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,

I’ve seen the advice on never washing a decanter with soap. Does the same apply to all of your wineglasses as well?

—Jeff, via the Internet

Dear Jeff,

I’ve covered the basics of the care of wineglasses pretty thoroughly before, and yes, it really is best to avoid the use of soap as much as possible. As you can imagine, it can affect the flavor of a wine, and the residue can interfere with the formation of bubbles in a sparkling wine.

Ideally, you’d just use lots of hot water to keep your glasses clean. If you have stains inside your wineglasses, there are products to try—my favorites are squeaky foam brushes, those sponges that have the words “magic” and “eraser” in them, and baking soda, along with all that hot water. If I’m dealing with greasy fingerprints on the outside of the glass, I’ll use the tiniest bit of soap, but make sure to not get it inside the glass. And rinse, rinse, rinse.

—Dr. Vinny


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