We ask the experts about wine glass holding etiquette.

How to hold a wine glass – ask Decanter

Does how you hold your wine glass have an impact on the wine?

The reason wine glasses are designed with stems is to ‘keep the glass free of fingerprints, and to ensure that you don’t warm the glass and subsequently the wine,’ said Xavier Rousset MS.

If you hold it by the ‘bowl’, the wine will warm up – particularly a problem when drinking sparkling wines or fresh white wines, which need to be served the coolest.

‘You can better appreciate the colour of the wine and give the wine a more dynamic swirl to release aromas and flavours – and that’s where the magic really starts,’ said Sarah Ahmed, regional chair for Portugal at the Decanter World Wine Awards.

‘For fresh, aromatic wines in particular, it’s best to hold the stem – but sometimes you want to warm up the wine, so cuddling the bowl is a quick way to do that!’

‘For me the most important function of a wine glass is to help release the wine’s aromas, so a good-sized bowl is the most important thing,’ said DWWA judge Matt Walls.

‘If it has a stem, so much the better – it makes it easier to swirl.’

What about stemless glasses?

There is a growing trend towards stemless wine glasses, although Rousset says he’s ‘not sure there’s any benefit to them.’

stemless glasses

Ahmed recognises some advantages to them. ‘Less breakages for a clumsy clot like me – especially at a crowded dinner table,’ she said.

‘They’re also great for travelling – holiday cottages with good glassware are few and far between!’

‘Stemless glasses do have one major benefit,’ said Walls.

‘You can avoid any use of that toe-curlingly awful term ‘stemware’!’


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