Spit Happens #43 – Wine Glasses (why they matter and why they don’t)

I have an on and off love affair with nice wine glasses. Sometimes in the same evening. I love to drink out of nice big glasses and I really enjoy they way they look on a table . It’s very cool to walk into a restaurant for a wine dinner and see all the glassware patiently awaiting their next fill of champagne , wine or any other libation. I’m aware a lot of work goes into setting up for one of these events and have a lot of respect for waitstaff who get them looking spotless and aligned on the table. I also love a nicely set table at home but don’t look forward to the end of the evening with the same fondness I do in a restaurant because I know what awaits me. It is an absolute pain to deal with 30 or more glasses at midnite when you are tired and you have already consumed regrettable amounts of wine and food.
In our house we have learned a few tips to avoid general carnage and breakage.

  1. Refuse all offers by guests to help clean up. Likely they are not in any better shape than you. Any assistance often results in breakage and/or other mayhem.
  2.  Do not attempt to wash them that evening, this also spells disaster. A quick rinse one at a time in the sink should suffice.
  3. Set them aside and wash them in the morning . In our house they get washed one at a time with Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. And rinsed really really well with hot water.
  4. If the glassware isn’t too precious put them in the dishwasher ( well spaced ) and set it on the delicate cycle. Quick rinse usually isn’t long or hot enough to fully remove the soap residue.

Years ago we went to Australia for a holiday and an unnamed winery in Rutherglen insisted on a fresh glass with every sample of wine . The soap residue was so strong we could barely smell the wine. I often wonder how they sold anything at all. There is a trick to removing the soap aromas from a glass. An on the spot solution ? Pour a small amount of wine into a soapy smelling glass ( maybe 10-15ml ) , slowly rotate the glass in your hand so the liquid rolls over all the interior surfaces of the glass and then dump it out. We call this “burning” a glass. The act of burning should result in a glass with minimal effects of glass washing and a nice experience for your next taste of wine.

Given a choice of a fancy glass that’s a bit stinky and a super clean jam jar I would pick the jam jar every time. I want to smell the wine in my glass not the glass in my wine…

Glassware producers I have been happy with in the past include Riedel , Spigelau or for the ultimate value IKEA is a great solution.

If you are working in a restaurant setting then a call to Wine Cellar Depot for a brand called Stolze is in order. Great price point and excellent durability. Wine Cellar Depot also supplies ISO glasses to many wine educators as well. Stay tuned for a blog post on that in the future as well.

wine glasses

Thanks for your time.

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Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers
David Lancelot