How to hold a wine glass

I’ve taken some slack from friends and contemporaries lately for being a “wine snob”. I really don’t think of myself as an “anything snob”, but…

Last night I attended a very nice Friday night dinner with guys I play basketball with. Two of the players hosted the meal. At the dinner as we were all enjoying some wine I was reminded of an episode with a friend and fellow baller. This friend was at a wine tasting thrown in the apartment of a 3rd friend (also a fellow baller) where I not too subtly pointed out a problem with his glass. It was FILTHY. Some of the snacks served at this party was nuts, cheese & crackers – salty, greasy foods. Drinking wine and eating said (finger) foods can lead to a nasty little problem if one doesn’t know how to properly hold their wine glass…

fingerprints wine glass

OK, call me a wine snob. I suppose that is a label I can live with. But the point is that holding a wine glass by the bowl presents some problems.

The first, known by many is the influence it has on the temperature of the wine. Our body temperature is close to 100 degrees, WAY TOO HOT to enjoy wine. By holding a wine by the stem you will not be warming up the wine. Incidentally, there MAY be times when your wine comes straight from a wine fridge and is 5 to 10 degrees colder than you may like. In this case you can definitely use your body temp (hands) to warm the wine up a bit. Just make sure your hands are clean, because…

… as we learned above, another issue is the fingerprint issue. Part of wine appreciation is the visual appreciation or looking at the wine. If your glass is covered with greasy fingerprints you have greatly detracted from the visual part of wine appreciation. I recently heard a line I really liked from a chef intended to be related to food that also holds true for wine – “you taste with your eyes”. So true.

Finally, one of our hosts at last nights dinner brought up a third reason why glasses should be held by the stem – a reason I had never heard before but thought was interesting. Toasting. When clinging glasses, if you are holding your wine glass from the bowl you won’t get that nice sound that you get from two wine glasses being brought together without obstruction.

It is for these aforementioned reasons that I am not a big fan of the trendy stemless wine glass. Yes, they are practical for certain purposes, but in general, not for me.

Happy Wine Tasting – but only while holding your glass from its stem 😉


Tags: , ,