Great Article on Glassware in Latest Kermit Lynch Newsletter

Just read this after my wife sat on it for a while deciding which wines she wants ordered. Bam! I had never thought of a glass having such a negative affect on wine. I remember seeing a waiter in a gold country restaurant a good while ago take a wine glass from an very old cabinet before pouring wine into it. I now wonder what effect the old wood, etc., might have had on that glass.

Have you had any such experience with your glassware as Kermit did?

Did I miss the link??


Yes, storage cabinets can and do contaminate glassware. I have experienced this, though not in such dramatic fashion. I recall R. Parker warning of this in more than one of his books or articles…

I’ve had soap and musty aromas from glasses. And I attended a Riedel glass tasting (same wines from different glasses), where they had to wash all the glasses first because they’d been shipped in styrofoam chips and picked up some odors.

If you sniff a glass out of a box, you often find some aromas. In boxes where I can, I’ve lined the bottom with aluminum foil to avoid picking up anything from the cardboard.

I was once with a group in a winery on the Amalfi Coast, tasting tank samples. The tank samples were corked; we looked at each other with horror, thinking that the poor producer had a rare case of environmental TCA in his cellar; but it turned out to be exactly the same as in Kermit’s story, glasses stored in a cupboard that contained the smell.

And beware of tapwater sources that smell of TCA when rinsing glasses - happens all of the time . . .

The italians usually rinse carefully with wine before each taste, even if the wines are similar. I used to think it was stupid, now I think it’s a great idea.

Indeed! I remember visiting Marchese di Gresy on my first visit to the Langhe in 1996, where the woman popped the cork on one of their Barbareschi and used about a quartino’s worth just to rinse the huge Riedel balloon glass.

I’m of scots ancestry, I wouldn’t go that far.

of course. hence seasoning your stemware before drinking. i pour small amount of wine to wash the glass with that (season it).

glass built cabinets are best but very expensive and not always decor, kid, pet friendly.

Cabinet smell happens all the time. I almost always rinse my glass before pouring wine in it, even at someone else’s house or a restaurant. They have dust and odors and I’d just as soon not have them. I never understood people who bring their own glasses to a tasting stored in cardboard and then pour wine directly into them w/out rinsing. Kind of defeats the purpose of having a good glass in hand. I’d rather have any old clean and rinsed glass than the “right” glass.

But I’m a little compulsive - I rinse cups and other things too, ever since 30 years ago when I lived in a place that had cockroaches. The idea of eating roach crap with my beverage is a little gross.

A few years ago, I took one whiff of my brother’s stemware and they stunk of fresh cut lumber from the shelves. Since then, I keep all of my stemware upright.

If you breathe into a “clean” glass, then smell it, the odor issues are much more obvious.

Try it, if you haven’t already.

a friend aptly called it cupboarditis.

Especially if it’s an old cupboard or cabinet with old varnish, etc. Those antique things can positively reek.

I like your avatar Rasoul. I have some wine kitsch of my own gracing my kitchen.

I always smell the glass, whether at home or in a restaurant, before pouring wine into it.

me, too, have done so for years. Sometime, even at quality restaurants, they are soapy.


  1. sniff the empty glass
  2. never dry with towel or anything else
  3. try to store in the open

Coupla Q’s for anyone:

If you don’t dry the inside after washing, wouldn’t you get annoying water spots, even with a bottles water rinse? I recall that bowl-grabbing/finger prints got a few votes in the recent geek survey.

What about a paper towel inside dry? Still too strong of an odor?

When rinsing the glass with wine before serving a great wine, when you’re serving something nice like DRC, monfortino, or that awesome '10 whitehall lane cab, can you use a lesser wine from the region to prep (eg vosne 1er, farina barolo, or 09 whitehall lane cab), or would that corrupt the first glass of the good stuff?