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FAQs about Wine Glasses

by Christina Wright

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A solitary hand-blown white wine glass

As any true oenophile knows, the world of wine is huge, and there's always something new to learn. Because wine glasses and other bar and wine tools are an investment in your entertaining capability, you want to make sure you know you're getting the right ones and taking care of them properly. Fortunately, this buying guide provides you with the answers to some frequently asked questions about wine glasses. Read on to learn something new about your favorite pastime.

Questions about Wine Glasses:

  1. Can I put my stemware in the dishwasher?
    When caring for your wine glasses and barware, there are a few things to remember. Hand washing your stemware with warm water and very little soap is the best way to care for your wine glasses. However, stemware can be washed in the dishwasher as long as special care is taken when doing so, especially with crystal glassware. When washing your wine glasses in the dishwasher, use a neutral-smelling soap or better yet, no soap at all. Your stemware should not be placed in a dishwasher full of other dishes. It's better to wash a glassware-specific load than to mix plates, bowls, pots and pans in with your glassware. Always check the manufacturer's care instructions before using your wine glasses.

  2. Doesn't fine crystal contain lead?
    Although you can buy crystal without lead, most fine crystal wine glasses and decanters do contain lead. Typically, the more expensive the crystal, the more lead it contains. Any liquid stored in a lead crystal container, such as a wine decanter, can leach lead from the crystal. This doesn't mean you should fear using your beautiful crystal decanter or stemware, but you should take some precautions. Avoid storing Cognac or Port in a lead crystal decanter. For entertaining purposes, it is fine to serve beverages from your crystal decanter; remember to empty the contents back into their original bottle at the end of the evening rather than leaving it in the decanter.

  3. What is the purpose of a wine decanter?
    In times past, wine commonly contained a considerable amount of solid matter due to the lack of filtering technology available. Back then, a wine decanter acted as a mode of filtering out the solid matter before pouring a glass of wine. Today, most wine on the shelf is thoroughly filtered during the production process and has no need of a decanter for filtering purposes. That being said, wines that age in a bottle, mostly red wines, will develop sediment the longer they age; so when you open up that wedding day bottle of red wine on your 10th anniversary, you will want to use a decanter to filter out the sediment. For most people, decanters will be most useful for enjoying young wines on an everyday basis. Decanting a young wine aerates the wine, allowing it to develop more complex flavors and aromas that normally only develop with years spent aging in a bottle. Decanting a young and inexpensive bottle of wine can make it taste like a much more mature and expensive bottle.

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