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"ABC" in Etiquette - Part 2 - The Toast of the Party

As we mentioned in our previous post, Using Your Place Setting As A Dining Map, glasses are placed to the right of the plates above the spoons and knives in the order of their use - water, red wine, white wine, sherry, with the champagne flute in the back.

(from left to right in the above photo - water, red wine, and white wine glasses)

(above photo - champagne flutes are placed behind other glassware)

This week - The Toast of the Party

Holding your glass

It used to be considered proper to hold white wine glasses by the stem and red wine glasses by the bottom of the bowl. (see below photo)

Today, most wine connoisseurs believe both red and white wine glasses should be held by the stem. Red wine is most often served just a little chilled and the heat of your hand on the bowl of the glass will quickly warm the wine. Also, fingerprints on the glass are unattractive.

Wine glasses should be filled 1/3 to 1/2 full.

No Thank You

When wine is served if you don’t want any, lightly touch your fingertips to the glass rim. The same goes for coffee, if you don’t want any touch your fingertips to the cup rim. You shouldn't turn your glass or coffee cup upside down.


A wonderful example of how the rules of etiquette have evolved is toasting. It used to be that you were not supposed to drink to yourself when you were the person being toasted. Now it is very common for the person being honored (example bride and groom) to raise their glass alongside their guests.

If you’re at a small dinner party you should not take a sip of your wine until your host does. He or she may give a welcome toast. It’s perfectly proper for the host to remain seated for a welcome toast, however they should stand for a toast to a person of honor.

You can also toast with an empty glass by raising it.


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