Grape Destinations: What Does a Wine Decanter Do?

It’s probably hidden in a box somewhere in the attic or basement collecting dust with all your other wedding gifts, but a wine decanter is one of the best ways to get the most out of any bottle of vino. A decanter may seem unnecessary, but if you truly want to appreciate the subtleties of certain wines, there’s no better way than to decant.

What is a Decanter?

A decanter is simply a glass vessel which allows the wine more exposure to oxygen than in the regular bottle. They often have interesting shapes depending on the variety of wine you’re decanting. The process couldn’t be more simple: open the bottle of wine and pour the entire contents into the decanter, wait 15 minutes and you’re all set!


Not all wines need to be decanted, but it can’t hurt | Photo by brandy turner on Unsplash

RELATED: Grape Destinations: Wine and Your Health

How could this oddly shaped glass vessel help my wine taste better? It all comes down to oxygen. After being cooped up in the bottle for months, years or even decades, wine develops its distinct smell and taste traits. When exposed to oxygen, those chemical properties begin to break down, releasing their distinct flavors and aromas. This softens the wine on the palate and makes it easier to pinpoint the specific flavor traits. It also helps the wine become more complex and deep in its flavor profile.

Decanting can also help filter out some of the sediment build up that’s common in older bottles of wine, regardless of varietal.

What Kind of Wine Needs a Decanter?

Not all wines need to be decanted, but decanting any bottle of wine will not reduce its appeal so feel free to have at it! People most often associate decanting wine with reds, but white wine can benefit from decanting as well, particularly older bottles. Even champagne can be decanted, giving the bubbles a softer mouthfeel so drinkers can experience more of the flavor.

The next time you enjoy a glass of vino, make sure you decant it for a more complex and enjoyable experience!