Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny

Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

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

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.