The best way to be a gracious host is to give your guests a taste of elegance, both in the food and the table setting. If you are not used to seeing a lot of glassware on the table, it can get quite overwhelming to lay out wine glasses in large gatherings.
This article will focus on the proper placement of wine glasses and other glassware in a table setting. Read on to learn more and prepare yourself for your next party.
Different Types of Glassware Arrangement
The key element when laying out wine glasses on the table is space. You have to have a good eye to see if the items are well balanced. If you think that there are many plates, utensils, and other items on the table, you have to make sure that the wine glasses are arranged so that they do not make things crowded.
On the other hand, if the table does not have many items, it would be wise to fill the gaps with glasses to make it look proportionate. What matters is that the outcome looks simple yet elegant.
To pull this off correctly, you need to familiarize yourself with the various types of glassware arrangements.
Single Glassware Layout
If it is just a basic table setting, only one glass is needed for water. It can be a water goblet or a regular stemless glass. It is placed right above the knife or above the space between the knife and the plate.
Double Glassware Layout
There will be two glasses for casual occasions: one for water and one for another drink, usually wine. The additional glass is then placed beside the water glass. You can also use stemless wine glasses for casual occasions.
Triangular Glassware Layout
Formal events and gatherings have at least three glasses: one for water and the other two for red wine and white wine. If there is a dessert wine glass, it would be placed as the triangle's top point. Then, the water glass is placed below it but slightly angled to the left. Finally, the red or wine glass is placed on the lower right side, forming the triangle.
This type of layout saves up space and allows easy access for any of the glasses. Another triangular arrangement will have the white wine glass just above the knife used for the main course. The water glass takes its place on its lower right, and the red wine glass stays above the white wine glass.
Diamond Shape Glassware Layout
If the triangular arrangement makes room for one more glass, then it would form a diamond shape. It is similar to the triangular shape, but the white wine glass is positioned at a left angle below the red wine glass. And the sherry glass is placed at the lower left of the white wine glass.
Straight Line Glassware Layout
A simple arrangement that accommodates three glasses is lining them up parallel to the table’s edge, above the knife and spoon. The order would be water glass, red wine, and then white wine. It doesn’t require too much work, and it makes the table look neat and spacious.
Diagonal Line Glassware Layout
A variation of the straight-line layout is by tilting it to form a diagonal arrangement. The order is the same, water goblet first, then the wine glasses, which sometimes can exchange places. The arrangement is still above the utensils, but they are angled towards the edge of the table.
Slight Curve Glassware Layout
Mostly formal and big events have a broader scope of food and drinks. And so, arranging three wine glasses in a straight line may be simple and uncrowded, but lining up five of them can make the table look dull.
To remedy this scenario, the glasses are arranged in a slightly curved position in this order: water goblet, champagne flute, white wine glass, red wine glass, and sherry glass.
Where to Place Wine Glasses and Other Glassware
Meals for different types of occasions require different kinds of glasses. But, in any of them, the water goblet is always present. It is a standard that glasses are placed at the right side, above the knives, even for left-handed guests.
You have to remember to layout the glasses in the order they are used, just like silverware. All the glasses should be placed on the table, and there will be no fetching other glasses once the eating has commenced.
Please note that you don't have to arrange all the following glassware on the table during a single meal - only a combination or some or five of them at most.
The one glass that will not be absent in every dinner setting is the water goblet. Water is needed to wash down the food you ate or cleanse your palate whenever you are about to drink the next wine. The water goblet is placed closest to the hand on the right side. It is usually above the tip of the knife, roughly 1 inch apart.
Only one wine glass is usually needed in a casual dinner, and it should be positioned just beside the water goblet near the guest’s hand. But at formal gatherings and big events, there will be more than one wine glass.
Usually, it is a multi-course meal, so arrange the wine glasses in the order they are filled with their respective wines in each course. One would imagine this as a lineup of wine glasses, but you can arrange them in the triangular or the diamond layout to save space.
The position of the wine glasses will differ based on the number and the type of arrangement.
Red Wine Glass
Next to the water goblet, the red wine glass is the most common glassware you can see in almost all table settings.
If it’s just the water goblet and the red wine glass, they are usually beside each other. If the arrangement is either the straight or diagonal line, it is generally next to the water goblet on the right side. It is placed at the upper left of the white wine glass and above the spoon in a triangular shape.
In the diamond shape, it is at the upper right of the white wine glass. And if there are five glasses, the red wine glass is usually in the fourth place in the middle of the white wine glass and sherry glass.
White Wine Glass
For the triangular arrangement, place it on the lower right side of the red wine glass. But if there is no red wine and sherry is served instead, place the white wine glass at the upper left of the sherry glass.
And for the diamond arrangement, place it at the lower left side of the red wine glass. In the 5-lineup, it takes third place, between the champagne flute and the red wine glass.
Sometimes, neither red nor white wine is served, and champagne is provided in its place. Place the champagne flute next to the water goblet on the right side.
When champagne is served to go along with a particular dish, place it according to when that particular dish is served. The flute takes the second spot in the curved arrangement between the water goblet and the white wine glass.
The presence of the sherry glass is pretty unique. It is just like the Champagne flute wherein it is served to accompany a particular dish, but not just any dish; it has to have sherry as an ingredient. If the table is crowded, the sherry glass takes its place at the front left side of the white wine glass at the right.
But, if the table is not filled with too much stuff, you can put the sherry glass on the right side of the white wine glass. Place it on the fifth spot, farthest from the center of the table in the five-lineup.
Dessert Wine Glass
Unlike the other glasses, which are already laid on the table before starting the meal, the dessert wine glass is only brought out when it is time for dessert.
In the triangular arrangement, place it at the upper right side of the water goblet that is the upper left side of the red or white wine glass, so it’s the top point to form the triangle. At times, it could also be placed on the water goblet’s right side.
Sometimes, the juice is not just the accompanying beverage but rather the course itself. If this is the case, place the juice glass at the cover’s center on a tiny underplate. If it is an accompanying beverage, put it at the top right of the cover.
Typically, each drink is served one at a time. There are some events wherein both white and red wines are served. But in most meals, either one is served but both glasses are laid out on the table. Then, a server will ask the diner if he prefers red or white. Whatever he chooses, the server will remove the other wine glass.
During dinner, depending on the beverages present, the sherry would be served first at the same time as soup. Then, moving toward the main course, the white wine is served with mostly chicken and seafood, then the red wine goes with the meat dishes. Champagne is usually served last to make a special toast to denote the conclusion of the meal.
Tablescape is an art form that is taken delicately. It is essential to place the wine glasses and other glassware in a position that accommodates the guests most conveniently and comfortably.
So the next time you host a party, you are well-aware of what purpose each type of glassware plays. This way, you won’t mistakenly use the water goblet as a wine glass and vice versa.