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,

Do you hold a glass of red wine by the stem of the glass? If so, why, and if not, how and why?

—Michael D., Darlington, S.C.

Dear Michael,

I hold all wineglasses by the base, or by the stem, near the base—never by the bowl of the glass—for three reasons. First, I generally want to avoid heat from my hand warming the wine (however, if I have a glass of wine that's too cold, I cup the bowl in my hand to warm it up). Second, holding a wineglass by the stem lets me appreciate the wine's color. In fact, to really take in the color, I like to hold the wine in front of me, tilt it away from me and look at it against a white background. It's also easier to keep track of your swirling (and hopefully avoid spilling) if you have a clear view of what you're doing. Third—and this is most important to me—fingerprints on a wineglass drive me crazy! I end up staring at greasy prints, which distracts me from enjoying the wine.

—Dr. Vinny


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