Put that pinky away!

By Betsy Cribb
November 01, 2019
Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

If wine ever took the stage at Miss United States, it would probably win Miss Congeniality. Like a certain undercover FBI agent we know, wine is a forever fan favorite. There’s a variety for just about every palate under the sun, and these days, wine is more approachable than ever. You can buy it in a box; you can buy it in a bag. Heck! You can even buy it in a can. But just because your vino may have humble beginnings doesn’t mean you can throw all caution and etiquette to the wind once it’s out of the vessel and into your glass. Here’s what you need to know the next time you pour yourself some wine.

Some things in your home are just for show (we’re looking at you, decorative door knocker and fake fruit). But the stem of your wine glass is not one of them. Use it! While holding your wine glass by its fragile stem may feel a little precarious, or perhaps even irresponsible, it’s the proper thing to do—and it will make your wine more enjoyable to drink.

Whites and rosés are intended to be served chilled, while reds are meant to be served just below room temperature. When you hold your wine by the bowl of the glass, rather than the stem, you’re warming your wine and therefore detracting from the experience. Therefore, you should hold your wine glass by the stem, pinching it between your thumb, pointer and middle fingers. Your other two fingers will sit naturally on the base of the glass. It’s also acceptable to hold your wine glass at the base with your thumb and pointer finger, with your middle finger under the base to hold it steady.

While holding your glass by the stem will keep your wine at the proper temperature, there’s another perk too: You won’t leave unbecoming fingerprints all over the bowl.

So there you have it! You may not be able to describe the earthy aftertaste of your Pinot Noir or recognize the mouthfeel of your Malbec’s tannins, but by gosh, you can hold a glass by the stem, and that’s a victory for oenophiles everywhere.

WATCH: Is It Proper to Open and Serve the Bottle of Wine a Guest Brings?

For those of us who aren’t skilled in the cooking/baking/candlestick-making department, a bottle of wine may seem like an obvious choice for a hostess gift. It’s great in a pinch, and it’s something we’d be happy to receive for ourselves. But showing up to a dinner party with a bottle of wine can cause quite the etiquette conundrum for your host. Here’s how to avoid any awkwardness, whether you’re attending the party or hosting it.

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