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Everything You Must Know About Wine Aerators

Wine aerators can elevate your tasting experience because they allow your wine to breathe, by enabling contact with oxygen. This, in turn, triggers an oxidation and evaporation reaction that enhances its flavor and aroma.

A wine aerator is a powerful and necessary tool to enjoy the full character, aroma, and texture of any wine. But choosing the right one demands understanding its function, the different types, and how to use them effectively for the best results. This article will guide you on everything you need to know about wine aerators so you can choose the best one for every occasion.

What Does An Aerator Do For Wine?

Every bottle of wine contains volatile aromatic compounds that might make any wine taste bland or even awful if consumed without aerating. A aerator works by exposing the wine to air so that oxygen interacts with it. The ensuing oxidation process transforms those volatile compounds such as sulfites and fatty esters, and long-chain volatile acids into substances that will evaporate out of the wine.

In the same vein, the oxidation process also smoothens the harsher tannins of young vintages and by doing so, improves and clarifies the flavor. The result is a gorgeous, flavor-filled wine.

Wine Aerators Vs Wine Decanters

You may have also heard of wine decanters which are equally devices for aerating wine. Both aerators and decanters perform the same function, which is to allow the wine to breathe. However, there are some differences between both devices.

Firstly, they work instantly on the wine, driving a vigorous oxidation process that happens in minutes. Studies show that passing the wine through an aerator makes the wine taste as delicious and open as a wine that has been sitting in a decanter for 30 minutes.

Therefore, they are perfect for accelerating wine exposure and will save hours spent on decanting.

However, aerators are better for younger wines which require such a vigorous process. In contrast, decanters are excellent for aerating older wines which require a longer and gentler aerating process.

Secondly, they are excellent for the freshest bottles of wine and will mimic the natural aging process, thereby improving the wine’s aromatic and flavor profile.

Another great distinction between aerators and decanters is that aerators won’t get rid of grainy build-ups in the bottle of wine. It’s even possible for those build-ups to clog the aerator and create a tricky situation. Fortunately, larger sediment build-ups are more present in older vintage wines which again supports the use of aerators for younger wine.

Nevertheless, in some cases such as aerating a large bottle of bold red wine with plenty of sediment, you might consider using both an aerator and standard decanter for maximum results. This is because such wines can withstand and require more oxygen than other wine styles.

When To Use Aerators

As said earlier, aerators are ideal for younger wines. However, their usage doesn’t end there. You can also use them when you want to aerate a bottle in just a few minutes. This is because they work during the actual pour and you could see the air holes created producing little bubbles of oxygen in the wine.

Ideally, they are used for complex red wines as other wine styles may lose their flavors and structure in the process. Other kinds of wines that benefit from aeration include:

Young high-tannic red wines

Wines such as Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Barbera are great young reds you should aerate. You can also aerate some aged red wines as long as you have not stored them for too long. You can also consider using a wine aerator that comes with a filter to get rid of some of the sediments. Don’t forget to let the wine stand upright for a few days before the aeration process.

Some white wines

Most white wines tend to be more fragile and do not require aeration. However, wines such as white Bordeaux wines, Alsace wines, and burgundies have some depth and complexity and may benefit from a little oxygen. Older white wines may also require aeration especially if the wine already has an earthy flavor profile. However, you should allow the white wine to stand upright for an hour or so before aerating to improve results.

Cheap wines

Would aerating cheap wines make any difference? Yes, it would. Aeration can enhance the aromas, and flavors of even the cheapest bottle of wines. Aerating will also get rid of some unsavory compounds in there and make that bottle at least more tolerable.

Vintage ports

Vintage ports are also excellent selections for aerating. But before aerating you should allow the wine to stand upright for several days.

When to use a wine aerator

Types Of Wine Aerators

All aerators serve the same function, but they come in varying shapes and sizes. Generally, there are two main types; in-bottle or stopper and handheld. Nowadays, we also have electric ones which are not exactly a new category since they can be shaped as handheld or in-bottle.

Handheld wine aerators

A handheld aerator may look like a miniature wine glass or a chemistry beaker depending on the brand and model. This type does not fit into the bottle of wine. Instead, you hold them above the glass. Next pouring the wine filters it through its chambers.

It’s also possible to have handheld aerators that can sit on top of the wine glass. These models are more convenient, so you don’t have to balance it with one hand while trying to pour the wine with the other. These versions are easier to pour but both versions are just as effective.

The main quality you should look for is that it comes with a large bowl. The large bowl at the bottom will provide more surface area thereby providing room for more oxygen to flow through the wine. The handheld aerator may also have a screen or base to place it in when you are not using it.

They are quite bulkier than in-bottle/stopper aerators but will allow a large amount of air to get to the wine in a short time and are perfect for the wine serving area or bar.

In-bottle or stopper wine aerators

In-bottle aerators, also called wine pourers, will fit at the top of the bottle and work as both aerators and stoppers. Using these ones demands fitting on the top of the bottle and then pouring into the glass. Oxygen is added to the wine as it is poured out of the bottle. What makes them effective is that the liquid will not flow freely. Instead, it allows a small amount of wine out at a time, to provide the ideal exposure. The wine is also filtered through a small bowl at the tip of the aerator.

To ensure it works correctly, it should have a bowl attached or some chamber that allows the wine to mix with oxygen. They may not provide the maximum amount of aeration in less time than the handheld version. However, they are fantastic for adding spice to your parties because they are usually more gorgeous and would fit on the bottle, so you can pour and enjoy your wine without the hassle of carrying an extra device around.

Electric wine aerators

These are excellent devices if you just want a great aerated wine in just seconds. While all aerators are generally fast, the electric version speed up the process even faster. This device allows you to aerate and get rid of sediments in a super fast medium.

Some may be shaped as handheld while others work as in-bottle/stoppers. Some might be corded, cordless, or rechargeable. Most require only a one-button push to get to work.

What To Look For In A Wine Aerator

Ease of use

Your ideal aerating experience may influence the aerator you choose. For instance, a snazzy electric model would be suitable for someone who just wants to get to the sipping. In contrast, if you love the ritual of aerating the wine, you may consider a traditional model. Generally, in-bottle ones are the easiest to use.

Materials matter

Wine aerators generally come in a steel or plastic finish. You can also find glass models. However, the material would not affect your taste, but you want to be cautious about its durability. Glass is the most fragile option, while plastic or steel material might stand up to regular use. Some new models also feature stainless steel details with a good base.

Other features

Besides the fundamental reason for purchasing an aerator, you need to also consider other features. They generally range from basic models to ultra-fancy. Some work as separate devices while others can fit on the top of your bottle and act as a stopper. The one you choose may depend on your drinking preferences and habits. For instance, you might choose an electric one that offers an LED indicator, ergonomic soft-touch, and lots more. Other times you might consider one that comes with a filter for capturing sediments. Some other may also have additional accessories such as corkscrews and stoppers.

How To Use Wine Aerators

Each type of aerator comes with a different mode of application. Here we have outlined the different processes for using each type:


These aerators will be attached to the top of the bottle. All you have to do is attach it to the bottle . Then start pouring the wine through it at a 45o angle and into the glass.


In this case, the wine aerator will be attached to the top of the glass. Some handheld ones may also come with a filter that is attached to the aerator and then it is held over the glass before the wine is poured through them.


An electric aerator may work as a pourer or as a handheld one. In this case, you either place the aerator over the bottle or glass. The difference between electric and handheld or in-bottle aerators is that the entire process happens at the push of a button.

How Long Should You Aerate Wine?

Different types of wine require different aeration times as they need different amounts of oxygen exposure. There is also the danger of over-aerating it. If the wine is exposed to too much oxygen, it might eliminate all the aromas and flavors leaving behind vinegar.

Aerators offer a speedier process in comparison with decanters, which is a superb advantage. This means that you won’t have to wait that long to aerate the wine. All you need to do is pass the wine through the aerator, a process that takes about 10 to 15 minutes, and you are good to go.

Concluding Thoughts

Wine aerators are a fantastic tool. They provide immediate aeration allowing any wine to reach the best of its potential in a matter of minutes. There is no need to anticipate the opening of the bottle.

Take your time to choose the best type that is ideal for your needs. Your habits and preferences will determine choosing a traditional aerator or an electric one. You may also want to select one that is a durable and long-lasting product. In the end, the perfect aerator will offer ease and convenience and transform your drinking experience for a better one.

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