ask dr. vinny

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. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

What is the best way to store, clean and care for wineglasses?

—C., Irvine, Calif.

Dear C.,

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.

—Dr. Vinny


Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

MEMBER LOGIN

= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Free Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences

Classifieds

The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories