How to wash the wine glasses you most cherish (One man's story of tough love turned ghastly)

Holy busted blind Riedels, Batman!

Hallowe'en won't be the same without my trusty pair of "trick or treat" stemless blind tasting glasses to raise my spirits.

Luckily I still have one glass left to drink with but as my friend Johanna, who brought these Riedels back from Austria for me, said: what's the point of tasting with only one blind tasting glass? You need at least two to generate intrigue. Just like you need more than one guest at a masquerade.

Even in shambles, my blind Riedel showed its beauty, its charm, its form and its function. No matter how I reconstructed the crime scene, this was one tough wine glass to read: The dark, nearly-black-but-kind-of-purplish glass masked its contents so well that's practically impossible to photograph the inside of its bowl, even with great lighting shining directly into it.

The black hole is such an apt metaphor for wine appreciation in my house.


Pose it and repose it as I may, the actual events leading up to my Riedel's demise confound me. I know fully well what happened but I have a hard time admitting it actually came to pass. The glass died in my own hands as a result of my own tough love -- harsh, abrasive and spotlessly clean.

Yes, I broke this glass washing it, something I hadn't done to a wine glass since my Spiegelau Spätburgunder glass bit the dust several years ago.

The problem is that washing stemware has a learning curve. Until you master it, you're on shaky ground. Once you master it, you're laughing. Laughing until stemless glasses come out and shake things up. Then you've got to rethink your whole approach.


The way I see it, stems are the easiest part of the glass to break yet the most integral part of the glass to prevent breakage, especially when washing up. Here's what I mean:

The trick when washing is to grasp the bowl of the glass with your two forefingers and your thumb. This way you do not to apply any direct or twisting pressure to the fragile stem. If you do, the image at left reveals the results (as you can see a wine glass with a snapped stem offers a unique opportunity to introduce a fancy candle snuffer/one heck of an expensive dust cover to you household, so it's not all bad).

But there's more! Grasping the bowl is sometimes not enough. Sudsy water can be slippery so I always hook my baby finger around the stem loosely. A good finger curl anchors the delicate process of washing (and drying too) and secures the glass should the bowl ever slip from your busy fingers and thumb.

Obviously, stemless glasses do not allow this. They lack this kind of forgiving component. Since there's no stem, more pressure ends up being applied to the bowl and rim to garner that same sense of kitchen-sink security, or in my case, my over-protective nature and...

Snap! Oh the irony!

Lesson 1: Don't smother the things you love so that the fear of losing them is what ultimately drives them away.

Lesson 2: [insert instructions on how to wash stemless glasses here]


Sonadora said...

Oh no, your poor glass! I thought those were so nifty when they first appeared on your blog!

Marcus said...

Hey Sona!

Another reason it's good to have blog!

Joe said...

I hope I was not involved with this incident - perhaps a bottle of cab franc 15% alcohol was the culprit?

David McDuff said...

Would you believe I've never broken a glass while washing??? Sorry for your loss, Marcus. You could always just replace the broken bowl, at much less expense, with a comfy pair of eye shades. They'll come in handy for overnight flights as well.

RougeAndBlanc said...

Marcus, fear not!
I think the black riedels is available at Amazon:


Are these the same as yours?
Happy Halloween.

Marcus said...

Hi RandB:

Yes, this is the one: http://tinyurl.com/27nthr.

David, I like your keen sense for repurposing its remains!

Joe, no worries -- this happened several days before your arrival.

Kelly said...

Oh, that's a crying shame. Poor glasses!