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Whether you’re drinking a $20 or $200 bottle of wine, its flavors and aromatic bouquet improve greatly with decanting. The act of aerating allows your wine to interact with oxygen, which opens up the bottling’s aromas and flavors. It also allows a wine’s tannins to smooth out while settling any sediment in the bottle.
Though decanting is most often associated with older red wines, any younger red or white wines that taste flat at first sip may improve with as little as 15 minutes of aeration. Wine decanters come in a variety of shapes, from common wide-base carafes to one-of-a-kind art pieces. Here are our top picks for decanters that will deliver the best glass of wine.
Best Overall: Le Chateau Wine Decanter
An angled spout, long neck, and wide base is a popular shape for wine decanters, and for good reason. When the base is filled, the wine’s large surface allows maximum exposure to oxygen for proper aeration. This attractive decanter from Le Chateau is hand blown and formed from lead-free crystal, so no impurities will get into your wine.
This lightweight decanter can hold up to 32 ounces, but a standard 750-milliliter bottle will fill the base to its widest point. The large base also means any sediment from the wine doesn’t end up in your glass. To help with this, the sturdy neck makes pouring easy, while the slanted spout minimizes drips. While this decanter is dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended.
Best Quick Aerating: Rabbit Super-Aerating Decanter System
Famous for its original corkscrew, Rabbit now offers everything you need for your home bar including this decanting system. It’s designed for when you need to properly aerate and decant a bottle of wine quickly. The three-part system includes a crystal decanter, a crystal wine spray funnel, and a sediment screen.
The system is easy to assemble and all you have to do is pour. When placed in the top of the decanter, five tiny holes in the funnel’s stem spray the wine for more exposure to oxygen. The screen, placed inside the funnel, captures any sediment that pours out.
The system’s decanter should be hand washed to keep it looking its best, but the screen and funnel are dishwasher safe.
Best Budget Swan Decanter: WBSEos Wine Decanter
The wide-base decanter is a popular shape, but if you want to bring a little elegance to your home bar, there’s the swan-style decanter. Inspired by the bird, this U-shaped vessel features an elongated spout and “tail” with a curved base where the wine is held.
This lead-free crystal offering from WBSEos features a curvy neck and angled spout for easy, drip-free pours. It can hold up to 1,500 milliliters and measures 15 inches in height. Reviewers note that this style is easier to clean, though care is needed with the thin glass.
Best Budget Wide-Base Decanter: Vintorio GoodGlassware Wine Decanter
Crafted into the classic wide-base design, this decanter from Good Glassware is produced with dishwasher-safe, break-resistant crystal, which makes it perfect for everyday use. The base features a punt—the indentation also found on wine bottles—for an easier grip when pouring.
The decanter measures 6.5 inches at its widest diameter, can hold up to 44 ounces, and the angled spout allows for drip-free pouring. With sustainability in mind, this is made from 100 percent lead-free, recycled glass. It comes with a 60-day guarantee in case of breakage.
Best Electric Aerator: vSpin Wine Aerator
This electric aerator from vSpin is for those moments when you’re pinched for decanting time or simply need a party talking point. The system is able to decant a full bottle of wine in mere minutes as opposed to hours.
To speed up the process, the magnetic base creates a vortex for maximum oxygenation inside the lead-free crystal decanter, which is made by Spiegelau. After placing the filled decanter on the base, you set the timer and speed of decanting. vSpin went through the research of optimal time for major red wine arieties, but you can experiment with times and speeds.
Hand washing is recommended for this decanter. The set comes with a charger as well as four AA batteries, though reviewers mention short battery life.
Best Set: YouYah Wine Decanter Set
Pouring wine into a decanter is easy, but cleaning the decanter after can get tricky. Many carafes have been recycled after mold has taken hold or stubborn red wine stains refuse to lift. This kit from YouYah helps with the morning-after cleaning to keep the lead-free crystal decanter spotless and sparkling. The hand-blown decanter can hold up to 40.5 ounces and includes a dimple in the base for easier pouring, plus a cork stopper.
Once the wine has been tasted, you can use your preferred cleaning method: There are the cleaning beads, which are placed in the base with a gentle cleanser, or the cleaning brush for sweeping around the base. The final drip dry is much easier with the included drying stand, which can also be used for safely storing the decanter.
Best for Magnums: Riedel Magnum Ultra Decanter
Most decanters are made for decanting one standard 750 milliliter wine bottle at a time. This hand-made decanter from Riedel is for times when a full magnum, the equivalent of two standard bottles of wine, needs to be decanted in one container.
With a capacity for 70.5 ounces, this sturdy decanter measures 9.5 inches in diameter and height. Riedel does make this from 24 percent lead crystal, which may explain why it weighs 4 pounds. This also leads to a softer surface, which necessitates hand washing.
While the wide base allows for maximum aeration, Riedel recommends decanting for up to 12 hours.
What to Look for in a Wine Decanter
Decanters come in a few different types, including electric and traditional, and also use a variety of methods to do the decanting. For example, some require more time for the decanting process to take place while others allow you to start sipping right away.
How much wine you typically decant should dictate what size product you choose. While most models are equipped to hold one full bottle, others are made so you can decant a single glass at a time. Also, consider the amount of storage space you have—some decanters fit right on top of a bottle and are small enough to store in a drawer while others are the size of a large vase and need more room.
While your decanter definitely has a job to do, it can also add a stylish touch to your tabletop. A variety of styles are available, from classic to modern, so think about what would go best with your taste and surrounding décor.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Siobhan Wallace has written about food and wine for over a decade. While learning how long to properly decant a bottle of wine was hard, learning how to properly clean the decanter was harder.