Whether presenting a rare vintage with flair at a Michelin-starred restaurant or serving the daily house blend at a casual trattoria, the ceremony of carrying wine glasses matters. Paying attention to detail – avoiding fingerprints on the bowl, and keeping your grip secure but gentle – allows guests to savor the full experience of their wine.
In this gracefully instructive video, “How to Carry Wine Glasses” by Real Server Training, essential server techniques for carrying multiple glasses are revealed. From properly utilizing the base as a ballast to practicing smooth transports, servers learn how to move with stability and grace.
Table of Contents
Techniques For Carrying Multiple Wine Glasses
Never Grab the Bowl
The first rule when carrying wine glasses is to never grab them by the bowl. Always carry wine glasses by the stem or base. Grabbing the bowl leaves fingerprints, and the warmth of your hand can raise the temperature of the wine. For formal settings, this looks unprofessional.
Carrying 3 Wine Glasses
While not technically proper technique, carrying 3 wine glasses stacked in one hand is common in casual dining establishments.
- Grasp one stem between the thumb and index finger.
- Wedge another stem between the index and middle finger.
- Final stem gets sandwiched between middle finger and ring finger.
This method works but looks messy.
The Proper “Formal” Technique for Multiple Glasses
For formal dining, use the crisscross method.
- Hold the first glass with index finger on one side of base and ring finger on other side.
- Hold the second glass with your thumb and pinky finger on either side of the base so the glasses form an X.
- Set glasses down to get the grip correct before lifting.
Carrying More Than 3 Glasses
To carry additional glasses, grip the base, not the bowl. Hold one stem between the index and middle finger. Another stem goes between the ring and the pinky finger. Slide the third stem between the middle and ring finger. This allows carrying 3 glasses by base properly.
For 4 glasses, hold the first 3 as described. Grip the 4th between thumb and index finger by pressing it to other stems and twisting base between them. Lightly clenched fist to secure.
Carrying Up to 8 Wine Glasses
Amazingly, with practice, one can carry up to 8 glasses in one hand safely. Start with 3 glasses gripped between fingers as outlined previously. Press a 4th glass base-first between the thumb and index finger. Collect the 4 stems with a light fist clench.
In the other hand, grip 3 glasses between fingers again. Then, approach the table. Flip the hand with 4 glasses over to rest base-down on the table surface gently. Spread fingers to stabilize glasses. Repeat the process with the second group of 3 glasses. Lastly, remove 4th glass from between the thumb and index and place it on the table.
You are now holding 8 full wine glasses perfectly for serving your guests. Like when holding multiple plates, this technique takes practice but allows excellent service.
The Bottom Line
Transporting wine glasses seems simple, but truly elegant service requires controlled, secure carrying without grabbing a bowl. By utilizing the stem and base correctly according to these step-by-step instructions, one can smoothly carry up to 8 delicate glasses per hand safely.
Practice the crisscross method and work up to the 8 glass technique described to take your wine presentation to the next level. Also, be sure to wear proper restaurant shoes to avoid slips and falls. If all else fails and you’re nervous about using this method, you can always use a tray until you build confidence. :)
Were these serving techniques helpful? Do you have a technique you prefer to use? Please let us know below!
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