between your thumb and index finger while curling your hand around the base of the bowl.

Does It Really Matter?

With all these different methods for holding a wine glass, you may be wondering to yourself whether it really matters which method you choose. The reality is that if you really care about maximizing your taste experience and avoiding accidents, it does matter quite a bit how you hold your wine glass.

For example, if you don't want smudges or fingerprints on your glasses, then knowing how to properly and securely hold your glass without touching the bowl is a must. Likewise, if you're drinking white wine (which tends to be served chilled), then holding your glass by the stem will prevent heat from your hands from transferring to the wine and affecting its temperature and flavor.

Finally, proper handling of a wine glass reduces the risk of spilling or accidentally breaking a glass. It also makes it easier to swirl, smell, taste, and enjoy your wine.

Additional Wine Etiquette Tips

Now that you have a handle on how to hold a wine glass, there are a few more etiquette tips worth keeping in mind.

Use the Correct Glass

Make sure you're using the correct glass for the type of wine you're enjoying. Wine glasses are specifically designed to improve the flavors of the wine they’re meant to serve, hence the slightly different shapes between glasses made for red or white wine. White wine glasses generally have a smaller and narrower bowl, whereas red wine glasses feature a wider bowl that allows the aromas of the wine to waft.

Never Fill Your Glass to the Top

As tempting as it can be, you should avoid filling your wine glass to the top if you really plan on savoring the flavor and experience. Instead, filling your glass to just about a third of the way full will make it easier to swirl the wine, enjoy its aromas, and make the most of the tasting experience.

Swirl Before You Drink

Swirling your wine doesn't just make you look like an experienced connoisseur, but it also releases the wine's aromas and accelerates the oxidation process that gives wine its best flavor. To swirl your wine, simply keep the glass on a flat surface, hold the stem firmly, and move it in small circular motions for about 10 seconds.

Ready to Shop?

Now that you know how to properly hold a wine glass, it's time to make sure your kitchen is outfitted with the right glasses no matter the occasion. Our Italian-made Wine Glasses are designed to enhance the robust flavors of red or the delicate notes of white. In addition to being a sophisticated addition to any table, they’re also dishwasher safe and feature titanium-reinforced stems. Shop our Wine Glass Set for four of each.

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