How to Hold Wine Glasses
The wine at a fine dinner will be served in stemmed glasses. White wines, which are traditionally served chilled (from very cold in the case of champagnes, to around 55 degrees Fahrenheit in the case of full-bodied white wines such as Chardonnays and white Burgundys) in order to ignite their acidity, which then releases their delicate flavors and aromas, should be held by the stem so as not to compromise their ideal drinking- temperature by the natural warmth of one’s hand. Red wines, on the other hand, are best served at a few degrees above cellar temperature—at about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. And as they slowly acclimate, their aromas and flavors are released. Red wines, therefore, should be held by the bowl of the glass, not by the stem, thereby allowing the natural warmth of the human body to accelerate the release of their properties. Besides, red wine glasses, at the recommendation of red wine producers, are increasingly being designed with larger bowls so as to best exploit the properties of red wines, and holding such glasses by their stems would render them top-heavy. Sherry and port are served in small, stemmed glasses and should be held by their stems since those wines are served at cellar temperature or slightly warmer and need not be enhanced by body-warmth.
But whether red or white, stemmed or otherwise, a gentleman must first properly chew and then swallow whatever food is within his mouth, then pat/press-wipe his lips clean of any food residue before taking a drink, for “grease islands” floating atop one’s wine or water can be most unappetizing.