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Jun 2, 2012 03:47 PM

If you wash Riedel wine glasses in a Miele dishwasher . . .

My KitchenAid dishwasher has given up. Since all our stainless steel kitchen appliances are from their Architect Series, I was planning to replace it with another 24" KitchenAid, so we'd have a consistent look and feel for all of out kitchen appliances. But our KA dishwasher has lasted less than 7 years, and in addition to the initial acquisition cost of $1300, we have had a series of out-of-warranty repairs that pushed its overall cost of ownership to the $2000 price point. Personal experience, combined with lackluster reviews on KA dishwashers from various sources, has led me to consider other brands.

Until now, I've always felt the need to wash my Riedel Vinum stems by hand, to prevent etching, clouding, fogging, etc. As a result, the ledge over my kitchen sink is perpetually filled with an ever-changing assortment of stems--sometimes as many as 40 at a time. This final breakdown has given me a reason to revisit dishwasher features, and I have been thrilled to discover that Riedel recently teamed up with Miele and now offers a dishwasher that can safely, gently, and completely care for high quality stems. Before I make my final selection, I'd like to gather together the experience that fellow Chowhounds have had with Riedel (or comparable stems) and specific models of Miele dishwashers, to assist me in making a final selection amongst Miele's various dishwasher models.

In addition to reading all the dishwasher threads on this board, I've chatted with Miele staff. Unfortunately, I've found that they aren't even aware of this partnership with Riedel, much less able to assist me in flushing out the differences between the models in their current lineup. So the best info I have at this point has come from, a site that focuses on this partnership between the two companies. I am still trying to determine which Miele models offer the combination of glasscare features that led Riedel to endorse them. Per the site, the features of import are:

• 3D cutlery tray: sufficient clearance also for stemware
• DeLuxe baskets: secure positioning of wine glasses
• AutoOpen drying: gentle, brilliant drying without polishing
• Perfect GlassCare: long-lasting sparkling finish on glassware
• 'Gentle' programme: perfect glass care control
• CareCollection: perfectly matching detergents with special glass-protection formula

What I cannot tell is: What price point in the Miele lineup do I need to be looking at in order to obtain all the glasscare features I want?

For example, I see that the 3D cutlery tray, which assists in stem placement for taller glasses, is only available on the Diamond and Dimension (and presumable Dimension Plus) models--which narrows it down to 12 models. But the DeLuxe baskets and AutoOpen drying seem to be only available on the Diamond models (only 3 models); Perfect GlassCare is available on all but the Classic models (16 models); "Gentle wash program" (not even listed on the spec sheet under that name) would seem to be available on the same 16 models (if it is the China & Crystal program); and CareCollection (unable to locate which specific products this refers to) would, it figures, be available for all models. And then there's the added paradox of what Miele calls their Crystal Collection (4 models), which one would think would offer all the features to maximize fine crystal care, but which does not appear to include the first three bullet point features on the Riedel list: 3D cutlery tray, DeLuxe basket configuration, and AutoOpen drying.

If you have a recent Miele--one in the Futura dishwasher series--I would love to hear which model you have, how many wine stems you can fit into your dishwasher at a time, what cycle you use for stems, what detergent/rinse aid/salt, etc. you use, and on a scale of 1 to 10, how you'd rate the care it provides for your quality stemware. There's about a $1000 differential between Crystal Collection models and their Diamond models, and I don't want to overspend to get the features that Riedel deems necessary for proper stemware care.

--Many thanks!

P.S. There's a really cool interactive demo on the site that shows how to optimize stem placement, and allows you to drag specific stems into the various trays of the Miele dishwasher:

It would be more helpful, however, if the site specified which racking configuration they are illustrating, and which Miele models offer that racking configuration. I have been unable to locate complete racking illustrations for the various models.

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  1. I have had a Futura Dimension for about 5 months. It does not have the glass holders in the lower basket, and only along one side of the upper basket, so it will only hold 4 of the red wine glasses at a time. I use the Miele detergent, rinse-aid, and water softener salts. I normally just run the regular cycle (heated drying), but so far no problems with etching or breakage. The glasses are usually spotless, but some water pools in the base.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Richard L

      Thank you, Richard. The information you provided is quite helpful.

      I can fit 4 Riedel stems in my existing KitchenAid--although I am not confident enough in the KA's wash program to entrust my stems to it--so if your model fits only 4 red wine stems, that's not what I was hoping for.

      Even so, how would you rate the performance of your Futura Dimension, when it comes to caring for your wine stems? If you could post the model number of your Dimension, for future reference, that would be much appreciated.

      According to the site, a Miele will fit up to 13 Riedel stems in the same load. Now that's something that I could get excited about, especially when compared to the amount of time it now takes me to get through the dozens of soiled stems on hand after a glorious dinner party:

      Of course, I still have no clue which Miele model this 16 stem capacity applies to.

      1. re: Richard L

        The Dimension comes with wine glass stem supports in the bottom rack, so either the dishwasher you have is not a Dimension, it is a showroom clearance unit with missing parts, or someone lost the pieces you mention.

      2. Since I seldom load our Miele Diamond S5915SCi dishwasher I can't begin to tell you how many Riedel stems fit in a given load, especially since we have at least six different glasses from the huge hand blown Bordeaux ones to the more diminutive stems for champagne and port glasses.
        What I can speak to is that our very first load we ran a gaggle of inexpensive INO tasting glasses which had taken on a foggy film (not quite etching) from cycling through our old KA jet engine dishwasher. Previously the only way we. Could eliminate that film was by soaking the.tasting glasses in.a solution of TSP in hot water for an hour and then hand scouring them with a nubby cloth....a chore we endured once a year just to keep them usable for large wine tasting events. So before trusting the Riedel to the new Miele we skid a load of what we considered expendable stemware. The result was incredibly brilliant, absolutely spotless INO glasses that had me so psyched that I stayed up through 3 or 4 more loads to clean the remainder of our 120 tasting glasses to like new perfection. Shortly thereafter we ran our first batch of Riedels thru on the (gentle) glassware cycle finding them in perfectly brilliant condition. We have now run them through the normal cycle mixed in with soiled dinner plates and experienced nothing less.than brilliant spotless perfection although some of the stems do pool a bit of clean water in their concave base. I wish I could speak to the quantity questions you'ed raised and know we did purchase a couple of the rack optios which may come into play. I know we use the Miele detergent tabs, their rinse aid and water softener salts. We dialed in the salts distribution rate based on the water hardness report from our local utility company and the results put our former KA workhorse to shame. We can run batches through cleaning cycles from prep and appetizer course as we sit for main courses, something w could never do with the old KA for fear of drowning out all conversation. In our first year of life with our new Miele the results have been impressive and the track record remains perfect with no broken stemware. Hope this helps a wee bit.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ThanksVille


          That report is a huge help, thanks. I feel like we're kindred spirits, as far as glassware goes. I, too, have many varieties of Riedel stems and can really relate to your story about the hours spent laboring over stems to try to get them to acceptable brilliance levels. As expensive as the Miele dishwashers are--and they are incredibly expensive--the investment we have in our wine glasses outweighs the dishwasher, so it isn't that much of a leap to conclude that a dishwasher that can properly care for them is a worthy investment. And the hours saved in being able to entrust our stems to a precision piece of German engineering . . . well, those are hours that would be much more enjoyably spent in hosting additional wine tastings and dinners.

          What a joy it must be to be able to run a load of Champagne stems and small plates from starters during dinner service. Is the run time of the Gentle glassware cycle short enough that those stems will be done by the time dinner is completed? Our dinners typically start at seven with 60-90 minutes of pre-courses before we sit down at the table, and end around 11:30 or midnight, so a cycle time that did not exceed 3-3 1/2 hours would do it.

          I'd be interested in knowing which cycle you use for Gentle, and also which accessory items you purchased to accommodate the maximum number of stems. According to Miele, the cycle names for your model are:

          Wash Program Overview - Futura Diamond G5915SCi
          Standard Wash Programs
          Pots & Pans - For washing pots, pans and preparation dishes with dried-on food particles
          Normal - For washing average soiled dishes with light fatty residues
          China & Crystal - For washing temperature sensitive items such as china and crystal stemware
          SaniWash - For washing and sanitizing heavily soiled dishes
          Rinse & Hold - Used to rinse items when a complete cycle is not required
          Express - A quick wash program for cleaning lightly soiled, temperature sensitive items

          Specialty Wash Programs
          ExtraQuiet - Reduces the sound of the dishwasher by 20%
          Heavy Soil - For heavy soiled dishes with dried-on food particles containing starch
          SensorWash - Sensor controlled program for normally soiled dishes
          Light Soiling - Particularly low water consumption
          EnergySaver - For washing lightly soiled dishes using standard household water temperatures. The water intake temperature should be at least 115°F
          Plastics - For gentle cleaning of dishwasher-proof plastics
          Starch / Cheese - For pots, pans and dishes heavily soiled with starch/cheese
          Tall Items - For cleaning tall items
          Glass - No Rinse Aid (warm) - For cleaning glasses without rinse aid
          Glass - No Rinse Aid (cold) - For cleaning glasses for immediate re-use without rinse aid

          Many thanks for taking the time to share your experience.

          1. re: culinarynomad

            Again must confess I am just the co-pilot for most efforts with clean up and the dishwasher but believe we tried several different cycles and now use the express wash cycle for the flutes and appetizer plates. That cycle is usually finished as we break to make coffee and deserts so my wife does an unload and quick fill of the main course dishes, etc running a normal cycle while I fire up the espresso machine and plate desserts. We have an open kitchen / formal dining room that keeps us engaged with family and guests and the timing of the simultaneous tasks seems to work as if we really coordinated our planning. Dessert stretches out for at least 90 minutes with coffee and port refills so as we wind down the hosting duties we typically have time to change into nightclothes before the main course stuff finishes, a final unload and new cycle of dessert stuff, coffee stuff and port glasses and they are unloaded the following morning. We used to host just one couple at a time while grad students in tiny kitchen apartments but now find the effort to host six or eight is really not a quantum jump in effort.....of course doing a family holiday for 20 does ramp things up a bit.....but so far the Miele has kept up with us. Sorry not to have the quantity counts or even rack options purchased but will check with the pilot on that.

          2. I just discovered this video on youtube that visually explains some of the Futura series Miele dishwasher features. Although the spoken language on this vido is German (which I don't understand), it is interspersed with English text translation. Of the three segments, I was most interested by the middle one that covers their Perfect GlassCare program. But the last part, about the AutoOpen Drying feature, is also one of the factors that Riedel cites as being crucial to providing flawless care for their stems.


            I've narrowed down my purchase decision to one of two Miele models. The Diamond series model is their top-of-the-line and includes all 4 Riedel care elements, as well as a 5 year warranty. The Dimension Plus model includes 3 of the 4 critical Riedel care features, and only lacks the FlexiCare Deluxe basket system that is exclusive to the Diamond model. Instead it has the FlexiCare Premium basket system.

            I visited the Miele showroom and carefully examined the difference between the two basket systems. It seemed to me that the top and middle racks are the same on both models. On the Diamond model, the lower rack includes additional stem supports that cradle the base of each inverted wine glass -- where the stem meets the base. These "cages" (as I like to think of them) secure each stem individually so stems cannot touch neighboring glasses during the cycle. These cages exist on the middle rack as well, in both the Dimension + and Diamond models. But the Diamond has additional cages on the front portion of both the left and right side portion of the lower rack. These extra cages take up about the front 40% of the depth of the lower rack.

            In this photo I took of the lower rack in the Diamond model, I placed blue-stemmed glasses in these extra cages (comparable in size and shape to Riedel Vinum Chardonnay stems). I placed Riedel Vinum Bordeaux glasses in the stem cages at the back of the lower rack. I was able to secure a total of 10 stems in the bottom rack (as shown) plus 8 additional stems in the middle rack, for a total of 18 stems in the Diamond.

            Without the additional cages in the Diamond, the Dimension + allowed me to secure a total of 6 stems on the lower rack and 8 stems in the middle rack, for a total of 14 stems. In this photo, the blue stems did not fit because it lacks the extra stem cages that are included in the forward sections of the Diamond's lower rack.

              1. re: kaleokahu

                I know, I know. But for those who can count the amount of time they've spent handwashing stems in days, this is a big deal--and worthy of some serious analysis.

                Hopefully, the info will be useful to another Chowhound down the line.<wink>

                1. re: culinarynomad

                  Hi, culinarynomad:

                  You clearly want this, so who am I to judge on the minutia? But if, as you say, the Miele will hold a maximum of 13 stems per load (I assume with the special racks, smaller stems *and* including nothing much else), I'm not understanding how this machine is going to save you "days" of time. A manual wash, rinse, drain and dry will take only slightly longer than loading the machine with glass and detergent and removing the glasses at the end of the cycle. Practically speaking, you better have enough stems for all you plan to do at one seating.

                  Would you please explain to this simple winemaker what an acceptable level of brilliance is in a stem?

                  Finally, have you tried a Spülboy?


                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Aloha, Kaleo!

                    I haven't tried a Spülboy, but I will check out your link. Thanks.

                    As to the number of stems, yes, I do have dozens of Riedel stems. Like ThanksVille, when we host wine dinners, we typically use 5-6 different Riedel stems per person. For example, we have different stems for Champagne, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Port, etc. At the conclusion of one of these dinners, we will have 3 to 4 dozen dirty stems.

                    When I say it takes me days to wash them, I mean that I only have the patience to wash a batch a day. That's why it takes me so long to get through them all. If, however, I were able to entrust them to a dishwasher that I felt confident would turn out perfectly brilliant glassware, I would. In fact, I will, as I am definitely going to buy one of the Miele Futura dishwashers so that I can spend more time entertaining and less time cleaning up. ;)

                    As you pointed out, the dishwasher cycle takes a considerable amount of time to wash and dry the glasses, but very little of that time is *my* time. So it's a huge time saving proposition for me.

                    As to brilliance, I am looking for a glass that is not etched, foggy, cloudy, or water spotted. Riedel has specified Miele dishwashers as being the only ones that they feel properly care for their quality stemware. That made my brand decision perfectly clear--pun intended!

                    The Miele Diamond model even has separate glassware cycles that do not dispense rinse aid. This means that the finished glasses will more accurately display the legs (or tears) when swirled. Now that's a dishwasher designed for wine lovers!

                    1. re: culinarynomad

                      Hi, culinarynomad:

                      You do what you want, but if my premise is correct (i.e., it takes just as long to load and unload Der Wundermiele as it does to do it manually), all you're doing is breaking up your effort into 3-4 blocks of elongated time. That and saving your nailwork.

                      If one is good, why not a pair?


                      1. re: kaleokahu

                        You've got a point there, Kaleo. There's something to be said for protecting a girl's manicure. ;)

              2. We have the Miele Professional, which is a completely brilliant model (it will do a load every 8 minutes on the quick cycle, otherwise it's about 15 minutes), and I would never dream of putting my Reidel in the dishwasher. And the balloons? Huh? They break if you breathe too hard. No, all our wine glasses get washed by hand c-a-r-e-fu-l-l-y.

                9 Replies
                1. re: roxlet

                  Any dishwasher washing of any wineglasses gave the French wine professional of my acquaintance the fantods at the slightest mention.

                  1. re: roxlet

                    I'm a sommelier, and until now I wouldn't have even considered putting fine wine glasses into any dishwasher, regardless of brand. But apparently Miele's newest lineup, called Futura, is specifically designed with features that are ultra-kind to fine crystal. Riedel has even endorsed them as being good for up to 1500 washings of their stemware, which they say is 20 years worth (but to me, 75 uses per year seems low, for a Riedel stem, so YMMV).

                    1. re: culinarynomad

                      You might want to visit then click on Miele Commercial Stemware Washers.

                      1. re: kaleokahu

                        Thanks, kaleokahu. I did check out that model and I am glad to see they offer a machine for wineries. I can't imagine tasting rooms having to hand wash Riedel stems. But I have family in the winery business, and to them replacement Riedel stems are a cost of doing business, whereas the same stems are too costly for me to replace on a regular basis.

                        1. re: culinarynomad

                          Welcome, of course.

                          This may be apostasy to Reidel zealots, but have you considered stemware that incorporates titanium into the glass? Along with my Reidels, I keep a stable of... ahem... Luigi Bormioli "Symphony"s which do quite well in a regular dishwasher. The "all-purpose" (essentially a 59cl Bordeaux) run $25/6 at Costco. I think they compete favorably with all of the Reidels except the Somelier, and are certified to withstand 4 THOUSAND conventional DW cycles. They do not exhibit the irridescent shine I've come to associate with Schott-Zweissel and other titanium stems.

                          Might save your Reidels and $3,000...


                    2. re: roxlet

                      I would not put wine glasses in the professional Miele model either because it has to wash at high temperatures to do a load that quickly, and high temps--from what I've recently learned--are not glassware friendly. I suppose regular thickness glasses would be OK in that model, but thin-walled stems like Riedel: no.

                      1. re: culinarynomad

                        It has a gentle cycle for china and crystal. Wouldn't use it on a bet. Not for the Waterford, and not for the Reidel crystal. Even when we have large parties and use up to 3 glasses per guest, I'll wash them over a couple of days just to be sure that they don't break. We rarely use our bone china (which was inherited and which I don't much care for), so we haven't tested the china cycle on that either. If you care enough to buy very expensive, delicate crystal, I don't understand putting them in the dishwasher. For very large parties, we often have help, and if we're using the crystal, I still wash it myself. I also wash the James Robinson silver by hand, and would never put it in the dishwasher either.

                        1. re: roxlet

                          roxlet, I totally understand. Until now, I've done as you do.

                          But I am hopeful that, after testing with one of each type of wine stem I use, I will be confident enough to let a Miele Futura handle my Riedel stems. That would be a true win for me.

                          I, too, have inherited china from the 1920s. Ours is Rosenthal. It has a wide gold coin border and I have not seen any contemporary china that is produced with such a lavish use of gold. I do not think I could bring myself to even test a single piece of that china in any dishwasher. Unlike our Riedel Vinum stems, these pieces are truly irreplaceable. I have Christofle silverplate, and I don't think I could confidently place that in a dishwasher either. But for me, handwashing plates and flatware is much less laborious than handwashing and polishing wine glasses, so I would still consider a dishwasher that could safely do my stems as a valuable kitchen assistant.

                          Plus, I don't often use that antique china or my Christofle, whereas I use Riedel stems on a daily basis.

                          1. re: culinarynomad

                            But here's the thing, cn, a couple of glasses a day isn't that laborious, and big parties aren't that frequent, but I guess you see it otherwise! Some of our Reidel is not replaceable since designs have changed since we began buying it, so I would be really sorry to break or damage them! You're right on the dishes -- gold or platinum edging should never be subject to a dishwasher, and I wouldn't want to test it on irreplaceable dishes either. Good luck, and do report back!