If you're supposed to hold a wineglass by the stem, why are stemless glasses so popular?
Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
I was told not to hold a wineglass by the bowl, so the wine won’t warm up. So why are stemless wineglasses so popular?
—Cathy, South Fork, Colo.
It’s definitely a bit of a wine paradox: It’s true that you should hold a wineglass by its stem, and it’s also true that stemless wineglasses are very popular! (Check out our handy guide to how to choose the right wineglass for a more in-depth discussion.)
On the one hand, the best wineglasses for wine are made from very thin crystal and have a stem that both allows you to avoid smudging the bowl with fingerprints and warming the wine with your hand. But high-quality wineglasses can also be both expensive and fragile.
There’s a wonderful new attitude that people should be able to enjoy their wines in more settings, that wine appreciation doesn’t have to be formal, and that there shouldn’t be any budget barrier to enjoying wine. Stemless wineglasses are typically sturdier, dishwasher safe and easier to store, and there are surely some folks who appreciate that there’s no “wrong” way to hold them.
You should pick the wines and the wineglasses that best suit you or the occasion. If I’m at a restaurant or a friend’s house, I’m not going to complain if the wine is served in a stemless glass (I’m really not going to complain about anything if wine is being served!), and they’re probably a better fit for a pool party or a picnic. However, we only serve wine in stemmed glasses at Casa Vinny, and I recommend them for all formal wine tasting occasions.