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Table Setting Formal How to Set

Table Setting Formal How to Set

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

What does a formal place setting look like exactly? Also, is it important to have different types of wine glasses for different wines being served? I only have one shape wine glass. I was planning to put two glasses out per person since I'm serving white wine for the first & second course and red wine for the third course. Or, can I serve both wines in the same glass, or is that really uncouth?


Need to Know

Dear Need to Know,

The diagram above is one type of formal table setting. The napkin can also be placed to the left of the forks instead of over the salad plate. The order of the wine glasses can be changed depending on which wine is served first.

If you only have the one style wine glass, use that for both wines, but use separate glasses, not the same one. Pouring red wine into the used white wine glass will alter the flavor of the red, so you don't want to mix wines.

For a wine connoisseur, different wines require the proper wine glass style. For example, white wines are served chilled and their glass stem is tall so that the hand doesn't touch the bowl of the glass and warm the wine. The bowl of the white wine glass is smaller than a red wine glass that also helps preserve the chill. Red wine is served at room temperature in a larger glass in order to enhance the bouquet. Champagne needs a tall narrow fluted glass to keep the wine chilled and bubbly.

To learn more about glassware for wine, see