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Cleaning Wine Glasses

Here's a few wine glass rules that will make sure you get the best flavours from your wines and keep your wine glasses sparkling clean.

  1. Don't use the dishwasher. There are two very good reasons not to put your wine glasses in the dishwasher along with your dinner plates. One is that your average dishwasher in incredible harsh on delicate glassware. Your dishwasher is designed to remove baked on muck from your cooking dishes and this is way too rough. At best you'll chip a few glasses, at worst you'll break them. The second reason is that you're smearing your glasses with all your dinner left-overs. Regardless of the wash and rinse cycles you're still trying to clean your wine glasses in the same water used to wash greasy dinner plates.
  2. If you must use a dishwasher, don't use the rinse aid. Most dishwashers use a 'rinse aid'. The role of the rinse aid is to help dry the dishes. Water on plates and cutlery or any polished surface will form a 'bead'. So when it dries, it leaves the outline of the 'bead' on the plate. The role of rinse-aid is to break down the surface tension in the water so it runs off the plates and doesn't 'bead' on them. So rinse-aid is especially wine glass unfriendly as it leaves a coat of 'detergent' on the glass.
  3. Wash them by hand in hot water. The best possible clean is to rinse your glasses in hot water and let them dry. 83 degrees Celsius is the magic number that will sterilise glassware. Most commercial glass washers use this temperature and above. And note I said commercial glass washers, not domestic dishwashers.
  4. Let them dry naturally and don't wipe them. While your glasses are still hot from the rinse, put them upside down and let them air dry. Don't wipe them. Even the cleanest tea towel leaves some fibres on the glass. All this impacts the flavours you get in your wines.
  5. Use as little detergent as possible. If you're really germ obsessed and have to use detergent then please use as little as possible. Remove lipstick on the glass by giving them a scrub before rinsing. Use as little detergent as possible and then rinse your glasses several times. Most commercial glass washers use a tiny amount of detergent due to health regulations. But if you can avoid it altogether then you'll get a much better result.
  6. Getting rid of the white grey film. This will affect your crystal glasses more than your wine tasters. The solution is easy. Just soak them in a weak vinegar solution for an hour or two. The vinegar (acetic acid) eats away the organic (wine) build up. After a while you'll have sparkling clean glasses again.

So it's easy. Like most things around wines and winemaking it all comes back to plain old keeping things as clean as possible.

* Reproduced with permission from Peter Svans

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