The proper way to hold a wine glass

For years, wine had a reputation of being kind of elitist — a beverage that came with its own impenetrable vocabulary and a lengthy list of arcane customs and rituals. Lately, however, wine is becoming more and more accessible, what with "rosé all day" everywhere, wine mom memes, and boxed — even canned — wines that are not only acceptable, but downright fashionable. In a world where it's considered perfectly ok to drink wine whenever and however you want (as long as you're a consenting adult with a designated driver), why, then, should it matter just how you hold your wine glass?

As it turns out, there are actual, practical reasons for holding your wine glass in the proper way, and the benefits of taking just a few minutes to learn how are something we can all get behind — better tasting wine.

​Always hold your wine glass by the stem

The reason wine glasses should be gripped by the stem and not the bowl, according to VinePair, if that you clutch the bowl, a la Olivia Pope in Scandal, the heat from your hand will warm up your wine. This, in turn, causes the alcohol to evaporate more quickly and will affect the flavor of the wine, causing it to taste somewhat flatter. What's more, holding your glass by the stem makes it easier to swirl, which isn't as pretentious as it seems. Swirling may make you feel a bit silly, but it actually helps to oxygenate the wine, which also enhances the flavor. Finally, a stem hold allows for a smudge-free bowl, so as not to ruin your elegant, wine-sipping, oh-so-sophisticated image. Also, it may make things harder on the investigators looking for fingerprints should you find yourself a suspect in a classic, Clue-style whodunnit.

But what if your wine comes in a stemless glass? Well, then, you have no choice but to hold it by the bowl. While stemless glasses may not allow for your wine to reach its absolute peak flavor capacity, nor will they look quite as refined as stemware, they are far less fragile and more versatile since they can be used for cocktails, mocktails, or even moo juice. Stem or no stem, the important thing is, you're drinking your wine out of a glass instead of chugging it straight from the can.