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What does aerating wine do?

Have you ever wondered why wine is aerated? There is method to the madness so read on to find out how aerating your wine results in improved aroma and a smoother finish, time after time.

What types of wine should be aerated?

Wines which have been in the bottle for over two years will benefit most from aerating or being decanted. This is opposed to being poured straight from the bottle and into your glass.

Aged red wines which have undergone oak treatment are typically wines that will benefit most from aeration. Like their red counterparts, aged white wines which have been subject to fermentation in oak barrels are also a good candidate for aeration before being drunk. It is worth noting that most white wines do not undergo any fermentation in oak barrels, with the exception of chardonnay. This limits the scope for aerating white wine.

Young fresh red wines and most white wines, are typically fermented [the primary process of turning grapes juice into wine] in steel tanks or concrete vats. These wines already express great primary aromas, freshness of fruit and good levels of acidity. Winemakers expect these wines to be consumed within 12-24 months after release of the vintage. You can still aerate a young wine but it is not essential. Furthermore, it will not notably change the taste profile and aroma of the wine.

What does aerating wine do?

An aerator’s job is to introduce oxygen to wine that’s been stored in a low-oxygen environment (e.g. a wine bottle for over two years). Aerating wine causes alcohol molecules to be released into the air. These airborne molecules carry wine’s flavours into your nose. Decanting or aerating wines also ‘blow off’ foul smells like that weird sulphur smell you can sometimes recognise.

Think of wine as if it has been suffocated. It has been bottled, corked and left without any exposure to air for quite some time. Then we come along with a corkscrew and set the wine free. It is this contact with oxygen which allows the wine to express its true aromas and flavors. For those of you who work better with similes, wine is like a fart. Before it is released, it’s non-descript and basically has little to no personality. Like a fart, once the wine has been opened up and aerated it can bring tears, laughter and a whole new experience. Too far? Well you get my drift. [pardon the pun]

How to aerate wine

When aerating wine, simply open the bottle and pour the wine through your aerator and straight into the glass. You don’t need to let the wine sit for any further time as the aerator should have exposed the wine to plenty of oxygen. Watch a short video below on how to aerate your wine.

Whether you are aerating wine or decanting it, you are effectively undertaking the same process. The main difference between aerating and decanting a wine is the amount of time it takes. Aerating wine can be done in a couple of minutes, where decanting will take between thirty minutes to a couple of hours. If you want to learn about the decanting wine read our other blog: How to Decant wine.

Types of Aerators

Over the last few years there have been a number of inexpensive aerators come on to the market. Whether you want to buy the one of the more sophisticated aerators on the market, or a simple on-bottle one, there is plenty to choose from. Below are our top 3 selling wine aerators. If you want to see our full range of aerators and a selection of decanters, browse our online store.

By Kyle

6th January 2019

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