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.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

Given the complexity and delicacy of fine wine, what is the best way to dry expensive stemware? I avoid drying towels that have gone through fabric softener treatment for fear of residual chemicals winding up in my glass and thusly spoiling the delicate chemical balance of my wines. Am I onto something here, or am I, as my wife suggests, NUTS? Help me....

—Paul E., Lawrenceville, N.J.

Dear Paul,

You're not going nuts. I worry about these things too. Not only do you have to worry about the influence of the fabric softener's aromas mingling with your wine, fabric softener would have an adverse affect on the bubbles in a glass of sparkling wine. Get some lint-free bar towels, and don't use fabric softener on them. There are some suede microfiber towels on the market especially for wine glasses that I've heard work well. Or, avoid towels altogether—get a rack (hanging or otherwise) to invert your wine glasses on and let them dry that way. You can use a paper towel to wipe the outside of the glass, but you'll want to avoid leaving paper towel odors on the inside. And remember, some paper towels are smellier than others.

—Dr. Vinny


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