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Wine lovers want every glass to be the best possible expression of a vintage since wine is a living product where multiple aspects affect what’s in your glass. That includes whether or not the wine is aerated, or exposed to air, when it’s time to serve. Aerating a wine allows for volatile compounds like sulfites to evaporate while the interaction with oxygen opens up flavors and smoothes out tannins. If you know what wine you’re drinking in a few hours or tomorrow, aeration is accomplished while decanting. For those times when a bottle is opened in the moment, you’ll want to reach for your trusty aerator.
Aerators work during the actual pour, when air holes produce little bubbles of oxygen into your wine. This does usually result in some surface bubbles in your glass, though those will dissipate after a few moments. Since aerating affects tannins and stronger tasting notes, it’s generally used for complex red wines, as the other wine styles can lose structure and flavors in the process. Here are our top picks for when your wine needs to breathe.
Best Overall: Vinturi V1010 Essential Red Wine Aerator
The best aerators accomplish two important tasks: opening up the wine’s bouquet by exposing it to oxygen and straining any sediment or pieces of cork. This aerator set from Vinturi achieves both effectively to give you a more aromatic wine with softer tannins.
For the 6-inch tall aerator to work, it does need to be held above your glass as the wine is poured. After going through the removable mesh sediment filter, the wine whooshes through the aerator chamber while making the unique sound of aerating. Since a few drops of wine tend to stay in the chamber, Vinturi includes a no-drip rubber stand to avoid messes and store the model between pours.
Since the aerator does not come apart, it’s best to clean the chamber as soon as possible. Our reviewer found that placing it directly under a running faucet did the trick.
Best Electric: Aervana Essential Electric Wine Aerator
Many aerators are designed to be placed inside the neck of a wine bottle. The Aervana Essential, though, works when set atop the bottle, essentially turning it into wine on tap.
This electric aerator comes in two pieces: the aerator and a long tube. The tube sits inside the bottle and leaves any sediment at the bottom of the bottle. In the best party trick ever, wine goes through the aerator and into your glass with the push of a button. The entire contraption is designed to fit only traditional 750-milliliter bottles.
Cleaning is a bit tricky since the tube can be cleaned with a pipe cleaner, but water needs to be run through the aerator pump via the tube. This is due to the battery compartment holding six AAAs, which are not included.
Best Pourer: Vintorio Wine Aerator Pourer
When an aerator sits inside the neck of a wine bottle, your wine is aerated as you pour. Vintorio offers one of the very best of this style of aerator.
Measuring almost 6 inches in length, this aerator features three air holes to draw in oxygen, a regulator plate for maximum air exposure in the aeration chamber, and a 150-degree acrylic spout for easy pouring. Your pour is also helped by the air tube placed inside the bottle, and a rubber gasket prevents any leaks or spills.
The spout and tube do separate for easy cleaning, but you can also run water through the aerator between bottles.
Best Budget: TenTen Labs Wine Aerator Pourer (2-pack) - Decanter Premium Aerating Spout
If you regularly have more than one bottle of wine open during your meals, you’ll want to invest in more than one aerator. TenTen Labs has the answer to your hosting problems with this two-pack of affordable aerators.
This 4-inch model features a small hole in the aeration chamber that draws in oxygen, while the flow plate helps the air flow perfectly with the wine for maximum exposure. The silicone band gives the model a snug fit inside the neck of any wine bottle. The aerator and silicone plug come apart for easy cleaning.
Best for Chilling Wine: Derguam 3-in-1 Stainless Steel Wine Chiller with Aerator and Pourer
If you need to quickly aerate your wine, you might also need to quickly chill the bottle. That’s when this chiller, aerator, and pourer set from Derguam comes in handy.
After freezing the stainless steel chiller rod for at least two hours, you attach it to the aerator and place it in your bottle of wine. The chiller brings the wine to an optimal temperature and helps keep it chilled for hours. Meanwhile, the acrylic aerator helps the wine breathe and doubles as a drip-free pourer.
The set has a BPA-free band for the perfect fit in most wine bottles. Hand washing is recommended.
Best Basic: Rabbit Super Aerator
Wine enthusiasts may want an aerator with the latest technology. However, many can experience a great glass of wine with a full bouquet and silky tannins by using a no-frills aerator like this model from the experts at Rabbit.
You simply place the polished stainless steel aerator inside the neck of your wine bottle and it aerates as you pour. The silicone base gives it a tight seal in your bottle, while the angled spout minimizes drips. It’s recommended that you hand wash to clean.
Best with a Stopper: Zwilling Sommelier Accessories 3-in-1 Wine Aerator-Pourer-Stopper
The lack of a stopper is a common limitation for in-bottle aerators since it necessitates cleaning your aerator even if you only had one glass. To solve that problem, Zwilling’s top aerator comes with a rubber stopper that creates the perfect seal.
Measuring 5.5 inches in length, the aerator chamber features a patented spiral design and air hole to incorporate oxygen as the wine flows through. The pourer aspect is made from 18/10 stainless steel, and it’s where the rubber stopper can be placed for airtight storage. Hand washing is recommended.
Best for Coravin Fans: Coravin Aerator
The Coravin preservation system changed the wine world. No longer did enthusiasts have to open a prized bottle for a quick taste or simply one glass. And anyone who regularly uses their Coravin will love to have this accompanying aerator.
This accessory is designed to fit onto a Coravin spout. The Coravin’s pressure pushes wine through 24 strategically placed holes showering it down into your glass for maximum aeration. It’s the equivalent to at least an hour of decanting.
After you pour and the needle’s been removed, the aerator can be quickly cleaned by hand washing.
What to Look for in a Wine Aerator
Aerators range from ultra-fancy to your basic, everyday models. For example, some fit on the top of your bottle and can act as a stopper, too, while others are separate devices into which you pour your wine. How many features—and what types of features—you want will depend largely on your drinking habits and preferences.
Ease of use
Some aerators are easier to use than others. If you like the ritual of aerating your wine, you may not want a snazzy electric model. On the other hand, if you just want to get to sipping, there are models that make aerating a breeze.
Some people swear that certain aerators can make a bottle of wine taste like one that’s twice as expensive. Consider the technique an aerator uses as well as the recommendations of other oenophiles when choosing one.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Siobhan Wallace has written about food and wine for over a decade and passed the WSET Level 2, Wines, with Distinction. She’s a firm believer in aerating wine, especially when it’s being paired with pizza.