Drinking wine is a pleasure for all the senses, including sound. Thanks to the custom of clinking glasses, hearing gets in on the experience. A British book on manners, Debrett’s A-Z Modern Manners, suggests that glasses should merely be raised and that clinking is improper. We respectfully disagree, here at Rosehill Wine Cellars. Just as we provide everything needed to protect wine in storage so that it can be enjoyed, we believe all should be done in further enhancing the experience of wine drinking. Wine involves sight, touch, feel, and taste. We offer many accessories for oenophiles, including crystal stemware. It is only common sense that the sound of a clinking glass be part of enjoying wine.
Theories About the Origin of Clinking
A consensus about how and why clinking of glasses originated has never been reached, but there are theories, including the following:
- Centuries ago, Europeans clinked glasses as part of the effort to drive off evil spirits.
- It’s rumored that there was a time in history when clinking glasses vigorously was meant to cause drinks to splash into one another’s drinking vessel. This ensured that one wasn’t trying to poison the other.
- More recent theories include that touching glasses physically is part of communal celebration.
Here’s the theory we like. Clinking was made to become a part of the wine-drinking experience, in order to engage all of the senses. There are actually wine glasses that are prized for the tonal quality of their clinks.
What is the correct way to clink glasses? Rare is a crowd that will take notes on doing this the wrong way, but it’s always nice to know proper etiquette. When participating in a toast in a large gathering, it should be said, the appropriate custom is to simply raise glasses and make eye contact with people. In more intimate settings, clinking of the glasses is perfectly fitting, and there are two basic things you need to know:
- Have you ever been concerned that a glass would break during clinking? It’s a reasonable concern and one that should be considered. Avoid clinking on the rim of the glass because that is the weakest part of the vessel, and you could end up with a broken glass and a potentially disastrous wine spill.
- The correct procedure for clinking glasses is to tap the bell of your wine glass against the bell of another person’s glass. Done right, this creates a ding! that is nicely sustained. What’s really fun is that you can enjoy creating that ding with all of the wine buddies present.
Next time you’re savoring wine, enjoy a nice clink with each of your wine buddies. Check out our crystal stemware at Rosehill Wine Cellars for quality wine glasses.