We carry many styles of stemware from varied manufacturers for all kinds of wine. Like so many things in wine, the choice of what you drink from is as personal as your choice in wine; everyone seems to like something different. Whether it be the look of the glass, the technical qualities of how it delivers the wine to your palate, or the aromas to your nose, we all have our preferences. And like all these choices in wine accoutrements and wine in general, there is no right or wrong opinion.
The tough part for wine consumers though, is that glass and crystal break, so from time to time you will need to add glassware to replace those that “go down,” or you may decide to take the plunge and go with a whole new design. Regardless of what you are using now or may go to in the future, there are some simple steps in caring for your glassware that will keep it looking good and hopefully limit how many you lose to breakage.
When we worked at the wineries in California, here in our shop, and most times when dining out, we end up drinking out of Riedel. The “Wine Glass Company” from Austria, as they like to call themselves, has built an empire based on the design of glasses that deliver the wine perfectly to your palate based on what varietal you are consuming. For all those skeptics out there I would encourage you to do a Riedel tasting sometime, you will never drink wine from anything else. For those restaurants who still serve wine from those horrible, thick glass, rolled edge, tiny glasses, the time to change is now and present your wine in appropriate stemware like Riedel. Your guests will appreciate it, and trust me, you will sell more wine because it simply will taste better.
Regardless of Riedel or other stemware though, here are a couple of pointers to keep the glass sparkling and improve your odds of keeping it intact. Most wine glasses should and can be washed in your home dishwasher, including Riedel and other crystal; they will do just fine there. Many of us in the area though deal with hard water issues. Always use the hot water cycle on your dishwasher if you have a choice and include a good rinse agent. Even if you use the dishwasher “biscuits,” include additional rinse agent.
Dry your glasses right when they come out of the dishwasher. This will prevent even more water spots and keep your glasses clear and sparkling. While water spots will not likely affect the taste of your wine the glasses sure will look better which can improve your overall wine experience.
Here is the one pointer that will save you more broken stemware than anything else. When we worked in the wineries in California this is the first thing we were taught about drying and polishing stemware. The glasses we used in the tasting rooms were all Riedel and were washed in commercial dishwashers that do not have a dry cycle, so every glass was hand dried and polished. Never, ever, hold the glass by the stem when drying or polishing! The most common way stemmed glasses are broken is during polishing when glasses are held by the stem and the stem is twisted right off. Cup the hand that is not holding the towel around the bowl of the glass. Form the towel around as many fingers as you can comfortably fit inside the bowl of the glass based on your hand size. Turn the glass with the non toweled hand polishing the inside. Then move to the outside with the towel but again not by holding the stem, and finish by making a quick pass over the stem and the base.
For drying and polishing, a simple cotton towel without any nap or texture to it is the best choice.
Accidents happen and you still might lose some glasses from time to time, but with the investment you have in stemware, minimizing breakage is a good plan.
If there is a topic you would like to read about or questions on wine you can email George@thedinnerpartyshop.com or make suggestions by contacting the Healthy Community section at the Coeur d’Alene Press.
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George Balling is co-owner with his wife, Mary Lancaster, of the dinner party — a wine and gift shop in Coeur d’Alene by Costco. The dinner party has won the award for best wine shop in North Idaho twice, including for 2018. George is also published in several other publications around the country. After working in wineries in California and judging many wine competitions, he moved to Coeur d’Alene with Mary more than 10 years ago to open the shop. You can also follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/dinnerpartyshop.