In hospitality, everything needs to be done fast. Five minutes ago, if possible.
For this reason an assortment of skills have evolved that are unique to the restaurant floor that most people would find quaint or superfluous – holding three plates at once, folding napkins properly or, in this case, holding multiple wine glasses at the same time.
After much practice and many more broken glasses, I’ve come to the stage where I can comfortably hold up to 12 wine glasses simultaneously, which helps to speed things up considerably when there are many large tables being reserved for dinner. For interest, the current world record seems to be 51 wine glasses.
So why do I think this is a skill that you, someone who probably has nothing to do with hospitality, should acquire? Other than being an interesting party trick, you might find yourself hosting a dinner or wine tasting with friends on occasion, so it would be nice if you could prepare everything with a bit of flair. With proper technique, you also eliminate touching the glasses by the bowl, which would cause smudging and fingerprints to form and make them look less nice.
To make things easier for you, I’ll only teach you how to hold six wine glasses. Most wine glasses are sold in boxes of six anyway, and being able to move glasses six-at-a-time should suffice for private purposes.
(DISCLAIMER: The following is written for informational and entertainment purposes only, and no responsibility will be accepted for any broken glassware or injury that might occur in the event of someone attempting any of the below.)
Because I am right-handed, I use it to place the glasses in my left hand. Hold your left hand up high with the fingers spread comfortably wide.
It’s important to keep your hand held high, because gravity will pull the bowls of the glasses down, and if your fingers are not locked in a high enough position they will slip from your grasp.
If it helps, imagine that you have flipped over a table in anger, and hold that hand position.
The First Glass
Place the first glass between the index and middle fingers, with the base facing towards you. The bowl should be “hanging back” on the other side, as per the second photo. Again, always keep your hand locked up.
The Second and Third Glasses
Place the second and third glasses:
- between the thumb and index finger
- between the ring finger and pinky
In both cases, make sure the bases of these two glasses are ON TOP of the base of glass #1. DO NOT slide glasses #2 or #3 underneath the base of glass #1, because you want as much of your fingers to be in contact with the base of #1 as possible. The additional contact of your fingers against the glass will keep the structure more stable.
The Fourth Glass
Place the fourth glass between the middle finger and ring finger. This time you can place the base UNDERNEATH the bases of glass #1 and #2. The reason is because glass #4 is locking glass #1 and #2 in place, so it makes sense to have the friction of your fingers holding onto to glass #4.
The Fifth Glass
Place the fifth glass between the index and middle fingers, just like with glass #1. Once again, place the base UNDERNEATH that of glass #4, as the extra contact on glass #5 will keep it, and thus all of the other glasses, locked securely in place.
The Sixth Glass
And where do you place the sixth glass?
Well, you have two hands, right? While you’re holding five glasses in one hand, I’m sure you can hold one glass in the other, which makes a total of six (This article is titled “How To Hold Six Wine Glasses At The Same Time”, not “…In The Same Hand”, after all :D)
This method should work with the vast majority of glassware that you will come across, from ISO glasses to gigantic glasses with bowls larger than your fists.
Worst case scenario, you could always carry the glasses in the box to wherever you need them first, then polish them afterwards.