How to Hold a Glass of Wine
By Lettie Teague
I’d brought along a 2008 Domaine Nembrets Pouilly-Fuisse — one of best things about the Garden State is its BYO policy. Molly declared that she liked it. Then her father pointed out she was holding the glass wrong. “Hold it by the stem not the bowl,” he gently admonished Molly. “Why?” Molly wanted to know. “Lettie will explain,” Roger replied.
I explained that there were several reasons that the stem was preferable. First of all, if Molly gripped the bowl she couldn’t see the wine properly — and its appearance would tell her a lot. For example, if the wine was a pale white, it was probably young and likely aged in stainless steel and not oak. If it was deep gold, it was likely a bit old — or oxidized. And of course, if Molly held the wine bowl in her hand, she risked warming it up. She didn’t want to drink a warm white, did she?
Finally, I said, holding the glass by the bowl just didn’t look very nice. It’s much more elegant to hold it by the stem.
Molly, who is always very well-turned out, could appreciate this third rationale. Then she began looking around. “That man is holding his glass by the bowl,” she pointed out. “And so is that other guy.” The three of us waited to see what other diners would do. Who would have guessed the proper-looking man would be a glass-gripper? Or that the couple with the cheap Sauvignon Blanc actually knew what to do? It made for a good few minutes of sport — and then we went back to the wine in our glasses.