Talking Stemware with Paola Embry
Of course, most consider crystal stemware "the best," and Embry says she prefers crystal but says that "over the course of time crystal will stain. There is no need to buy expensive product. I use baking soda and warm water for my glasses and Kosher salt, vinegar and ice on my crystal decanters."
Once you've purchased stemware you need to hold it properly to ensure proper temperature control. "The reason for the stem on a glass is to give you a place to hold the glass without cupping the bowl and warming the wine." And be assured, temperature is important. "I would rather drink an inexpensive $15 bottle of wine at the right temperature than a $100 bottle of wine at the wrong temperature," says Embry.
After all of your research and money spent on stemware, your biggest fear might be breaking a glass or two. Embry says to "never put your crystal glasses in the dishwasher. At home, I hand-wash all crystal glassware with lukewarm water. Crystal is much more porous than silica-based glass. Unfortunately, this allows for the crystal to absorb all sorts of odors and tastes such as wash detergent, bleach, etc. I put very little mild detergent (just enough to clean the rim), and it's important to rinse very well."
Once you are drying Embry says to first, "dry the interior while holding the towel in two places, one hand under the bowl, and the other reaching into the glass carefully. If you follow these steps when cleaning, they should help avoid breakage. "