Why Do You Aerate Wine?

Aerate Wine? What is all the fuss??   When it comes to aerating wine, many wine drinkers have become so accustomed to this step in the overall preparation to wine drinking, that they do not give it a second thought. For me, wine aeration raised some questions.

The easiest way to begin is to get the science behind aeration.  It takes away some of the romance of wine drinking, but being a little on the analytical side, I need to know.

Why do We Aerate Wine

Dr. Vinefera explains:

“Exposing wine to air [aeration] does two things: it triggers oxidation and evaporation. Oxidation is what makes an apple turn brown after its’ skin is broken, and evaporation is the process of liquid turning to vapour.  Wine is made up of hundreds of compounds, and with aeration, usually the volatile undesirable compounds will evaporate faster than the desirable, aromatic and flavourful ones.

There are a few particular compounds that are reduced with aeration, such as sulfites, which are added to wine to prevent oxidation and microbial but can smell like burned matchsticks, and sulfides, which are naturally occurring but can remind you of rotten eggs or onionskins.  Ethanol is also a highly volatile compound, and a wine that smells to much like rubbing alcohol when you first open it might lose the ethanol note and become more expressive with some aeration.

decantingJust opening a bottle [of wine] and pouring a glass will also provide aeration, as well as swirling your glass of wine.  For more extreme aeration, decanting works well too.

After a while, aerated wine begins to oxidize, and the flavours and aromas will flatten out.  The more dense and concentrated wine is, the more it will benefit from aeration and the longer it can go before beginning to fade.  On the other hand, you probably don’t want to aerate delicate wine for too long, as you can miss out on the unique  aromas, but  they’re often decanted to remove sediment”

It would follow that there is more of a need for aerating red wine, and less of a need to aerate white wine.

It has become clear that you can aerate wines manually by the act of pouring, decanting and swirling.  You can also use an aerator.

Types of Wine Aerators

What does and aerator do? The fundamental action of an aerator is basic and does not change from one aerator to the next.  Regardless of their function, there are many different aerators available for purchase.    Being the practical person that I am, I have selected the basic models based on ease of use.

Bottle/Stopperaerate wine

This aerator is very basic, easy to use, easy to clean, portable, and needs no special storage.  This wine aerator fits snuggly onto the neck of wine bottle.  When not operating as an aerator, it can double as a stopper.  There is a screen within the aerator to aide aeration of the wine.  This is not the best way to aerate wine, yet it does an adequate job.




Hand Held

Hand held aerateThis device is held above your wine glass, and the wine is poured through it.  As the wine travels through the aerator, the aerator takes advantage of gravity to create suction, which speeds up the wines route enough to add extra air to it.  This is simple to use, dishwasher safe, and comes with a stand for storage, which can make it a conversation piece!


Electric Wine Aerator

This aerator attaches to the bottle it aerates the wine as it dispenses it.  It provides more air contact with the surface of the wine to speed up oxidation.  It acts on the touch of a finger and there is no need to lift the bottle.


Electric Aerater

What is the best way to aerate wine?  As is often the case, it comes down to preference.  There will be purists who claim that there is no need for aeration devices. They believe that decanting, pouring and swirling are sufficient. you really can aerate wine without an aerator.

Some people like to use devices and believe in their ability to improve over manual methods.

I prefer the Electric Wine Aerator.



One last note, on the lighter side.  My daughter, who is a millennial, insisted I include this.  She said that they buy the cheapest wine they can find, and aerate it buy running it in the blender for about two minutes, then letting it settle before drinking.  That is one way to “aerate” wine!  This I do not recommend!


If you have any questions of comments, I welcome them below.




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  1. Flizzy!

    June 22, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    I’ve always wondered what it meant to aerate wine. I recently started drinking more wine so this website is going to be helpful. Thanks, looking forward to reading the other posts. Especially the one about etiquette.

    1. Judith

      June 22, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      Thank you for the comment. Try aerating a red, see if you notice a difference.

  2. Elan

    June 22, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Excellent article. The electric wine aerator is really cool and not something I thought existed on the market. Are there aerators that can also bring a wine to its optimal temperature?

    1. Judith

      June 23, 2017 at 6:54 am

      Thank you for your comment. A wine aerator will do little to change the temperature of the wine.

  3. Sandra Hahn

    August 1, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    TOTALLY on the same page on the electric wine aerators. Helps your whites breathe without warming them up!! My personal favorite is the waerator, what are your thoughts? http://waerator.com/aerate-white-wines/

    1. Judith

      August 2, 2017 at 8:23 am

      Thank you for the comment. I checked out your Waerator, I would certainly try it. I have a physical disability that limit my hand use, so that is why it appeals to me, in addition to the enhancement of the flavour of the wine! Check out how you can drink wine for FREE!

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