Decanting Wine: Why and How

Is decanting wine necessary?

It’s an age-old question in the wine world and something that comes up when first starting to improve your wine-game: do you have to decant wine? When it comes to young, tannic wines and aged, sediment-prone wine, decanting is going to be an important step before enjoying a glass. Decanting is the process of pouring out the wine from the bottle into a larger vessel and allows for two things:

  1. Preventing sediment from reaching your glass by excluding it from the decanting vessel. No one wants to be sipping on gritty wine. Wine Folly suggests decanting your wine for 1 hour per 10 years of aging, which is a pretty good time gauge to generally adhere to.
  2. Aerating the wine by allowing it to breathe prior to serving. Younger wines in particular benefit from the aerating decanting offers. The extra exposure to oxygen allows the wine to open up and push forward important aromas and flavours.

How do you decant wine?

There are a number of methods you can use to decant wine and not all of them require expensive crystal. By first figuring out why you are decanting — to prevent sediment? to open up the wine? — you will then be able to have a good plan of action in how to decant. The simplest method that is great for young wine that needs to get some oxygen, is to pour yourself a glass and swirl away! It looks snobby but there is an actual purpose to swirling your wine glass. The movement will aerate the wine and make a difference in taste and aroma. Give it a shot!

If you’re decanting a more aged wine, using a decanting vessel is going to be helpful in preventing sediment from making its way to your glass. Wine Folly does a great job myth-busting some decanting methods without requiring a ton of new clutter for your kitchen cupboards and drawers.

Decanting looks fancy, but we’re confident you’ll quickly realize the benefits to letting your wine sit out decanted for awhile before sipping away. We also wrote about this topic before and have some quick tips you can check out on our last post!