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Decanting Wine

Decanters are stylish serving vessels used to aerate wine and remove sediment from the wine. This guide will cover why and how decanting wine works. It will also explore the different types of decanters we offer for your wine tasting, wedding, or special event.

What is a Wine Decanter?

A wine decanter has three main parts: a flared base, a narrow neck for pouring, and a flat or slanted top. The slanted tops help make pouring smoother and easier.

Also referred to as a carafe, decanters can resemble bottles or feature a variety of specialized shapes. A carafe, however, can be used for more than just wine. It functions as a decorative way to serve water, juice, or soft drinks at the table.

Wineries and upscale restaurants use decanters to ensure that the wine looks, tastes, and smells its best. The wine travels from the original bottle into the decanter where it rests, and then from the decanter into your customer's glass.

What is the Purpose of Decanting Wine?

One major function of a wine decanter is to enhance the beverage presentation. Decanters have upscale appearances with impressive shapes and curves. Use them as a decorative focal point at your wine shop or restaurant.

Aside from this function, wine decanters serve two major purposes: aerating wine and removing wine sediment. Wine exposed to air elicits more complex flavors and aromas. Sediment can naturally form in the bottom of wine bottles as the wine ages. Decanting separates this sediment from liquid so that the sediment is left in the wine bottle and doesn't end up in your customer's glass.

Red, white, sparkling, and rose wines have several fundamental differences. Should you decant all these wines? Not necessarily. It generally depends on the type of wine and the wine's age. It is not recommended to decant rose. Due to rose's fruity and delicate properties, it would not benefit from aeration. You could pour the rose into a decanter right before serving to improve its presentation, and that alone would be enough aeration.

Aerating Wine

To start the process, pour the wine from its original bottle into the decanter. This simple act introduces the wine to air. A decanter's wide, flared bottom provides a large surface area to expose more of the wine to air and let the wine "breathe." Air is important since, in many wines, it enhances flavors and aromas that may have needed time to develop. It's true that wine may smell or taste differently over time as it ages, but decanting helps ensure that the customer always gets the great-tasting wine they expect.

Wines that benefit the most from aeration:

Young Wine: The oxygen will help release all the flavors and aromas your customers are looking for. You can start decanting younger wines over an hour before serving.

Red & White Wine: Red wine flavors will develop while decanting. White wine is slightly more delicate than red wine, so it should not aerate for too long. Keep the aeration to less than 30 minutes and check periodically for taste.

Sparkling & Champagne Wine: Decanting these wine types can help reduce the bubbles so your guests have a better flavor experience. That said, if customers enjoy bubbles in their favorite fizzy drinks, so you'll want to make sure that you won't be disappointing anyone!

Removing Wine Sediment

The other main purpose of decanting is to separate any sediment in the wine bottle from the liquid itself. This occurs when the server pours the wine from the original bottle into the decanter. Pour slowly. If you begin to see any particles or sediment around the neck of bottle, stop pouring. You may end up needing to discard the ounce or two that remains in the bottom of the wine bottle. Sediment can be detrimental to the wine if it clouds the glass, adds an unwanted gritty texture, or gives off an unwanted bitter flavor.

Wines that benefit the most from removing sediment:

Old Wine: Older port wines or aged red wines already have a rich flavor, but they accumulate sediment while aging as a natural result of the fermentation process. The separation process is more important than the aeration process for these wine types, as aeration could damage the flavors. Decant older wines less than 30 minutes before serving.

Red Wine: Reds tend to produce more sediment than whites, so you'll want to go through this separation process. White wines and roses hardly ever drop sediment.

How to Decant Wine

Feel free to experiment with decanting. Have two wines side by side, and decant only one type. Let one wine sit and decant for over an hour, and let one sit for 20 minutes. The possibilities are endless. The only true rule is that you should drink the wine once it tastes right to you. Wine will only get worse once it has sat for too long.

The following steps illustrate how to decant wine:

1. Remove the wine bottle's cork and wipe the bottle neck clean.
2. Hold the neck of the bottle over a light source, such as a candle.
3. Pour the wine slowly from the bottle into your decanter at a slight angle so it doesn't splash in the bottom of the decanter.
4. Stop pouring as soon as you see sediment or specks reaching the neck of the bottle. Also stop if you notice the wine's color becoming cloudy.
5. The clear wine in the decanter is now ready to serve. Discard the remaining sediment and liquid in the bottle, and pour the wine from the decanter into your customers' wine glasses.

Types of Wine Decanters

Now that you know why decanting wine is beneficial and how to decant wine, it's time to choose your decanter. Choosing a more expensive decanter won't necessarily improve the way the decanter works. They all serve the same two purposes, which is to aerate wine and remove wine sediment. Although, material, price, shape, and size are all factors to consider. Larger decanters are usually more expensive, but they also give the wine more space to flow and move for greater aeration.

Material Image Price Features
Crystal Wine Decanters $$$
Glass Wine Decanters $$
Plastic Wine Decanter $

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