Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
What is the best way to store, clean and care for wineglasses?
—C., Irvine, Calif.
To start with, if you’re storing your wineglasses in a cupboard, it’s best to set the glasses upright. If you flip them upside down, you might run the risk of chipping them where they’re most delicate, on the lip of the bowl. Leave as much space between them as possible so they won’t clang around. If you have the space, wineglass racks are pretty awesome. I’ve kept some of my more fragile glasses in the cardboard boxes they come in, but then I have to prep them before use because they start to smell like the cardboard box.
When it comes to washing wineglasses, hot water is your friend and residue-leaving soap is your enemy. Try to wash them (or at least rinse them) as soon as possible before stains set in—if it’s at the end of a long evening of revelry, you can soak them in warm water overnight. Rinse, rinse, rinse with hot water. For stubborn stains, I’ve found products that work: baking soda, special foamy brushes designed for crystal, and those disposable white sponge-things with the word “eraser” in the name. I know some people who use fizzy denture cleaners. If you need to clean greasy fingerprints or bits of leftover lipstick, use as little soap as possible, and then rinse until you can’t rinse any more.
It really is best to wash glasses by hand. Even though some wineglasses are dubbed “dishwasher safe,” I know firsthand that some really awesome wine lovers have tempted fate by putting their glasses in a dishwasher with bad results (ahem). If you’re going to ignore this advice, then please just make sure there’s plenty of space between the glasses, that they’re secure, wash them in a cycle by themselves, and then open the door to let the steam escape after the cycle is over. You are warned: multiple dishwashings can lead to cloudy glasses.
Drying wineglasses is one of the trickiest parts, and where I’m most likely to break a glass. Never using a twisting motion—if you twist the bowl from the stem, you might just end up with the bowl in one hand and the stem in another. Drying and polishing with a lint-free towel (that you should never wash or dry using any sort of fabric softener) is your best bet. A drying rack is also a good idea.
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