Washing stemware

Washing wine glasses is area where hard-wired worries trump best practices.

Wines glasses are best washed by hot water without soap. Residual soap taste is wine’s mortal enemy.

Wine glasses are best washed by hand, not in a dishwasher.

Rinse glasses in hot water as soon as possible—at least put glasses in water to soak overnight.

Rinse in hot water; if you are obsessive, scrub with soap-free sponge or cloth. Wine is better germ killer than soap; a sponge or cloth should remove any lipstick or fingerprints.

If there are really stubborn stains, use baking soda or brushes designed for crystal. Most wine drinkers rarely encounter horrors requiring such effort. If you compulsively must use soap, use as little as possible and rinse, rinse, rinse.

Some wineglasses claim to be “dishwasher safe.” Either they are not truly dishwasher safe or the glass is so thick it interferes with wine enjoyment.

If you insist on dishwasher use, ensure glasses are secure and spaced apart—glasses banging into each other during water agitation is cause of most breakage.

Wash glasses in dishwasher by themselves. Do not use soap. Open the door after the cycle to let steam escape. Even with precautions, glasses eventually become cloudy. Then it will be time to buy more and—maybe—listen to hand-washing advice.

Drying stemware is most common cause of hand-washed breakage. Never twist the stem; twist the bowl. Be gentle. Use lint-free towel.

You can drink wine from a jelly jar, but quality appreciation comes with appropriate, thin glass, crystal-clear, soap-free vessel. Give your wine its best chance to taste its best.

Tasting notes:

  • Gnarly Head Authentic Black 2012: Black fruit, licorice, plum, chocolate; jammy, cord of oak; ripe-fruit-bomb lovers will enjoy this value play. $12
  • Chateau Roc de Segur Bordeaux 2011: Plenty of ripe fruit, plum, raspberry, spice, tannin; exceeds-expectations, entry-level Bordeaux. $12
  • La Posta Fazzio Malbec 2012: Ripe fruits, plum, baked apple; medium body; smooth, obliging tannin; nice acidity, crispness; excellent value. $20

Last round: The optometrist said I needed new glasses. So, I got one glass for red, one for white, one for sparkling.