Any time you throw a dinner party, perhaps for your boss or some important clients, you want everything to be perfect. But how do you make sure your wine glasses meet the standard – the right ones, cleaned and ready to enjoy wine out of?

Good wineglasses are important to the enjoyment of wine. In part because of that visceral feel of the stem in your hand, but also because great glasses are crafted to feature the aromas of the wine and place the wine on the right part of the tongue. Purchasing good ones can be an investment, as they run from $25 a stem to over $100 for special ones. Some of the better known premium brands include names like Reidel and Spiegelau

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some amazing and memorable wine with friends out of a red solo cup at a picnic. But dinner parties need stemware.

Let’s start from the aftermath of the last dinner party. You’re left with dirty glasses, half-drunk glasses, and lipstick on the rims of a few. While it might be tempting to toss them into the dishwasher and head to bed – don’t! Stemware needs to be cleaned by hand with lots of hot water and some elbow grease. Soap residue is your enemy when it comes to wine glasses.

That’s because the next time you put a wonderful wine into a glass that contains any of that residue, the soap will go into the wine and make it evil tasting. This is not the way to make an impression at a dinner party. You must avoid soap residue at all costs to keep the stemware conditioned for wine.

Ideally, before you head to bed you will carefully hand wash the stemware and leave it to dry or even hand dry it. If you can’t muster the energy for that, rinse a few times with water and leave the stems partially full of water overnight.

The next day, use lots of hot water and rinsing to remove the wine residue. Wine is water-soluble so this should do the trick. For oil-based stains like lip stick, baking soda and a fine sponge can remove that residue with a little effort. A fully clean glass should sheet water and not spot very much. If you really can’t remove a smudge, use the smallest amount of soap you can and rinse very, very completely. You can then leave your glasses to drain in a rack upside down or better, dry them with a lint free cloth to remove the water and buff out the water stains.

You should store your glasses bottoms down as you can easily chip the rims of the delicate glasses if you store them top down. This means that some dust will settle in the glasses over time. When you take them out to use you should use the same lint-free cloth to buff the glasses to remove the dust and any residual water stains. Look through the glass at a light to ensure that the glass is completely clean. You will see sommeliers do this before service in nicer restaurants.

If you use this approach, your guests will arrive to sparkling wineglasses ready to receive a pour of your favorite white or red. In a future article, I’ll take about the different wine glasses you will want in your collection and why you’ll want those particular ones.