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Wine Decanters: Learn the Different Types and Reasons to Use Them

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Red Wine Decanter

Red Wine Decanter

Wine Accessories

Are wine decanters simple accessories or rather necessities when considering the best wine gifts for wine lovers on your list? I guess it all depends upon how much they enjoy drinking wine and if they are interested in bringing out the full flavor and aroma of a bottle of wine.

Wine decanters are especially important for people who collect older vintages of wine. If you know anyone who has a wine cellar in their home stocked with a great collection of wines, both old and new, you can be sure that they undoubtedly already have an assortment of decanters as well.

Even people who do not have extensive collections of wine in their homes are still interested in decanting wine for a couple of reasons.

For people just learning to appreciate wine or individuals who have grown up knowing about wine and wine culture, a wine decanter is something that you might wish to consider when searching for just the right gift for yourself or others.

All Price Ranges

Decanters for wine come in all sizes, shapes, and price ranges.

If you host formal dinner parties and use crisp linens, sterling silver place settings, fine bone china, and crystal wine goblets, then you probably want Riedel, Baccarat, or some other well-made crystal decanter to hold your wine. Serving the wine to your guests in exquisite decanters will be an integral part of the dinner party presentation.

If, on the other hand, your setting is more casual, the decanters you wish to use may be simple glass wine decanters. Either one is fine and will ultimately do the same job concerning how it will affect the wine you are serving and hope to enjoy.

Types and Styles

Many styles are available for sale, and each one suits a different purpose. The purpose of decanting wine is to help aerate the wine faster. Just the act of pouring the wine into the decanter exposes the wine to air, which aids it to breathe, opening up flavor components that might be lacking from its short or long slumber after being bottled.

Once poured, the wine in a wider bottomed decanter continues to have more air contact than a more narrow wine decanter.

An interesting note: Those wide-bottomed wine decanters known as a ship's decanter makes sense. As ocean waves cause a vessel to rock, a wider-bottomed base would help keep the decanter firmly planted onto a table, and the precious liquid inside would be less likely to spill.

If, however, the wine needs just a bit of breathing time, then a narrow-sided decanter will perfectly suit the job.

Naturally, the timing of the opened bottle of wine also plays a factor in the ultimate taste of the wine. Some wines benefit from much longer breathing times than others.

Decanting Older Wines

Inserted into this post are some great videos explaining why decanting is necessary for older wines, especially the wines made traditionally.

After crushing grapes, it is the contact with the grape skins, stems, and seeds that gives the wine its flavor and color up to a certain point. Winemakers closely monitor the wine-making process. At a certain point, the wine is transferred to other containers leaving most of the sediment behind. This sediment is known as lees.

More sediment often forms, and filtration and clarification of the wine take place sometimes in many different steps, all depending upon the wine.

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Fermentation of the wine continues even after being bottled, and this is highly desirable for some wines that need aging to develop their full and exquisite flavors.

Other wines have short contact with the lees and short time in a bottle. Winemakers ideally intend them to be drunk as soon or soon after they are purchased.

Aging of Wine

Wine is a living and breathing thing. It continues to change through the years, as long as it is still in the bottle.

Of course, there is a point in time when the aging process will become a detriment, and the wine will be past its prime for drinking enjoyment. Many people dedicate their lives to learning about this fascinating subject of liquid nectar for the gods.

When serving an older wine that is likely to have thrown some sediment, it is advisable to stand the bottle upright for a day or even longer before decanting it. While sediment in the wine is not harmful, it can detract from the enjoyment of fine wine. After all, who wants to see bits of floating debris in an exquisite crystal goblet?

“I love everything that is old; old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wines.”

— Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield

Enjoy your decanted wine!

Enjoy your decanted wine!

W C Fields, American comedian and actor, 1880 - 1946

W C Fields, American comedian and actor, 1880 - 1946



This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 21, 2021:

Hi MG,

Enjoy your wine decanters. Even better, enjoy your wines! Thanks for your comment.

MG Singh from UAE on April 20, 2021:

I love wine decanters and I have a big collection of them with some choicest wines. Thank you for your article which made refreshing reading and tempted me to have a glass of wine from my decanter.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 18, 2021:

Hi Sandra,

Decanting wine can often enhance the flavors. I am glad that you enjoyed reading this post.

Sandra on April 17, 2021:

We are all for any tips to enhance the flavorful enjoyment of wine. Thanks.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 17, 2021:

Do you use wine decanters and know why they are helpful?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 17, 2019:

Hi Dale,

We generally only use decanters if a wine is old and would benefit from additional breathing time or if it throws a lot of sediment (which some older wines do). Most of those are red wines. We have never decanted a white wine.

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on September 16, 2019:

This is an interesting topic because, in my house, I like red wine but my wife likes white. Perhaps we will find that we each also like different types of decanters?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 13, 2015:

Hi Patricia,

Wine decanters can definitely be very decorative. I am sure you are not the only one that did not know the various reasons for decanting a wine. Hope you found the perfect bottle of "vino" with which to practice! Ha!

Wishing for you a most wonderful day today and thanks for the angels!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on April 13, 2015:

Very informative...the little video about decanting was revealing. I had no idea.

I do not drink a lot of wine and have never ever decanted a bottle but I do have decanters I have collected because I love the various shapes of them.

Thanks for sharing Peggy. Now I suppose I must go off in search of a bottle of that the word? :D

Angels are on the way to you today ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 02, 2013:

Hi moonlake,

Your decanters will make nice gifts for your kids who do drink wine. Do you use them for any other purpose or just have them for their decorative effect? Thanks for your comment and the share.

moonlake from America on May 02, 2013:

I love decanters and have a couple. I don't know why I don't drink wine. My kids do so someday they will have them. They are good gifts. Voted up and shared.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 09, 2013:

Hi dragonflyfla,

Perhaps your family members who like wine will like this hub regarding the "whys and wherefores" of decanting wine. Thanks for your comment and vote.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 08, 2013:

Hi Rajan,

So happy to hear that you learned about the reasons behind using wine decanters from reading this hub. Appreciate your comment, votes and the share.

Joy Campbell from South Florida on February 08, 2013:

Interesting and I am going to vote you that way along with up. I am not crazy about wine, but I certainly have family members that are.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 08, 2013:

Though I had an idea about wine decanters your hub is very detailed about the benefits and importance of having one. I surely learned quite a bit from this hub.

Voted up, useful, interesting and shared.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 18, 2012:

Hello TycoonSam,

It is interesting what wine decanters can do with regard to presenting wines in the best manner possible. Appreciate your comment and votes.

TycoonSam from Washington, MI on September 18, 2012:

Excellent Hub Peggy! So many decanters to choose from too!

Voted up and useful

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 16, 2011:

Hello livelonger,

Often we also pour directly from the bottles. But for older wines or those that might tend to throw a lot of sediment and/or fancier dinner parties, it is nice to have the wine decanters. As to using them for pouring water...nice touch! Will remember that! Thanks for your comment.

Jason Menayan from San Francisco on December 16, 2011:

We tend to pour directly from the bottle - I guess we're just lazy - but a decanter does add a touch of elegance to a nice dinner. My brother & sister-in-law use theirs to pour water, too, so I guess they can be fairly versatile. You've selected some gorgeous ones above.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 16, 2011:

Hi SanneL,

Yes, if one has wine lovers on their list for any type of gift giving purposes, a wine decanter will always be appreciated. Nice to know that you learned a bit that you might not have known by reading this hub. Thanks for your comment and votes.

SanneL from Sweden on December 16, 2011:

This is a great hub to those that haven't yet found the perfect gift for Christmas. A wine decanter is a great gift for any home. Very informative hub. I learned so much about wine decanters, very helpful indeed.

Voted up and useful!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 01, 2011:

Hi Billy,

Hope you found just the perfect wine decanter for that birthday present! Amazon has some pretty good prices.

billyaustindillon on July 29, 2011:

Had to pop back and check out your decanter hub as looking for one for a birthday present Peggy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 25, 2011:

Hi Jimmy Evola,

Glad that you enjoyed this hub about wine decanters. Hopefully you found it to be helpful. Thanks for leaving a comment.

Jimmy Evola from Australia on July 24, 2011:

Great hub, it was really detailed

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 18, 2011:

Hi Billy,

Nice! You can celebrate Father's Day tonight AND tomorrow with some fine wine! Enjoy!!!

billyaustindillon on June 18, 2011:

Right on cue am about to decanter some fine wine for fathers Day.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 05, 2011:

Hi Billy,

Enjoy your decanted wine tonight. We may use one of our wine decanters tomorrow night with a Beringer Howell Mountain Merlot. :)))

billyaustindillon on March 05, 2011:

Peggy makes me want to go and decanter a vintage red for the evening :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 23, 2011:

Hello BigSerious,

The taste of wine can be greatly improved if given enough time to breathe. Do a taste test. Take a taste of wine directly after a bottle has been opened. Then taste the same wine after it has breathed for a while. Most often you will be able to taste a difference and the taste is most often improved. Many big bold red wines in particular need that time to open up their flavors for full effect. Since you both like wine, go out and surprise your husband with a gift of a wine decanter. I think that you will be pleasantly surprised at what it does for your wine!

Most often my husband opens bottles of red wine at least an hour before drinking (sometimes even longer) and then decants depending upon the age, sediment, and so forth. We have inexpensive glass wine decanters and also some fancier crystal ones for when we have dinner parties.

Let me know what you think. Thanks!

Christen Roberts from Harrisburg, PA on January 23, 2011:

I love love love wine but have never used a decanter. And when I married my husband and he insisted on having it "breathe," I didn't understand that either. Yet I love wine! This hub was really helpful. Now that I know how they work, I wonder what I've been missing. Thank you!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 30, 2010:

Hi Prasetio,

Wine decanters as best gifts for wine lovers...only wine lovers or those learning about wine would be interested That is true. At least you know how and why they are used by reading this hub. I thank you for that. Happy New year to you!

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on December 30, 2010:

I thought this is the best gift for someone who love to drink wine. Unfortunately I never drink wine before. But Thanks for share with us. Have a nice day and Happy New Year.

Blessing and hugs,

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 29, 2010:

Hi Micky,

If it makes your love pant, perhaps you SHOULD learn to decant! Haha!

Wine decanters as best gifts for orange juice drinkers? Why not! Would lend a certain elegance. :)))

Micky Dee on December 29, 2010:

Oh Peggy! I can't decant!

I do not drink and so I shan't!

Even if it should make my love pant?

Well, maybe I should decant!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 28, 2010:

Greetings Hello, hello,

Thanks for being the first to comment on this hub about wine decanters being perfect gifts for wine lovers. Glad that it had educational value as well. Always enjoy seeing you commenting on my hubs! :-)

Hello, hello, from London, UK on December 28, 2010:

A brilliantly written hub and I learned a lot from it. Thank you, Peggy

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