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The Science Behind Wine Aerators

Updated on March 11, 2018
Wine Aeration
Wine Aeration | Source

How Do Wine Aerators Work?

What does an aerator do? The aerator works by enlarging the surface area of the wine, which in, turn allows more oxygen to "breath" into the vessel and wine. In essence, the wine aerator is performing CPR by forcing air and circulation through the liquid to expand the flavors and smells.

What usually happens is the cork is removed from the bottle, and the tiny opening begins to allow air in. Opening a bottle of wine and letting it "breath" for a few minutes is undoubtedly the slowest and most ineffective way to enhance the flavors and aromas.

Science proves that even after many hours, the narrow bottleneck still prevents much air from opening up the wine. Aeration will speed up the process so you can enjoy the wine directly after opening it.

Continue reading to learn what types of wine grapes benefit the most from this process, and see some smart tools, including bottle and glasses are used to achieve this goal.

Decanters

Another way to move the body of the wine is to pour it from its original bottle into a decanter. The goal is to carefully pour into another vessel to leave any remaining sediments behind in the old bottle, and to move the wine. Often this will help give a more transparent wine and freshen the notes.

Older wines, meaning ten years or more, may have accumulated sediments and even if you can't see them, you may be able to taste them. Try one glass from the bottle and then use the decanter and see if you can tell the difference. In the video demonstation below there is a handy candle trick used to keep some of the sediments out of the decantor.

Some decanters are all in one meaning they aerate and strain sediments. A Wine Decanter with Wine Shower Funnel and Sediment Strainer is an engineered decanter. It worked well because of the shower funnel (which was fun to watch), but it also did aerate the wine quickly. The decanter is set up with a removable filter. The filter is just for sediments. Keep reading to learn about the difference between wine filters and purifiers

Pros

  • Some bottles are extremely decorative
  • Watching the wine pour in with the shower funnel is fun

Cons

  • It needs counter space or to be stored somewhere
  • Some containers are difficult to clean
  • Decanters are not made for a single serving

How Long Does Wine Need to Breathe

Most red wines will get enough air time in about 20 to 30 minutes, but some experts recommend an hour for older wines. You should test the wine 15 minutes after opening to see if it has "loosened up," and it is an excellent way to learn what 15 more minutes of breathing can do for it. This is where the aerators can come into play and speed up the breathing process, so the wine is ready to be enjoyed much sooner!

Do Electric Wine Aerator Work Better?

I asked myself that question. I wanted to know if it worked faster or better. The Aervana Electric Wine Aerator is a neat gadget. I must admit it was fun, and it's a big hit at parties. It is more compact and easier to store and clean than a decanter. Excellent video demonstration below. It operates with batteries that pump the liquid out.

Pros

  • Small size makes it easy to store
  • Easy to use and a crowd pleaser
  • You can aerate one glass at a time

Cons

  • Price

Would I buy one again? Not for myself, but I would definitely give one as a gift with a nice bottle of wine. The smaller tap style models that just pop on the top of the bottle and you pour through it work great. Not as showy. Not as fun, but functional. They are reasonably inexpensive.

Purifiers

Wine aerators are not purifiers, but some purifiers are aerators! Purifiers filter out sulfites and the sediments. Sulfites are preservatives in wine. Some people may have an adverse allergic type of reaction to sulfites. Sulfites are in red and white wines.

Today more wines are being made with little to no sulfites, but they will not have a long shelf life. When shopping for these types of wines, look for organic or no SO2 labeling. SO2 stands for the chemical compound of sulfur dioxide. Researchers studying the effects of sulfites state that they are harmless, but if you need to or want to avoid them, using the filters is one way to enjoy all varieties of wine. One thing to note is these filters need replacing, so they are an ongoing investment. The brand Ullo Wine Purifier comes with four filters. Each filter is good for one bottle, and you can purchase the replacements in six packs. Video demonstration below.

Pros

  • Helps prevent allergic reactions
  • Aerates at the same time

Cons

  • Must buy replacement filters

Will purifying the wine stop hangovers?

Some wine enthusiasts swear that the filtration process removes all the things that cause headaches and hangovers. You will have to test that one out yourself!

The Proper Red Wine Glass For Airing

Try to maximize the pouring distance from the bottle to the wine glass; this will help increase the air flow.


When pouring stop the pour at the broadest part of the bowl. This will ensure the maximum surface area for the wine to breathe. Also you can swirl the wine without spilling it, allowing more air in.

The Pour
The Pour | Source

Histamines

Histamines develop in red wine due to the fermentation process. It is another compound that can irritate some people. White wines have far less than reds. The Ullo purifier did not state anything about removing histamines.

Tannins

When wine is aerated it soften the tannins, but what are tannins? Tannins are a naturally occurring substance in the grape’s skin. Crushing presses the tannins out of the skins.

Tannins taste astringent, and they dry the mouth and tongue. How dry your mouth feels after tasting wine tells you how much tannin is in the glass.

The wine develops a strong tannic flavor when it sits. The skins, stems, and grape seeds all carry tannins and release it while soaking after the crushing. When winemakers allow the wine to sit, it makes the liquid build character and deeper flavors.

Tannins are antioxidants, which has many benefits in people. The antioxidants factor helps protect the wine also.

Aeration will lessen the dry tannin effect but leave the wine robust still. One way to taste test tannins is to open a cabernet wine and taste it. It should be dry. Cleanse your palate. Aerate a glass and taste it again. It should be softer and less tannic.

Red Wines that Benefit from Aeration

Pinot Noir
A dark black wine grape wine. These grapes have a softer flavor and less tannin's, but a deep dark burgundy purple, red hue. These grapes make a variety of different flavored wines depending on the region they were grown. They are grown all over the world from France to New Zealand.

Zinfandel
Zinfandels can make robust red wine, along with rose and whites. Very versatile from light red drinks to a more richer reddish hue. Zins can range from peppery to sweet.

Merlot
This dark blue grape makes a stern wine, but merlot grapes are softer than the cabs.

Cabernet Franc
This grape can be found blending with a Cabernet and Merlot to create the Bordeaux style wine. One of my favorites, I look for the more peppery tasting ones. A good treat.

Petite Sirah
Did you know the "petite" in the name plays to the size of grapes? From these compact berries, a powerful juice is created.

Sangiovese
This wines homeland is Italy, and these are used to make chiantis.

Malbec
The grapes used to produce this wine tend to have an inky dark color and robust tannins. This wine will need some aeration. Australia is now standing out products with the maturity of these grapes.

Red Wine Grapes
Red Wine Grapes | Source

Have you Ever Used a Wine Aerator?

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Do you Think Aerating Makes a Difference?

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    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      As a dedicated wine drinker, I thank you for this information!

    • dwnovacek profile image

      dwnovacek 5 years ago

      My husband used to manage a wine tasting room, and he thinks these are awesome products. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I like red wine.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Good tips, thks.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      We've used a wine aerator, but do not have our own yet. Hmmmmm ... nice stocking stuffer idea!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Yes but your suggestion what to do when there is none is useful.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      Thanks for explanation of so important topic. Wine is part of almost all cultures of the world so we should always support quality and aerating is certainly part of it. Cheers:)

    • Metalpriest profile image

      Metalpriest 5 years ago

      Really informative lens. Never knew aerating was that important!

    • profile image

      myspace9 5 years ago

      Good lens.

    • profile image

      seosmm 5 years ago

      Nice lens. Aerators work great!

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Is the glass called the aerator? I didn't quite get that. We do use proper red wine glasses but didn't realise it was called an aerator. Thanks for the info.

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 5 years ago

      Very nice. Yes, my husband would say that aerating wine is extremely important. I didn't know about creating distance between the bottle and the glass. It's really amazing to see how different wine can taste in just a few hours or overnight.

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 5 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      I've never used an aerator, but I have always tried to pour wine in such a way as to make air get into it, and swirling the wine in the glass. Tips which you included in this very informative lens.TonyB

    • RosaMorelli profile image

      RosaMorelli 5 years ago

      Wow, I like a glass or two of nice red wine, and I usually let it 'breathe' for a while before drinking, but I'd not heard of aerators before. I'm thinking that one would make a fabulous Christmas gift (along with a good bottle of wine, of course!) for my wine-loving friends :)

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      I am a big fan of red wine and love tasting the different kinds - nice lens!

    • profile image

      mlt89 5 years ago

      Interesting lens - thanks for sharing!

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