Our Friend, The Decanter

Our Friend, The Decanter

We get a lot of questions from members about decanting wine.  When does it need to be decanted?  Why do it at all?

Well, mostly it’s to help the wine “open up” and release the flavor and aroma components for our enjoyment.  That’s also why the second step in the “5-S Approach” is to “swirl.”  After sitting in the bottle for what can amount to several years, the wine will be what we call “closed” or “tight.”  Agitating it through swirling or decanting helps it come back to life a bit, and releases the gases that build up in the bottle over time.

Sometimes when you order a bottle in a restaurant the server will suggest that they take out the cork so the bottle can sit on the table and breathe.  Wine doesn’t breathe in the bottle;  it opens up when a large surface area is exposed to air.  When the wine is in the bottle the exposed surface in the neck is about the size of a dime.  No good.  Better to actually pour the wine into your glass well before you’re ready to drink it and let it sit for a while, giving it an occasional swirl.


Although most DC wines are ready to drink right out of the bottle, some of the bigger, bolder reds like Blaufrankisch, Aglianico, and Chianti can be decanted.  (By the way, it’s a good idea to let your monthly bottles rest for a few days before opening them.  That way they recover from the agitation they receive during shipment). 

Decanting Funnel

The best decanters are wide and flat…more surface area for exposure to air.  Pour the wine slowly down the side of the decanter and try not to let it “glug” when it comes out of the bottle.  There are also funnels that spray the wine down the inside of the decanter and help the aeration that way.


Another way to get wine to “open up” is to use an aerator such as the Vinturi, or one of the many styles that fit in the neck of the bottle and aerate as you pour.  They all work very well.

Vinturi Wine Aerator

However you decide to help your wine open up, you can be sure that at Direct Cellars we’ll continue to find new and exciting varietals for you to discover.  And, if you have any questions about our wines or the wine world in general, please email me at winewhisperer@directcellars.com.  Here’s to you!

2 Replies to “Our Friend, The Decanter”

  1. Are these decanters, aerators, decanting funnels sold at direct cellars? If not they should be it would be so much easier to demonstrate and show our potential customers and fellow team builders

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