ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

What are the fine points of etiquette?

—Linda, Santa Clarita, Calif.

Dear Linda,

What a lovely, open-ended question you’ve given me, which I’ll take as an opportunity to rant about a topic that bugs me.

While I generally try to avoid wine snobbery at all costs, it really does drive me crazy when people hold a wine glass “incorrectly.” Does that make me sound like a jerk? I hope not. There is etiquette to holding a wine glass. Above all, it should be steady and comfortable in your hand. But etiquette dictates one should hold a glass by the stem or base, not by the bowl. Doing so avoids unsightly fingerprints, and if you hold a glass by the bowl, your body temperature can affect the temperature of the wine—often for the worse. Not only that, it can also be easier to swirl and look at the wine when you're holding the glass the correct way.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. If you’d like to learn about other fine points of wine etiquette, I invite you to browse through my archive.

—Dr. Vinny


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