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,
When you are involved in a small tasting and have one glass, should you rinse it out between wines if you have tasted and emptied out the prior wine?
—Michael F., Las Vegas
I don’t think it’s necessary to rinse between pours when tasting multiple wines with the same glass. Just make sure you’ve sipped or poured out the remaining wine before moving on to the next one. If you put water in your glass after every pour, you run the risk of diluting your wine or even adding notes of chlorine if it’s chlorinated tap water. That said, if you prefer to rinse out your glass with water between pours, I don’t think anyone will look at you funny.
However, if I’m switching from red to white, from something sweet to something dry, or if I’m worried the previous wine may have been off or from a bad bottle, I might want to rinse before moving on. But I don’t rinse with water; I do what’s called “priming” my glass with the next wine. I’ll hold out my glass and ask the pourer for just a splash so I can “rinse,” then swirl it around and dump it out. Then I’ll go back for a regular pour.
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