April 23, 2020 2 min read

A wine carafe is a beautiful tool and one that every household should have. Not only is a carafe (sometimes called a decanter) aesthetically pleasing, but it makes a difference in the quality and taste of your wine. If you don’t have a wine carafe yet, the paragraphs below may change your mind.

What Does it Mean to Decant Wine?

A carafe, or decanter, is simply a vessel meant to hold wine. When you “decant” your wine, you are essentially just pouring it from the vessel it comes in, which is usually the original bottle, into the carafe. At home, you will likely serve the wine directly from the carafe into the glass. However, in restaurants, it is common for the server to decant the wine back into the bottle before serving it to you.

Why Should You Decant Your Wine?

You may find yourself wondering why on earth you should put your wine into a separate vessel – or why a restaurant would decant wine into a carafe just to turn around and put it right back. There are two surprisingly good reasons:

  • Separating Wine from Sediment –Not all wines are known for producing a great deal of sediment, but some – especially dark red vintage port wine or Bordeaux – produce quite a bit. When you pour wine straight from the bottle into a glass, the sediment tends to come out with it. It won’t harm anything, but it can create a rather astringent taste. When you put your wine into a carafe very slowly and carefully, you can keep the sediment (and the astringent taste) out.
  • Aerating the Wine –Aeration is by far the most common reason to use a wine carafe, and this is simply the process of introducing oxygen to the wine before serving it. You should almost always aerate newer wines to prevent one flavor profile from closing off all the rest; in other words, when you carefully aerate into a wine carafe, the wine takes in oxygen, which in turn allows all the flavors to blossom. Cabernet and Syrah wines (and their blends) can really benefit from this.

Buying a Wine Carafe

Wine carafes come in numerous shapes and styles, but ideally, clear glass is the best option. Wine is best enjoyed when it can be seen andtasted, and clear glass makes this possible. There are numerous wine carafes available, too. You might opt for a carafe that has been etched with a map of your college town, or perhaps even one with an etched view of the night sky – including constellations – from any place and time. There are also matching traditional and stemless wine glasses to match, and these make perfect gifts for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, housewarming, and more.

A wine carafe not only helps you separate sediment from vintage wines, but it also provides aeration that can help open up the various hints of flavor that make individual wines so unique. Though not all wines need to be decanted for flavor’s sake, decanting it into a beautiful carafe before pouring it into matching glasses adds a hint of sophistication and style to your gathering.