The Art of Holding Champagne: A Guide to Proper Champagne Glass Etiquette

by Kaia

Champagne, often associated with celebrations and special occasions, is a beverage that demands a touch of elegance and sophistication. Beyond the exquisite taste and effervescence, there’s an art to holding a champagne glass correctly. In this comprehensive guide, we explore the nuances of champagne glass etiquette, from selecting the right glass to holding it with grace and style.


Selecting the Right Champagne Glass

Before delving into the intricacies of holding a champagne glass, it’s essential to choose the right glass for the occasion. Champagne glasses come in various styles, each designed to enhance the champagne-drinking experience. Here are some common types:


Flute: The classic champagne flute features a tall, slender design that allows bubbles to rise gracefully to the surface. Its shape concentrates the aromas and preserves the effervescence, making it ideal for sipping champagne slowly and savoring its aroma and taste.


Coupe: The coupe, with its shallow, saucer-like shape, was popularized in the early 20th century. While it exudes a certain vintage charm, it is less ideal for preserving the effervescence due to its broader surface area. It’s better suited for cocktails and mixed drinks rather than traditional champagne.


Tulip: The tulip glass combines elements of both the flute and the coupe. It has a slightly wider bowl at the base that narrows toward the top, allowing for better aeration and aroma concentration. This glass is often favored by sommeliers for its versatility.

White Wine Glass: A white wine glass, particularly one with a narrower bowl and a tapered rim, can be used for enjoying champagne. While not as specialized as the flute or tulip glass, it still provides a good drinking experience.

Grand Champagne Glass: Some champagne enthusiasts prefer large, wide-bowled glasses designed to fully accentuate the champagne’s aromas and flavors. These glasses are often used for vintage or particularly exceptional champagnes.

Choosing the right champagne glass largely depends on personal preference, the type of champagne you’re serving, and the occasion. Flutes and tulip glasses are the most commonly recommended choices for savoring champagne’s unique qualities.

The Basics of Holding a Champagne Glass

Holding a champagne glass correctly begins with the basics. While it may seem like a simple task, there are essential guidelines to ensure you enjoy your champagne to the fullest.

Start with Clean Glasses: Before serving or holding a champagne glass, make sure it’s clean and free from any residues or odors. The cleanliness of the glass is crucial for preserving the champagne’s purity and aroma.

Use the Stem: Champagne glasses are typically designed with a long, slender stem. This is not just for aesthetics; it serves a practical purpose. Grasp the glass by the stem, not the bowl. The stem keeps your hand away from the bowl, preventing temperature transfer from your hand to the champagne.

Hold the Glass at the Base of the Stem: When holding a champagne glass, your fingers should be wrapped around the stem near its base. This positioning ensures that your hand doesn’t affect the temperature of the champagne. Avoid holding the glass near the bowl or rim, as this can warm the champagne prematurely.

Avoid Touching the Bowl: The bowl of the champagne glass should remain untouched. The heat from your hand can transfer to the glass and warm the champagne, compromising its taste and effervescence. Keeping your fingers away from the bowl is crucial for an optimal champagne experience.

Gentle Tilt: While holding the glass, you can gently tilt it to observe the champagne’s color and effervescence. Tilting the glass allows you to appreciate the champagne’s visual appeal without smudging or warming it.

The Champagne Toast: Holding the Glass with Style

A champagne toast is a moment of celebration, and the way you hold your glass plays a role in the overall presentation. Whether it’s a wedding, a milestone achievement, or a casual gathering, here’s how to hold a champagne glass with style during a toast:

Stand Upright: When it’s time for the toast, stand up straight with your feet together. This posture exudes elegance and makes you look more presentable during the occasion.

Raise Your Glass: As the moment for the toast arrives, raise your champagne glass to a comfortable level, approximately chest height. Avoid holding the glass too high or too low; chest height is generally the most comfortable and visually appealing level.

Make Eye Contact: While raising your glass, make eye contact with the person or people you’re toasting. This establishes a personal connection and makes the moment more meaningful.

Smile and Maintain Eye Contact: Continue to hold your glass at chest height, smile, and maintain eye contact while the toast is being delivered. This demonstrates your engagement and enthusiasm for the occasion.

Champagne Glass Etiquette for Different Occasions

Champagne is a versatile beverage, enjoyed at a wide range of occasions, from formal events to casual gatherings. Champagne glass etiquette can vary depending on the setting, so here are some guidelines for different situations:

Formal Events: At formal events like weddings, galas, or upscale dinners, it’s customary to hold the champagne glass by the stem, as described earlier. Maintain an upright posture during toasts, and follow the steps for a stylish and elegant presentation.

Casual Gatherings: In more relaxed settings, such as brunch with friends or a casual celebration, champagne glass etiquette can be less rigid. While it’s still preferable to hold the glass by the stem, the atmosphere allows for a more laid-back approach to toasting and enjoying champagne.

Professional Gatherings: In professional settings, such as business meetings or corporate events, maintaining a professional demeanor is essential. Use the same etiquette as for formal events, holding the glass by the stem and demonstrating decorum during toasts.

Outdoor Celebrations: When celebrating outdoors, such as at a picnic or a beach gathering, practicality may take precedence. While it’s still best to hold the glass by the stem, you may need to adapt your approach to account for uneven terrain or wind.

Tastings and Wine Tours: During champagne tastings or visits to wineries, follow the guidance provided by the hosts. They will typically recommend specific techniques for enjoying their champagne to the fullest.

Artisanal or Vintage Champagne: For exceptional or rare champagnes, the same etiquette applies, but there may be additional recommendations from experts or the producer for fully appreciating the champagne’s unique qualities.

Adapting your champagne glass etiquette to the occasion demonstrates your social awareness and appreciation for the moment. While the basics of holding a champagne glass with grace remain constant, the level of formality can vary.

Serving Champagne: A Few Tips

In addition to holding a champagne glass correctly, serving champagne with finesse is equally important. Whether you’re the host or a guest, these tips can enhance the experience of serving and enjoying champagne:

Chill the Champagne: Champagne is best served chilled. Ensure that the bottle is properly chilled in advance, either in a refrigerator or an ice bucket. The ideal serving temperature is around 45-48°F (7-9°C).

Handle the Bottle with Care: When opening a bottle of champagne, hold it firmly but with care. Point the bottle away from people and objects and ensure a controlled release of the cork to avoid accidents.

Pour Slowly: When pouring champagne, do so gently and slowly to prevent excessive foaming. Fill the glass to about two-thirds full to allow room for the champagne’s aromas to develop.

Use a Champagne Stopper: If you don’t finish the bottle, consider using a champagne stopper to preserve the remaining champagne’s effervescence. This helps maintain the integrity of the champagne for future enjoyment.

Label Outward: When presenting a bottle of champagne to guests, ensure that the label is facing outward. This allows guests to appreciate the brand and style of champagne they are about to enjoy.

Pair with Appetizers: Champagne pairs exceptionally well with a variety of appetizers, from oysters to caviar to cheese platters. Consider serving a selection of appetizers to complement the champagne’s elegance.

Provide Champagne Flutes: When serving champagne to guests, make sure you have an adequate supply of clean champagne flutes. The choice of glassware adds to the overall experience.


Champagne is a symbol of celebration, refinement, and the finer moments in life. Knowing how to hold a champagne glass correctly is not just a matter of etiquette; it’s a way to enhance the enjoyment of this iconic beverage. By selecting the right glass, holding it by the stem, and understanding the nuances of champagne glass etiquette for various occasions, you can savor champagne with elegance and sophistication.



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