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Learn the Trick to Clinking Wine Glasses

After attending a session with Riedel glassware I realized that most people have been clinking wine glasses wrong. Not that there is really a ‘proper’ way to do it, in fact, the book Debrett’s A–Z of Modern Manners believes clinking glasses is improper etiquette. They recommend you simply raise your glass… boring!

What’s the best technique for clinking wine glasses and why is there a wrong way?

Clinking wine glasses with splash
clinking wine glasses… the not-so-good way

Clinking Etiquette: Are You Kidding Me!?

If you’re already laughing at how ridiculous this is, imagine yourself holding a fine crystal glass filled with very expensive wine. Upon clinking, the rim of the glass shatters and the wine spills out with broken crystal glass everywhere. Egads! Your delicious wine is now full of broken glass. The table, as well as your lap, is now covered in wine.

The entire room looks at your mishap (in my case the entire room would be two kittens and a toy dinosaur) and remarks at how reckless you are. How embarrassing. Why not learn to clink wine glasses a better way that not only avoids breakage but also sounds awesome!

Logical way to clink wine glasses
the logical way to clink wine glasses
Remember to go Bowl-to-Bowl!

Clinking Wine Glasses 101

The technique that the wine glass geeks at Riedel showed me was casually referred to as the “Bell to Bell” method. The idea is that you aim your wine glass bell (the big round part in the middle) to the bell of your clinking-buddy’s wine glass. Upon contact the glass lets out a long sustained “DING!” which causes everyone to look around to see who knows how to party. This works best with real hand or machine blown crystal glass from a company like Riedel, Schott Zwiesel, or Zalto. Thicker rolled-lip glass or heavy crystal glasses might look nice, but they’re generally a little less pleasant to drink out of and don’t have that same attractive resonance when clinking.

  1. Find a clinking buddy
  2. Angle wine glass slightly so that the bells line up and the rim is away from your partner
  3. Clink wine glasses together and listen for sustained ring
  4. Find another clinking buddy

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