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Enhance the Flavour of Your Wine With an Aerator

What is a wine aerator and how does it work?

A wine aerator is a small device that inserts onto the mouth of a wine bottle, then is used to pour wine into a glass, ideally while tilting the bottle to a 45-degree angle. The aerator exposes the wine to air, which triggers oxidation and evaporation, removing undesirable compounds like sulfites, and tannins in young wine to reduce carbon dioxide. You’re left with a beautiful aroma or, as wine lovers call it, bouquet, of smells and flavours.

There are many different styles of wine aerators, including handheld devices, aerating pourers, and bottle stoppers that also include a pourer. While you’d usually use an aerator to pour wine directly into a glass, some are designed for pouring into a wine decanter as well, with two openings that can splay the wine into the carafe and accelerate the aeration process. They come in everything from stainless steel to crystal and plastic, and in colours like silver, black, or glass/clear.

Usually, red wines are aerated, though you might find an improvement in taste from aerating some white wines, too. The type of wines that can benefit most from the aeration process are denser, more concentrated wines. The only wine you should not aerate is sparkling wine.

How is a wine aerator different from a decanter?

As you pour wine into the glass, the air intake lets the wine “breathe” immediately by mixing the ideal amount of air with it to remove those undesirable compounds. By contrast, with a decanter, you would typically pour the wine inside, then let it aerate naturally for some time before pouring it. Thus, you can start enjoying your wine much more quickly with an aerator, keeping the drinks flowing. And there’s less clean-up by not having to use a red wine decanter, which you would have to rinse out each time you switch to a new vintage.

With delicate, older wines, you don’t want to aerate them for too long, so pouring right from bottle to glass is ideal to enjoy maximum flavour, as the winemaker intended.

What to look for in a wine aerator?

When selecting a wine aerator, look for one that is attractive so it will look good in your wine cabinet or bar. Some are very small, and even come with a travel case so you can take it with you to parties, or with a gift box if you are gifting one to a friend or family member.

A great feature is a built-in strainer that can remove sediment as you pour, ideal if you drink a lot of older, vintage wines. Some devices are multi-purpose, serving as an aerator as well as filter and wine stopper should you not finish off an entire bottle in one night.