How To Hold A Wine Glass

How often have you found yourself holding a wine glass incorrectly? Maybe you’ve held it too tightly or too loosely, or maybe you’ve even dropped it. 

If you want to drink wine without fear of accidentally spilling your drink or getting your wine glass smudged and dirty, then you’ll need to master the art of proper wine glass etiquette.

Luckily, learning the proper way to hold a wine glass is easy enough, and we’re here to talk you through how to do it.

Wine glasses come in various shapes and sizes, from tall flutes to short tumblers. The shape of the glass determines how much liquid you should pour into it.

For example, a long stemless wine glass is ideal for sipping wine slowly and savoring its flavor. 

On the other hand, a short tumbler is perfect for drinking wine straight from the bottle. Nevertheless, holding a wine glass properly is essential for enjoying fine wines. Here are some ways that you can hold a wine glass correctly.

How To Hold A Stem Wine Glass

Step 1 – Hold The Stem Between Two Fingers And Your Thumb

The first thing to remember when holding a wine glass is that you shouldn’t cup it in your hand, but rather firmly grasp the stem using your first two fingers, and then your thumb on the other side.

This will ensure that you are able to hold your wine glass without fear of dropping it, all while looking civilized. 

Step 2 – Keep Your Hand Relaxed

When holding a wine glass, make sure that your hand is relaxed. Don’t tense up your arm muscles or force your hand down onto the glass. You’ll also be able to enjoy the wine more if you’re relaxed.

Step 3 – Sip From The Same Spot

While this doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with holding your wine glass, it’s still an important touch that you should make sure that you remember! 

While you are drinking from your stem wine glass (especially in a social setting) make sure that you are only ever drinking from the same spot. This will help to prevent smudging.

If your wine glass has moved in your hand, use your other hand to gently swirl the base of the glass until it is back in its original position.

How To Hold A Stemless Wine Glass

Step 1 – Hold Directly From The Base

Seeing as a stemless wine glass does not come with a stem, it means that you will need to hold it directly from the base.

Besides being the most stable way to hold a stemless wine glass, holding it from the base will ensure that smudges are kept at a minimum. 

Step 2 – Drink From The Same Spot

Just like in the way that you would with a stem wine glass while drinking wine from a stemless wine glass – you should make sure that you are only ever drinking from the same spot on the glass. 

If you don’t make sure to do this, you’re only going to find that your glass gets increasingly more dirty as the night goes on.

This is especially important if you are attending a social event and plan on re-using your wine glass, or if you are planning on wearing lipstick!

What Are The Different Types Of Wine Glasses?

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Wines come in many shapes and sizes. Some are tall and narrow, some short and wide, and some are even square or round.

The shape of the glass will naturally affect the way that you will need to hold your wine glass, which is why it’s important that you make sure you are familiar with all of them. 

At the time of writing, there are three main types of wine glasses that are most commonly used at restaurants, bars, and events: Champagne flutes, coupes, and goblets. Each type has its own purpose and style. 

To make sure that you are aware of the differences between these three types of glasses (as well as how to hold them) let’s learn more about them below.

Champagne Flute

The champagne flute is a long, slender glass that holds approximately 1.5 oz (45 ml) of liquid. It’s perfect for serving bubbly wines like sparkling wine and Champagne.

In order to hold your champagne flute correctly, you should make sure that you are gently pinching the top of the stem directly between your thumb and forefinger. 

Ideally, you’re going to want to make sure that your pinky finger is resting on the base for a little stability. Make sure that you sip from the same spot each time – especially if you are wearing lipstick!


Coupes are short, wide glasses with a rounded bottom. They hold between 2-3 oz (60-90 ml), making them ideal for red wines and rosé wines.

To correctly hold a coupe, you’re going to want to hold it with one hand, ideally holding the stem as opposed to the base of the glass. This will help to prevent any smudges.


Goblets have straight sides and a flat base. They can be used to serve both white and red wines. Fun fact: they also make great ice buckets! 

A goblet looks more like a beer glass than a wine glass, which means that they are relatively simple to hold correctly. All you will need to do is make sure that you are holding the little stem situated at the bottom of the glass.

Try to refrain from grabbing the body of the goblet, as this will cause it to become dirty and smudged, especially if you are planning on reusing it throughout the evening.

What Is The Difference Between Red And White Wine Glasses?

If you’ve just recently become interested in wine etiquette, then we’re sure that you’ll have been pleasantly surprised to learn that red and white wine are not intended to be drunk in the same glasses.

For this reason, there are separate wine glasses on the market that are specifically designed for either white or red wine.

Red wine glasses are usually preferred over white wine glasses because they look better and are easier to clean. But is that really true? 

Well, red wine has a higher alcohol content than white wine, which means it tastes stronger. Red wines also tend to have a richer color, which makes them appear fuller and more attractive.

White wine glasses, on the other hand, are typically smaller and lighter. They don’t have the same visual appeal as their red counterparts.

There are pros and cons to each type of wine glass. If you want to impress your guests at dinner, go for the larger, heavier red wine glasses. On the other hand, if you prefer to drink wine alone, opt for the smaller, lighter white wine glasses.

When it comes to holding them, you should follow standard etiquette for holding a wine glass – it doesn’t matter too much whether you are drinking from a red or white wine glass.

However, as red wine glasses are typically larger and heavier, you may find that holding the glass with two hands is better.

Preferably, you should try to avoid holding the base, but instead, focus on keeping your hands high up on the stem.


In this guide, we have taken a look at how to hold a wine glass, including how to hold a wine glass with a stem, and a stemless wine glass too. So, if you want to find out more, check out the guide above.