How Long Should You Let Wine Breathe For?

When you pour a glass of wine, letting the wine breathe increases the complexity and changes the tannic structure. This warms up the wine a bit and brings out more of the aromas and the flavors in the wine which results in the best tasting experience.

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How Long Should You Let Wine Breathe For?

What people mean when they say let the wine breathe is to expose the wine to air or oxygen. Red wines tend to benefit more from breathing than other wines. However, all types of wines will improve significantly with an average of 15 to 20 minutes of air exposure.

It is important to bear in mind that wines with more tannin levels need more exposure to air because the flavor will need more softening. Therefore, younger wines with more tannin levels do need more time to breathe. We recommend letting a young wine breathe for an hour or more for optimal aeration.

Once you open a bottle of wine, the wine starts to aerate as it gets exposed to air. However, the surface area of exposure is not much in the bottle and therefore, the wine will not aerate properly. Also remember that after opening a bottle of wine, you should take care to store it properly to maximize its shelf life.

The two most basic methods of aerating wine are by:

  • Using a decanter
  • In the wine glass itself

What Is A Decanter?

A decanter is just a large container with a wide opening at the top which allows you to pour your wine into it for aeration. Because of the shape of the decanter, more of the surface area of the wine is exposed to air which helps the wine breathe more.

A decanter is not essential in the sense that any large liquid container would do the job just as well such as a flower vase or a juice pitcher. However, a decanter’s unique shape has been designed for optimal aeration so this is worth bearing in mind.

The average time to let wine breathe in a decanter is 40 minutes but the younger and more tannins the wine has, this time should be increased to 1 to 2 hours. The above picture shows the Wine Enthusiast Vivid wine decanter which is one of the best wine decanters on the market.

How To Aerate Wine In A Wine Glass?

Allowing wine to breathe in a wine glass is certainly the easiest and most cost effective way to bring out its aromas and flavors. Simply pour the wine in a wine glass and let it breathe.

When pouring the wine, make sure that you are pouring the wine towards the center of the glass and remember to allow about 6 to 10 inches between the tip of the bottle to the bottom of the wine glass to allow the wine to get exposure to air as it is being poured.

Are There Gadgets To Speed Up The Aeration Of Wine?

You would have guessed this already. There are endless gadgets currently on the market that allow for quicker aeration of wine. Most of these gadgets not only get air in the wine but also get the sediment out of the wine.

These gadgets are great if you do not want to sit around and wait for your wine to aerate. The most effective gadgets for wine aeration and sediment extraction are listed below.

The VacuVin Wine Aerator

When this device is added on top of the bottle before pouring, the wine passes through a series of channels which aerates the wine.

This device is transparent which is great because it allows you to see the wine passing through the device. The VacuVin wine aerator also traps any sediment in the process.

The TRIbella Wine Aerator

It comes in what looks like a spectacle case. Insert this device into the wine bottle before pouring. The wine comes out in three streams which exposes the wine to air. The pouring of the wine is also very pleasing to the eye.

Winebreather Decanter Or Carafe

Press the decanter with wine breather on top of the opened wine bottle flip it over. The wine comes out all over the inside rim of the decanter giving maximum air contact.

You then have the choice of serving the wine from the decanter or you can pour the wine back into the wine bottle for serving.

We hope that this article has helped you understand why wine needs breathing and what are the best ways to expose your wine to air or oxygen.


Photo by candescent