Wine Aerator vs. Decanter: Key Differences & Benefits - Water Wisdom - Mayu Water Blog

Wine Aerator vs. Decanter: Key Differences & Benefits

Kelli Harris - Writer for Mayu Water
By Kelli Harris
Nevena Radulović - Editor for Mayu Water
Reviewed by Nevena Radulović

Updated January 20, 2023.

Close-up side view of loose wine with aeration bubbles

For those of us who love wine, understanding the difference between an aerator and a decanter is an essential part of our wine education.

While both techniques help "open up" the flavor profile of the wine by exposing it to oxygen and serve the same purpose of enhancing flavor, they have different processes and benefits. Knowing how and when to use each one properly will ensure you get the most out of your wines.

» Can all wines be aerated? Seeif you should aerate cheap wines

Wine Aerator

An aerator is essentially any device or method that invigorates wine with oxygen to release its aroma and flavor. Although this can include simply swirling the wine in a glass, using a special aerator tool is recommended for getting the full benefits of this method. We aerate wine tosoften tannins and help integrate flavors, resulting in a smoother and more balanced taste.

If you want to enjoy a glass of the finest red or white wine at home, you might want to consider investing in an aerator, which is designed to instantly aerate wine by passing it through a nozzle.

In general, aerators are best suited for wines that are heavy-bodied and tannic, like Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Nebbiolo, to name a few. These wines are described as "closed" or "tight," and the aerator helps open them up, allowing the flavors and aromas to be more prominent.

Most white wines as well as more fragile vintages don't need to be aerated.

How To Use It

To properly use a wine aerator, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the stopper or cork from the bottle of wine.
  2. Place the aerator device on top of the bottle, ensuring it's securely attached.
  3. Pour the wine slowly into a glass and watch as the aerator mixes in oxygen to the wine.
  4. Enjoy your newly aerated glass of wine!


  • Aerators are convenient and ideal for single glasses of wine
  • They're inconspicuous, easy to clean, and simple to store
  • They aerate wine instantaneously

» Learn more aboutaerating wine without a decanter

Wine Decanter

While a decanter does aerate wine, it's primarily a vessel used to separate any sediment from the wine before it's served.

Decanters are made of glass or crystal and feature a wide base that gradually tapers to a narrower neck, allowing for easy pouring of wine. Most wine decanters have a spout at the top of the neck, which helps control the flow of wine when pouring. The wide body provides ample space for the wine to swirl, allowing oxygen to mix with the liquid and resulting in a significantly more balanced taste.

A decanter should be used when decanting young or strong red wines with harsh tannins. It's definitely a good idea to decant Bordeaux, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec wines.

While reds generally have more sediment than whites, decanting can benefit most types of wine, except sparkling wine. Bubbly wines should never be decanted, as they need their "bouncy" effervescence to stay fresh.

How To Use It

  1. Remove the cork carefully from the bottle of wine.
  2. Place the decanter on a flat surface and begin pouring the wine slowly into the decanter in one motion, making sure any sediment stays in the bottle. If you see any trace of sediment, stop pouring.
  3. Through this process of decanting, you've already started aerating the wine. Depending on the type and age of the wine, allow it to sit for a few more minutes before serving to let it breathe before you drink.


  • Decanters can be used to aerate larger batches at once
  • They remove sediment from older wines and aerate younger wines

Aerate Your Wine to Get the Most Out of It

Taking the time to understand when to use an aerator and a decanter will help bring out the best qualities of each bottle of wine, allowing you to savor every sip. And if you're looking to further improve your wine-drinking experience, the Mayu Swirl can serve as your alternative to wine decanters, helping you easily aerate your wines. This way, you'll be able to get the most out of your wine and aerate like a professional.

» Elevate your wine-drinking experience withMayu Swirl

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