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What's the best way to clean wine glasses?

If you wipe too enthusiastically while gripping the base of the wine glass, the stem can break at the weak point – its junction with the bowl.


The question: You wrote recently about rinsing decanters. What about cleaning wine glasses?

The answer: Opinions range. I'm a Palmolive man …

So to speak, that is. I recommend using lightly soapy water, regardless of brand, and thoroughly – repeat, thoroughly – rinsing with water. Some crystal-stemware manufacturers suggest a simple dunk in a sink filled with very hot water, then a polish with a lint-free cloth. I find that this often fails the greasy-fingerprint test. Worse, it fails the lipstick-residue test, and, depending on your "crime," lipstick can land you in hotter water than fingerprints. Dishwashers, while technically safe for many glassware brands, are precarious where long stems are concerned and can be abrasive over time.

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I wash by hand, slowly and gently, sometimes cupping the bowl with one hand (rather than holding the stem) and sponge-washing with the other. If you wipe too enthusiastically while gripping the base, the stem can break at the weak point – its junction with the bowl. Make sure there's lots of soapy water in the sponge so that it glides easily.

For stubborn lipstick, hold the glass by the base at a safe angle over the spout of a steaming kettle. When the stain area fogs up, take a cloth and wipe carefully. Then wash and rinse. If the lipstick colour fails to match your wife's, burn the cloth.

Have a wine question?

E-mail your wine and spirits questions to Beppi Crosariol. Look for answers to select questions to appear in the Wine & Spirits newsletter and on The Globe and Mail website.

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About the Author
Life columnist

Beppi Crosariol writes about wine and spirits in the Globe Life and Style sections.He has been The Globe's wine and spirits columnist for more than 10 years. In the late 1990s, he also wrote a food trends column called The Biting Edge.Beppi used to cover business law for ROB and previously edited the paper's weekly technology section. More

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