Ultimate Guide to Wine Aerators

By: Rosalind Jackson  | 
It’s important to let red wine breathe. A decanter can help get air to your wine and allow its flavors to develop properly. See more pictures of wine.­
It’s important to let red wine breathe. A decanter can help get air to your wine and allow its flavors to develop properly. See more pictures of wine.­
iStockphoto/Emre ARICAN

­Say you just settled into your first home and you're looking for a good way to say hello to the neighbors. Instead of having a traditional dinner party, you want to spice up the routine. You don't want to be boring like your parents, putting Jell-O molds and log-shaped ham loaves on the table. Maybe you noticed a quaint vine­yard and winery in your town, and this gets you thinking about hosting a wine-tasting party.

Wine-tasting parties are a growing trend. It can be a great opportunity to meet people and chat. If some of your neighbors are wine experts, they can share their knowledge. Or maybe no one really knows much about wine, so this would be an opportunity to teach people about it.­


­But there is one problem. You don't claim to be an expert, but you do know that it's important to let your wine, especially reds, breathe. Didn't your Uncle Chuck corner you once during a holiday pa­rty to divulge his distaste for the red wine your parents served and to tell you about wine decanters and aerators? He said your parents didn't take care of their wine and just poured it directly from the bottle into his glass, which didn't allow the flavors to develop properly.

You remember that wine aerators are handy accessories -- they introduce air into red wine and they're easy to use. But you've never seen one in your life! Well, this article will help you out. Start by checking out the next page to learn the purpose of a wine aerator.

Purpose of a Wine Aerator

Let's set the record straight: You want to make a good first impression on ­your neighbors and you'd like to make the wine you purchase live up to its price. Most wine enthusiasts would recommend that you purchase a wine aerator (and probably a wine decanter, too). An aerator coupled with a decanter will make your $30 bottle of wine match up to its price, instead of tasting like a $20 bottle. So, investing in a wine aerator will actually help you save money in the long run.

Like we mentioned on the first page, a wine aerator helps air filter into the wine. Though wine can aerate itself if you let it sit in a decanter for an hour or two, there are times when you need it to aerate much faster. That's why a wine aerator comes in handy -- it can accelerate the aeration process.


Now you're probably wondering how and why a little oxygen will make your wine taste better. It seems like letting it "breathe" would cause some of the wine's undertones to escape. Please don't think this! By allowing the contents of the wine bottle to breathe, you are actually ensuring a smoother taste. Aerating wine, coupled with decanting, will highlight the individual accents and smells so you can recognize them more fully [source: Xomba].

Read on to figure out the most important part -- how to use a wine aerator properly.

Using Wine Aerators

Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to fully appreciate all the subtle flavors and smells in your red wine? Maybe you've never understoo­d other people when they've said they can taste blackberry and a hint of honey in their red wine. A wine aerator could finally bring your taste buds to life! You won't have to be left off the bandwagon. But now you want to make sure you use the wine aerator properly to get the best results with your new wine toy.

Wine aerators are available at any wine store, and the aeration process isn't very complicated. First, open the bottle with a corkscrew. Then pour the bottle directly into the aerator. Make sure you have your wine glass below the aerator. If you want to use a decanter before you pour it into your glass, you can choose to do that too [source: Robertson].


There are a few different styles of aerators, though, so make sure you check out all of the possibilities before you decide. Some aerators have multiple tiers to ensure proper aeration, some are electronic and inserted directly into the bottle, and others are shaped like sea creatures and attach to the mouth of the decanter while you pour into your glass.

By now, your Uncle Chuck would be very proud of you. He probably wants you to tell your parents about these tricks to make their wine taste better, so he'll enjoy his wine better at the next holiday party. Don't forget to impress your new neighbors with your aerating skills! Let's toast to a better tasting wine.

For more information, take a look at the links on the next page.

Originally Published: Feb 9, 2009

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Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Nase, Joseph. "Proper transference makes wine taste better." (Accessed 1/31/09) http://nymag.com/restaurants/articles/wine/essentials/decanting.htm
  • Robertson, Chris. "Wine Aerators-Aerating Wines to Bring Out Taste and Aroma." (Accessed 1/31/09) http://ezinearticles.com/?Wine-Aerators---Aerating-Wines-to-Bring-Out-Taste-and-Aroma&id=1920157
  • Xomba. "What is a wine Aerator and how do they work." (Accessed 1/31/09) http://www.xomba.com/what_wine_aerator_and_how_do_they_work