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,

Got a trick to get rid of water stains in a carafe?

—Benoit S., Canada

Dear Benoit,

Sure, I have a bunch of them. Water stains in a carafe or decanter are typically caused by mineral deposits in your water. I’d start by using a mild acid such as vinegar or lemon juice to see if that works. I’ve also heard ammonia can be effective. Sometimes the cleanser could also use a boost from something mildly abrasive, so baking soda, uncooked rice or rock salt might help. They also sell reusable cleaning beads that are like fancy BB pellets.

If none of the above work, there are products made to combat calcium and lime build-up; read the instructions carefully and rinse like crazy when you’re done. My decanters tend to get a build-up of red wine stains, and I’ve found that denture tablets work really well for those—you just have to rinse really well afterwards to get rid of any minty fresh notes.

To help prevent stains in the future, wash by hand and dry immediately after with a lint-free cloth.

—Dr. Vinny


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