• Alexander Smith

Top questions on wine glasses

​I receive dozens of emails from readers with questions on wine glasses. This can range from whether I can put wine glasses in the dishwasher to which wine glasses to buy. So hopefully the below should answer some of your top questions on wine glasses!


1. Do I have to clean wine glasses?

  • Yes! It is important to properly clean your wine glasses, this is not just due to aesthetic reasons. Dirty wine glasses can leave odors in the glass that can impact the quality and taste of your next sip! ​

2. Can wine glasses go in the dishwasher?

  • Most wine glasses can be placed in the dishwasher on a softer wash. I recommend skipping the heating cycle and making sure the glasses are well fixed within the dishwasher. If they are loosely placed they might bang together, causing potential breakages. For crystal wine glasses, I always wash them by hand​.

3. How do I wash crystal wine glasses?

  • I would never use any soap or detergent and always wash my crystal glasses that same night.

  • Crystal glasses are fragile, so treat them as such

  • Use a microfibre cloth

  • After running the glass under lukewarm water, I will hold the base and dry the inside of the glass including the rim. The best explanation would be to try and 'polish' the glass in a circular fashion. You can always hold the external of the bowl, just remember to remove your fingerprints.

  • Finally, remember to 'polish' the stem and base

4. Why do my wine glasses go cloudy?

  • This is due to the hard water in your region (the water in your sink often contains minerals, which when dry, can cause this cloudiness). A combination of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda can often help to remove these cloudy patches. ​

5. Will wine glasses break in the freezer

  • Yes! You have to be careful, the thermal shock of going from room temperature to sub-zero can often be enough to shatter the glass. If you wish to have 'frosty' wine glasses, I recommend putting them in the fridge first, followed by the freezer. But don't leave them there for too long! One way to easily shatter glass is to place warm glasses which have just left the dishwasher in the freezer. I never put wine glasses in the freezer, only in the fridge.

6. Are wine glasses microwave safe?

  • Why would you microwave a wine glass? Most sturdy wine glasses would be fine, however, there is no need to put wine glasses in the microwave. Like ever! ​

7. Can wine glasses be recycled?

  • Believe it or not, wine glasses are not recyclable. Like other drinking glasses, the chemical composition is different to say wine bottles, in fact, the melting temperature is different. This means the final liquid state of the melted glass will create abnormalities in the new recycled glass. If your wine glass is broken, wrap it in paper or similar and throw it in the trash. If they are not broken then donate them to your local charity shop.

8. Why do wine glasses have stems?

  • Without stems, you would be holding the wine by the bowl (these are called stemless wine glasses). These styles of glass impact the temperature of the wine since your warm hands would be enough to increase the temperature. Not ideal when drinking a cool white wine. I personally prefer stems since it allows better control of the glass to swirl., along with better control of temperature.

9. Why are wine glasses different sizes?

  • Wine glasses are designed to optimize the wine's flavors, textures, and taste. Whether you are drinking a Cabernet Sauvignon from Bordeaux or a Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, there will be a different wine glass that has been designed to optimize that wine. Check out my list of top wine glasses based on each style of wine (see below). If you want a wine glass that can be used for all styles of wines, this is currently my favorite universal wine glass: Schott Zwiesel Cabernet Collection: https://geni.us/l4LDYg. These glasses work well with most wines both red and white!

10. How are wine glasses made?

  • Wine glasses can be made by blow modeling, pressing, or molding liquid glass into the shape of a wine glass. Crystal wine glasses don't actually contain crystal but zinc or lead which increases its refractive index.

11. Where to buy wine glasses?

  • Wine glasses can be purchased online. Retailers will carefully package and if any damage occurs during transport most retailers will refund the damaged products.

12. Which wine glasses should be used for which wine?

  • A universal wine glass - A wine glass that can be used for most styles: red, white, sparkling, etc. It might not be the perfect glass for each wine style, but it does mean you do not have to buy 20 different wine glasses​. This is currently my favorite universal wine glass: Schott Zwiesel Cabernet Collection: https://geni.us/l4LDYg. These glasses work well with most wines both red and white!

  • Varietal/region-specific wine glasses - These wine glasses have been made for specific styles of wines. A big Napa Cabernet needs a slightly larger glass to be able to soften the tannins, dissipate the alcohol and allow the wine to fully open up. A crisp Sauvignon Blanc on the other hand needs a smaller glass to keep those wonderful aromatics and temperature low. The below covers my recommendations:

  • White wine glasses (coming soon)

  • Red wine glasses

  • Champagne glasses (coming soon)

  • Port wine glasses

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