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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
Efficiently decants any 750-mL bottle of wine
Slanted spout makes for easy pouring
Easy to clean
A bit expensive
Interior doesn't fully dry
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 (our tester found washing it was easy but drying a bit trickier).
Our tester liked how easy it was to pour wine from the lightweight design but still found it sturdy enough that she didn't fear breaking it. Most importantly, after thorough testing, our reviewer noted that nearly any wine you use with this decanter will improve in taste.
Material: Crystal | Capacity: 32 ounces | Dimensions: 8.5 x 8.5 x 10 inches | Weight: 1.5 pounds
"After aerating, I could almost imagine that my Chianti cost more than $20." — Caroline Goldstein, Product Tester
Best Quick Aerating: Rabbit Super-Aerating Decanter System
Fun and easy to use
Delivers good results
Pouring is a little messy
Some wines may need to decant for longer
Must be gentle when washing
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. Our tester recommended just a bit more aeration time in the decanter for the best taste but was impressed with the system's efficient performance overall.
Another bonus our reviewer mentioned is the entertainment value of watching the wine waterfall down the sides of the crystal carafe, which is unique to this system. The system’s decanter should be hand washed to keep it looking its best, but the screen and funnel are dishwasher safe.
Material: Crystal, stainless steel | Capacity: 25.36 ounces | Dimensions: 8 x 8 x 12 inches | Weight: 1.8 pounds
"Whether you’re impatient by nature or just a fan of efficiency, the Rabbit Aerating Decanter System will make a fun and useful addition to your bar cart." — Caroline Goldstein, Product Tester
Best Set: YouYah Wine Decanter Set
Classic shape and design
Comes with everything you need to clean it
Stopper included to preserve wine
Small in size, a standard size bottle of wine fills the decanter to the top
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.
Material: Crystal | Capacity: 40.5 ounces | Dimensions: 12 x 7.5 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 2.79 pounds
Best Crystal: Onearf Wine Decanter and Carafe
Unique mountain design in decanter base
Easy to clean
Drying rack included
Sealing cover keeps wine fresh in the decanter for days
Can be difficult to hold
Crafted into the base of this decanter from Onearf is an iceberg. Yes, an iceberg. This allows for more oxygen across the surface area of the wine allowing aeration to be completed in half the time. Made from non-lead crystal glass, and comes with a drying rack, this decanter is elegant, functional, and great for everyday use.
The decanter measures 8.9 inches at its widest diameter and can hold up to 40.5 ounces. Its unique cap design connects the decanter to the wine bottle allowing you to pour from the decanter or pour the wine back into the bottle after aeration. The cap also helps to prevent spills and preserve the wine for your next use.
Material: Crystal | Capacity: 40.5 ounces | Dimensions: 9 x 8.9 x 8.9 inches | Weight: 2.75 pounds
Best Budget Wide-Base Decanter: Vintorio GoodGlassware Wine Decanter
Slanted rim for ease of pouring wine
Made from recycled glass
Imperfections can be present in the recycled glass
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.
Material: Glass | Capacity: 44 ounces | Dimensions: 6.5 x 6.5 x 8.7 inches | Weight: 1.8 pounds
Best Budget Swan Decanter: WBSEos Wine Decanter
Easy to clean
Easy to hold and pour wine
Base isn’t completely flat, may tip over when empty
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.
Material: Crystal | Capacity: 1.5 liters | Dimensions: 15 x 9.69 x 5.59 inches | Weight: 1.32 pounds
Best Electric Aerator: vSpin Wine Aerator
Most wines aerated in under four minutes
Combines wine and technology
Needs batteries or an electric charge to operate
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 varieties, 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.
Material: Crystal | Dimensions: 13.39 x 6.38 x 5.83 inches | Weight: 2.51 pounds
Best for Magnums: Peugeot Ibis Magnum 1.5-Liter Decanter
Glass stopped included
Packaged in a gift box
When you have a larger bottle of wine, a magnum perhaps, there is no longer a need to aerate your wine in two separate decanters. The Peugeot Ibis is large enough to hold a magnum, 1.5-liter bottle of wine.
This hand-blown glass decanter with its narrow mouth and wide base can be used to decant white wines and mature red wines with complex aromas. A glass stopper fits perfectly into the mouth of this decanter to eliminate further oxygenation of the wine upon storage.
Material: Glass | Capacity: 1.5 liters | Dimensions: 9 x 9 x 13 inches | Weight: 2.2 pounds
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 will go best with your taste and surrounding décor.
What does a wine decanter do?
A wine decanter allows the wine to obtain more oxygen to release more flavors and aromas. Normally you can just swirl the wine in your glass to do this, but some "bigger" wines need more time and more air. So you pour the wine in a decanter.
How long should you decant wine?
You can decant wines anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. It definitely depends on the wine. It’s okay to taste it after 30 minutes and see how it’s developed, then leave it in for longer if necessary.
How do you clean a wine decanter?
Very carefully! Since the decanter is just holding the wine, it’s okay to just rinse your decanter out with warm water, swish it around, then set it on a rack to dry. If you have stubborn stains in the bottom of your decanter, add a handful of rice and some warm water to the bottom and swish that around.
How long can you leave wine in a decanter?
You can leave wine in the decanter for up to three days if it has an airtight stopper. After that, it starts to receive too much air and can turn stale.
Should you decant white wine?
White wines can be decanted, it won’t hurt the wine. It's more common to decant the heavier whites like your California chardonnays or Rhone Valley white blends. They just don’t need to be decanted as long as reds, 20-40 minutes should do just fine.
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. While learning how long to properly decant a bottle of wine was hard, learning how to properly clean the decanter was harder.
This piece was updated by Tanisha Townsend, who is the founder and Chief Wine Officer of Girl Meets Glass, a wine lifestyle and education agency. She lives in Paris, France, where one of her favorite party tricks is using different decanters and blind tasting her friends on the wines afterward. Her favorite and most impressive one, The Rabbit Wine Super Aerating Decanter.