Wine Etiquette

Today I’d love to share 8 fun tips for drinking wine! It’s nerdy, but I like learning etiquette tips (do you?) and thought you might like to hear these fascinating wine dos and don’ts before heading out to holiday parties and romantic dinners. Below, I wrote out the tips, and the genius Gemma Correll illustrated them. Here goes…

1. Fill red wine glasses 1/3 full, white wine glasses 1/2 full, and sparkling wine 3/4 full.

2. Twist the bottle at the end of pouring a glass of wine, to prevent drips (and to give it a flourish!).

3. Cheers! When clinking glasses, make eye contact with the other person. Otherwise, according to French superstition, you’ll risk seven years of bad luck (read: bad sex). You also should clink glasses individually with each person at the table without crossing anyone’s arms.

4. If someone is toasting you (your wedding, your birthday, your general awesomeness), don’t take a sip. Just smile and look humble.

5. Always hold your wine glass by the stem. Many people mistakenly think you only need to hold white wine by the stem (so you don’t warm up the wine), but experts say you should hold red wine by the stem, too, so you can see its color and clarity, as well as to avoid smudging the glass with your fingerprints. Otherwise, wine snobs might call you a “bowl grabber”! :)

6. On the table, your wine glass goes to the right of your water glass.

7. While taking a sip, you should politely look into your glass. (And not at another person, if you’re in the middle of a conversation.)

8. The host’s duty is to make sure glasses stay filled. “My eyes go to empty glasses immediately,” wine expert John Thoreen says. “It’s a real radar thing for me.”

9. Or happily forget all the tips above, and just eat, drink and be merry!

Hope you enjoyed these! Thanks again to Gemma for the awesome illustrations. xoxo

P.S. A lipstick trick with wine, and the #1 etiquette tip to remember for the holidays.

(Illustrations by Gemma Correll for A Cup of Jo. Thanks to Shoko for research help. Tips via Primer, SFGate and years of drinking experience:)

  1. I really love all these creative tips! I didn’t know that your wine glass should be to the right of your water glass. I am having a big dinner party in a few weeks, and I’m so glad I now know where the wine glass is technically supposed to go. I don’t think I would have placed it in the right position otherwise.

  2. Chris says...

    Great post, always good to confirm or learn about about etiquette. We have a relatively relaxed culture so the niceties are really not too difficult to try to maintain. Love your blog even more now that I see Gemma Correll featured, she always makes me smile.

  3. When I was in Hotel Management school, we had a class about proper beverage service, correct wine etiquette etc. Our professor gave us a seemingly endless list of rules regarding wine, from storage, to proper temperature when serving, food pairings and so on. Barely anything has stuck with me except for the last rule: “None of the above rules matter in the face of personal preference”. I’ll go have a glass of white with my pot roast now, thank you very much :)

  4. Pretty post! Actually, as a French lady and daughter of a wine specialist, I would add that you can afford bowl-grabbing if your red wine is served too cold (which implies you may be able to estimate the good temperature on your own).

  5. After reading this I’m certain I fill my wine glass too high. I know my wife does, too!

    After putting in 14 hour days at work it takes time to relax.

    The wine does help.


  6. My European mother is a well-seasoned wine-drinker, and she showed me that another reason to always hold any glass by the stem is because it allows for a much more elegant “ching” when you clink glasses!

  7. I knew but I definitely learned some new tips.. oh and the illustrations are utterly adorable! I’m looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be fantastic
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  8. What about the “don’t empty your glass” thing if you want refill ?

  9. How delightful! It’s also seven years of bad sex in Germany. Maybe all over Europe? My European friends seem highly aware of the dangers…Americans, not so much!owomse really

  10. Definitely a bowl grabber. :)

  11. There are some reasons why you should not swallow the tasted wine. One, as the evening progresses and the tasting continue, if the taster has been swallowing the earlier tastings, his judgment in assessing the later wines will be hazed.

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  12. WOW! This is really an amazing and attractive post about Wine. I appreciate your posted wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing such an interesting post.

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  13. Love the illustrations and the clarity of your writing.

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