Check out the new, mobile-friendly!

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,

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

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 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


= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Job Opportunities

Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator magazine is looking for an enthusiastic copy editor in the New York office.

Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered

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


The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

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