There’s nothing worse than serving a very expensive wine in dirty, spotted wine glasses. First of all, it’s so noticeable right off, you know, spots. Then there is the way the wine can foam as you swirl, a sure sign of soap film left in the glass. There are right ways to wash those wine glasses, whether you own expensive crystal or generic inexpensive glasses. The bottom line is you want and need them to be clean.
But wait, we want to talk to you about safety first, which by the way goes with cleaning those glasses. Most everyone at one time or another has broken a wine glass while washing in the sink, be honest now. One of the most common and dangerous is trying to clean the inside of the bowl with your hand or washcloth. Finer glasses are very thin and fragile, and not only the bowl but also the stem can easily break off, and injure you. We will discuss not only cleaning, but also “tools of the trade” to keep those hands clear of bandages, and wine tasting fine.
First of all, after use always wash your wine glasses so they don’t stain, but if it’s late and the bedroom beckons you, at least rinse and leave full of water for cleaning in the morning. When you wash wine glasses, always wash with warm water, never hot water. The “experts” like Riedel who produce some fine glassware suggests that wine glasses never need dishwashing detergent, just rinsing out and drying completely. I personally believe that there are some excellent cleaning aids and solutions out there that guarantee your wineglasses are clean.
Checking websites like Wine Enthusiast has products for cleaning that I use, and am perfectly happy with the results. Liquid cleaning agents specifically for glassware that don’t leave spots, as well as soft cleaning brushes make exclusively for cleaning inside small wineglasses, like Champagne Flutes. Using these almost guarantees you won’t break the glass, but take note, I said almost. I find that the more expensive the wineglass, the thinner it is, and the more careful I become. My wife says I’m “anal” because of the way I carefully handle cleaning wineglasses. I wash one at a time, with cleaning aids, rinse carefully, then place upside down on a clean dishtowel for a couple minutes. Then I carefully dry with a special cotton towel.
If you really want a spot free absolutely spectacular clear glass, you can steam it (carefully) over a teapot spewing hot steam, then buff with a microfiber towel. Be very careful when cleaning while holding the stem of a glass, because it can easily snap off. This is especially likely when cleaning the inside of the bowl.
When finished and you are putting in a cabinet or display case, always place on the base, right side up. Storing any glassware upside down will trap stale air inside and create an unwanted taste and smell when drinking from it. Nothing insults my nose more that upon my first swirls and sniffs to find a musty scent. It can easily make one think the wine is tainted. Also, no matter what the manufacturer states about your new dishwasher, never put your good wineglasses in it for cleaning is you want clean and one piece wineglasses.
For stubborn stains like greasy fingerprints or bright red lipstick if you’re friendly “Starlet” was over for dinner, there is a procedure that works quite well. Rinse your glass out with very warm water, then fluff baking soda inside and out and clean carefully with soft clothe, sponge or specialty cleaning tool. Then rinse well as explained above. This method will also eliminate stale unruly odors that may form in your glasses.
As far as cleaning agents, I personally use Wine Enthusiast “Stem Shine Wine Glass Cleaner, that comes in liquid and crystal form.