Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny



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

Dear Dr. Vinny,

I have Riedel glasses, and I want to keep them pristine. I’m afraid to put them in the dishwasher even though the box says they are dishwasher-safe. I have tried washing them by hand in a solution of warm water, dish soap and vinegar. I air-dry them because I broke one at the lip when drying by hand one time, and now I’m scared of breaking another. I use a cotton dishcloth to try to gently get the remaining spots and smears, but I can’t seem to get the glasses crystal-clear again.

—Lori, Fresno, Calif.

Dear Lori,

I feel your pain! I’ve broken my share of glasses, but I can share some tips I’ve picked up over the years.

Wineglasses are usually dishwasher-safe—as long as you leave plenty of space around the glasses and they aren’t going to bang into anything. Depending on your dishwasher set-up, you might need to invest in some inserts to keep the glasses secure; a pack of four should cost about $5.

But it's generally safer to hand-wash, and I just use the smallest amount of soap (or none at all) and lots of hot water. Even though vinegar is a good trick to keep glass sparkly in general, I don’t think it’s a great idea here—I’d hate for any residual vinegar to interfere with how your wine tastes. For stubborn stains, I like a little bit of abrasion with either a sponge or some baking soda, which won’t scratch.

When it comes to drying, remember to never hold the stem in one hand and twist the bowl with the other. Trust me, wine glasses don’t like to be twisted at their weak point. I can imagine a cotton cloth might leave lint. I like to use a linen towel, but there are polishing microfiber cloths specifically for wine glasses; they run about $10 a piece.

Whatever cloth you are using for polishing, remember to wash it in non-smelly soap and never use fabric softener, which might leave an odor and greasy residue on your glasses. Good luck!

—Dr. Vinny

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


WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.