The Wine Lover’s Guide to Decanting: How to Choose the Right Wine Decanter

The Wine Lover’s Guide to Decanting: How to Choose the Right Wine Decanter

For those who are new to decanting, or just curious about the process, this guide provides an overview of the different types of decanters available and offers tips on how to choose the right one for your budget and taste. It also covers the basics of how to properly use a wine decanter for maximum enjoyment.

Decanting is a process wherein a bottle of wine is poured into a large container, usually a decanter, to separate the sediment from the liquid. The sediment – which consists of tiny particles such as tartrates, tannins, and other compounds – can alter the flavor of the wine if it is left in the bottle. Decanting allows these particles to be removed, resulting in a smoother, more enjoyable taste.

Types of Wine Decanters

When selecting a wine decanter there are several factors to consider, and the type of decanter you choose will depend on your personal preference and budget. Here are some popular types of wine decanters:

  • Crystal Decanters – Crystal decanters are highly sought after for their timeless elegance and beauty. These intricate pieces are often hand blown and feature intricate details like intricate engravings or hand-painted designs. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can range in price from moderately expensive to high-end luxury pieces.
  • Glass Decanters – Glass decanters are more affordable than crystal decanters and come in many styles, shapes, and sizes. Some glass decanters are even made using recycled glass, making them a great eco-friendly choice.
  • Ceramic Decanters – Ceramic decanters are perfect for those who want to add a touch of style to their wine-drinking experience without breaking the bank. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes and can be found at most home goods stores.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Wine Decanter

Size – Depending on the size of your bottle of wine, you may need a larger or smaller decanter. If you’re looking for something more decorative than functional, then you may be able to get away with a smaller decanter for smaller bottles of wine. Larger bottles will require larger decanters so that all of the liquid can fit comfortably inside.

Shape – Wine decanters come in various shapes and sizes. The shape should complement the type of wine you’re drinking as well as your personal preference. Some common shapes include round, oval, square, and rectangular.

Material – Decanters come in many materials such as crystal, glass, ceramic, and plastic. The material you choose should depend on how often you plan on using it as well as your budget.

Price – Prices for wine decanters can range from under $20 for basic models to hundreds of dollars for luxury pieces made from rare materials like crystal or gold.

When selecting a decanter, it is important to consider the type of wine being served. For example, young red wines with bold, tannic flavors may require more oxygen exposure to soften their flavor profiles and should be poured into a wider decanter that allows for greater surface area during service.

On the other hand, older, more delicate wines should be poured into smaller decanters in order to limit oxygen exposure and maintain their balance of aromatics and flavors. The shape of the spout also matters when considering how much aeration will occur as you serve your wine; if you’re pouring from a wide-mouthed bottle or jug then look for an equally wide-mouthed decanter with a generous pour lip at the top in order to avoid spilling any precious drops on your way from bottle to glass!

How to Use a Wine Decanter

Using a wine decanter is not complicated but there are several steps involved in order to get the best results:

  • Preparing the Decanter – Before pouring any wine into your decanter it is important to make sure that it is clean and dry. Rinse it with warm water and then dry with a soft cloth or paper towel.
  • Pouring the Wine – Place your hand over the top of the bottle and slowly pour the wine into your decanter at an angle so that it doesn’t splash or foam up too much. Make sure to pour slowly enough so that all of the sediment remains in the bottle rather than being poured into your decanter.
  • Serving the Wine – Once all of the wine has been poured into your decanter you can then serve it as desired. If you have time, you can let the wine sit for up to an hour before serving so that all of its flavors have time to develop.

When decanting wine, it is important to consider the serving temperature. Red wines are typically served at room temperature, while whites and sparkling wines should be chilled before serving. Allow your wine to reach its proper temperature before decanting, as this can have an effect on both flavor and aroma. If you decide to chill white or sparkling wines in a decanter, ensure that it has been thoroughly chilled first; otherwise you may end up with a warm glass of wine!

For reds, if you choose to serve them slightly cooler than room temp then allow for extra time for the reds to cool down in the decanter prior to pouring. When selecting a wine for decanting purposes keep in mind that some varieties benefit more from aeration than others.

In general full-bodied reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah will greatly benefit from being allowed some breathing room in a properly sized carafe. On the other hand most lighter styles of rosés and whites tend not require any additional aeration beyond what they already get by simply being poured into glasses so there’s no need to use a large carafe here unless desired for aesthetic reasons.

When wine is poured into a decanter, the process of decanting separates sediment-forming tannins and tartrates from the wine. This increases oxygen exposure to the liquid, resulting in a smoother taste that can bring out more nuanced flavors. Decanting also has aesthetic benefits; it allows you to enjoy your favorite wines with clarity instead of dealing with cloudy residue. Additionally, when done properly, decanting can help preserve delicate aromas and bouquets for up to several hours after opening.


Decanting is an important part of the wine-drinking experience and can help to enhance the flavor and aroma of the wine. There are several types of wine decanters to choose from, and it is important to consider factors such as size, shape, material, and price when selecting the right one. Knowing how to properly use a wine decanter is also important for getting the most out of the experience. With this guide in hand, you’ll be ready to impress your friends with your newfound knowledge!