Wine Foreplay: Prime Your Stemware Before Serving

Photo by Jeremy Parzen
Detergent- and dust-tinged stemware is one of the biggest challenges faced by wine lovers.
Last week's "how-to wine" post was devoted to opening a bottle of wine.

Sadly, it happens all the time.

A well-intentioned wine lover brings a bottle of super-groovy Oregon Pinot Noir, biodynamic Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley in France, or old-school Nebbiolo from Barbaresco to a friend's or family member's home for a special dinner.

The thrilled host insists on using her/his best crystal stemware to serve the wine and proceeds to open the china cabinet, in which the glasses have sat unused since the holidays.

The host opens the bottle and pours four steep glasses.

But when the host and guests raise their glasses in celebration, their noses are greeted by the smell of dust or detergent. And the wine is ruined.

Because most people use their finest stemware only on special occasions, the glasses often collect dust. Even worse, many people wash their stemware in the dishwasher, and while the patina of detergent may not have an effect on the Frito pie that you served to your kids on Wednesday night, it can -- and often does -- eclipse the aromas and flavors of fine wine.

The good news is that there are some simple steps you can employ to avoid these issues.

1. Wash your stemware by hand without the use of detergent

On the day of your dinner party, wash your stemware by hand using just warm water and no detergent. After washing, stand the stemware upside down on a clean kitchen towel and let the residue drain from the glass. After a few minutes, dry the glasses by hand using a clean kitchen towel. If many hours are to pass before your guests arrive, lay a sheet of cellophane over the glasses so that no dust settles in them in the meantime.

If you're concerned about hygiene, rest assured that the alcohol in the wine will sanitize the glasses before they reach your guests' lips.

This story continues on the next page.

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My Voice Nation Help

Cool piece! This stuff makes a difference. Sometiimes, I wish my wine glass would gather some dust!

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