Aside from the wine itself, the glass from which you taste is arguably the most important part of the wine-tasting experience. We’ve all heard about glassware shapes, sizes, and materials. But do you actually need a new glass between tastings? And if not, how does one ensure that the wine glass is properly cleansed between pours?
Realistically, you don’t need a new glass between every single wine. Fully emptying your glass into a spittoon is a good first step, though you’ll most likely want to take it just a little further and rinse your glass. While many tastings and wineries offer water for rinsing, this is actually not the best way to cleanse your used vessel. Leftover water, even just a drop or two, can significantly dilute the next pour into your glass, altering the pigment, aroma, and taste of the wine.
Your best bet is to rinse the glass with a tiny drop of the next wine to be tasted. This will not only rinse the remnants of the previous wine from the glass, but prime the glass for the upcoming wine to be poured. A simple splash is more than enough to complete a rinse; you don’t need a full pour to get the glass cleaned. Rinsing isn’t always necessary between tastes of the same type of wine (that is, only tastes of reds and/or only tastes of whites), though it’s highly encouraged in between drastic changes in wine tasting, such as moving from whites to rosés to reds, or from very dry wines to sweet dessert wines. Simply swirl the splash around and empty into the spittoon; consuming the rinse will most likely result in a terrible tasting blend of two wines, and a few dirty looks from whoever is pouring.