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Decanter Design and Aeration (Plus, Our Contest Winners!)

Thursday, June 18th, 2009 at 2:48:20 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Because we offer a wide variety of decanters in many styles, we are often asked what the differences are. Does a decanter’s shape affect the wine’s aeration?

The answer is that it can, in subtle ways. Letting your wine “breathe” in a decanter softens harsh tannins and releases its full bouquet. The more space there is in the decanter, the more air can reach the wine. Thus a narrow, tall decanter would aerate more slowly than a wide decanter with a large bowl. The use of a stopper would affect the aeration as well because the stopper prevents air from getting in, slowing aeration. The opening at the top can make a difference too as this is where the air flows. The larger the opening, the more aeration.

In January we launched our first Decanter Design Contest, calling on our customers’ creative juices to design an elegant and exciting new decanter for us. Our first and second place designs are great examples of how a decanter shape can affect aeration.

Our winning design was a fluid-catamaran-like form with ample room for wine aeration. This decanter is expansive, allowing for faster aeration.

Catamaran Decanter Design

Our second place winner designed a more compact decanter which permits gentle swirling without exposing the wine to excessive air.

Celtic Decanter Design

One design allows for faster aeration by spreading the wine across a great surface area and the other is a slower process, in a more compact vessel. You might use the first decanter for a young, tannic wine that requires tremendous aeration and the second for a soft wine that requires less. The most important thing is choosing a decanter that is functional and looks beautiful on the dinner table! By the way, congratulations to our winners: Eric Hwang, Mark T. Maclean-Blevins and Bozena Wysowski!

Browse our full selection of elegant decanters here 

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