Wine is a complex drink. After all, it’s made in dozens of countries with hundreds of grapes. That doesn’t mean wine is hard to enjoy, though. In fact, treating yourself with a glass of wine is easy!
To take your wine experience even further, you might want to follow a few rules. These aren’t snobby rules but tips to enhance such sophisticated fermented juice. Let’s start with how to hold a wine glass. And yes, it matters. Along with other valuable knowledge, like knowing how to store wine after opening, holding a wine glass correctly will make you enjoy your favorite wine even more!
The Parts of a Wine Glass
Wine glasses can vary in size, material and shape, but the most traditional have four parts. Knowing the anatomy of a wine glass will help you understand how to hold it correctly.
The Rim. The rim is the upper edge where you place your lips to take a sip.
The Bowl. This is the vessel that holds the wine; it can be broad or narrow.
The Stem. The stem is a thin rod that connects the stemware’s base with the bowl.
The Base. Also called foot, this is the disk-shaped part of a wine glass that lets you place it on flat surfaces.
The Most Common Types of Wine Glasses
Let’s start by saying there are many types of wine glasses, and they all have a different purpose. It pays to know a bit more about them. Without getting into the intricacies of wine glass shapes and uses, let’s talk about the materials for a second.
Glass. The most inexpensive type of wine glasses are made with glass. The best examples look pretty much like fancier stemware made with crystal, but there are noticeable differences. Glass is not as resistant as crystal. Hence, producers usually make them thicker. Glass is also lighter, and it’s never as shiny as crystal. Glass stemware is best suited for large wine events on a budget and casual restaurants.
Crystal. Crystal is a much more sophisticated than glass, whether it contains lead or not. It is heavier and more resistant than glass, but the wine glasses are often incredibly thin. The finest examples are still mouth-blown, and they’re a beauty, but they’re also expensive.
Tritan. Tritan is a new technology that’s changing how we see wine glasses and other glassware. We’re talking about a crystal-clear BPS- and BPA-free material with incredible durability.
Why does the glassware material matter when talking about holding a wine glass correctly? Because the whole point of holding a glass is preventing the liquid inside from heating unnecessarily, and the materials used to make the wine glass impacts the warmth of the drink.
Heat Is The Enemy Here
When holding a wine glass, what you want is to prevent your own warmth from elevating the wine’s temperature. The warmer the wine, the more volatile their aromatic compounds and alcohol are. If you drink wine above around 16°C, you’ll only detect the alcohol evaporating, not those lovely fruit and spice scents.
So, how to hold a wine glass? Hold it by the stem. Or by the base or foot, if you’ll be standing for a while. Also, it is always best to leave your wine glass on a surface when not drinking. There’s an added benefit to holding a stemmed wine glass by the stem — you’ll prevent smudges!
And talking about the wine’s temperature. To prevent the precious liquid from heating up too fast, serve smaller pours. It is always better to pour yourself and your guests a few more times during the evening than serving large pours that cause the wine to warm up.
What About Stemless Wine Glasses?
Stemless wine glasses are in vogue, and it’s easy to see why. They’re not only gorgeous, but also easy to use, and you can also swirl the wine with confidence without risking spilling. There’s nothing like holding your wine glass in the palm of your hand but, won’t these wine glasses warm the wine in them too fast?
Quality-minded producers make the finest stemless wine glasses with Tritan plastic, known as unbreakable wine glasses. Tritan is not as heat conductive as glass or crystal, so your wine is safe. Still, you want to pour yourself small amounts of wine at a time and leave your wine glass on the table while not drinking.
How do you hold your wine glass?
Whether you go straight for the stem or prefer to hold the base between your fingers, there’s no doubt the more you drink wine, the more comfortable you feel while holding a wine glass. And remember, stemless wine glasses are totally okay to use and enjoy. In fact, they’re becoming the norm. As the strict rules that once dominated the wine world slowly fall out of fashion, there’s more room for innovation and creativity.