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Why do we decant wine? A Beginners guide to Decanting

Why do we decant wine? A Beginners guide to Decanting

What is Decanting?

Have you ever bought a red wine and been disappointed? Maybe it was lacking in flavour, or the flavour was a bit muddled. Perhaps the tannins were far too prominent. Next time, try decanting your red and see what a difference it can make.

A decanter is a glass vessel designed to hold wine. Decanting is the process of pouring wine from its original bottle into a decanter. This performs two main functions: 1) The wine is exposed to more oxygen than if we poured straight from the bottle into the glass, in the hope that it will maximise its flavour 2) any sediment that may have developed in bottle can be removed before drinking

How does decanting wine work?

Three factors occur when we decant wine that may improve the taste.


Decanting allows the wine to come into contact with more oxygen, enhancing the wine's flavours and aromas. This is especially true for young red wines, which can enjoy aeration to allow the flavours to show before they have really had a chance to develop with age.

Sediment Removal:

Red wines often develop sediment after 5-10 years. Worrying whether you have any stuck in your teeth rather takes attention away from the enjoyment of the wine. Decanting removes this sediment, leaving you with a smoother, more enjoyable wine.


Decanting wine can also be a way to impress your guests and enhance the experience of drinking wine. A decanted wine can elevate any occasion, whether a formal dinner party or a casual gathering of friends.

How to Decant Wine?

Decanting wine is a simple process. Here's how to do it:

1. Choose your decanter: A wider bowl is more suited for younger wines – think more space, for more oxygen to interact with the wine. A smaller, narrower decanter is more appropriate for an older red wine. Too much oxygen and you run the risk of those wonderfully mature aromas disappearing before you get a chance to experience them.

2. Prepare the wine: Stand the bottle upright for a few hours before decanting to allow any sediment to settle to the bottom.

3. Begin to slowly pour the wine into the decanter, taking care not to disturb any sediment at the bottom of the bottle.

4. Once half of the bottle has been decanted, pour more slowly again. You want to leave any sediment in the bottle, pouring slow will give maximum control.

5. Let it breathe: as a general rule, younger wines will need longer than older wines. Some young wines might need 6+ hours to fully relax, especially if there was a lengthy period of ageing in oak. Decant your wine and taste, taste, taste. See at what stage you think the wine tastes best and enjoy!

In conclusion, decanting wine can enhance the flavours and aromas and remove sediment. Be sure to try decanting at home to find out for yourself. Pop in for a wine-tasting event, and we'd love to share our love for wine.

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tom lake
tom lake
Apr 23


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