When and How to Decant Wine

When and How to Decant Wine

Decanting wine is a popular practice for many wine lovers. It can improve the tasting experience but it can also ruin a wine. It is important to look at the type of wine and the type of decanting being done to determine the best course of action.

Determining if decanting a wine will be harmful to it can be done by looking at the vintage, the producer, the age/condition, and the grape variety. Some people like to decant every wine for hours on end while others decant wine to remove sediment. Some people decant wine hoping to open up or soften a wine. Decanting adds oxygen to the wine which reduces the sensation of the natural acids and polyphenols that create tannins.

Decanting wine before serving removes sediment and gives the taster a cleaner wine. If you have the time, however, one of the best ways to ensure no sediment gets into your glass is to leave the bottle upright for a few days prior to serving and when serving, pour slowly. Most old wines will do with a simple splash decant, meaning you pour the wine into a decanter before pouring into a glass.

Double decanting wine is simple and also a good idea. The wine is removed from the original bottle and poured into a decanter. From there the bottle si washed and cleaned, removing all sediment from inside. Then the wine is poured back into the bottle and the cork is replaced. This method adds more air to the wine because it is exposed to oxygen twice.

Many winemakers believe that decanting can do more harm than good to a wine. Depending on the wine, the action of gently passing the wine from decanter to decanter can help it open at a quicker pace. Removing a cork or decanting wine doesn’t help revive a dead wine, however. So claims of this are false.

You can decant wine with screw caps as well. Screw cap wines hold a lot of gas on top of the wine which can cause bad odors, so decanting these will help create a pleasant aroma.


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