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Exposing wine to air for a period of time helps bring out the full flavor of certain types of wine, particularly reds. Aeration allows some of the alcohol to evaporate, taking the bite out of the wine and enhancing the compounds that give the wine its flavor.
While simply decanting can aerate wine, it can take up to 90 minutes for the wine to fully aerate, making it impractical for some occasions. The solution is a wine aerator that attaches to the opening of the bottle or to a decanter, allowing the wine to aerate in seconds. Wine aerators include simple designs that aerate wine by increasing its surface area as it is poured, and others that are electric models that add oxygen to the wine as it flows through a pressurized chamber.
This guide describes important differences among the types of wine aerators and shares the features that are crucial to consider when shopping for the best wine aerator. To further help the shopping search, the following list includes some of the best wine aerator options on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Vinturi Deluxe Essential Red Pourer and Decanter Set
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Corkas Wine Aerator Pourer
- UPGRADE PICK: Coravin 802013 Wine Preservation System Aerator
- BEST WITH FILTER: Vinvoli Wine Aerator Decanter with Sediment Filter
- BEST ELECTRIC: Aervana Original: 1 Touch Luxury Wine Aerator
- MOST STYLISH: Soireehome – In Bottle Wine Aerator
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Wine Aerator
When shopping for a wine aerator for a wine collection or a home bar, it’s helpful to understand the differences among the types as well as other important factors, such as material, filtration, usability, and aesthetics. Keep reading to learn more about these and other important differences among wine aerators.
In-Bottle vs. Handheld
There are a few types of wine aerators. A handheld wine aerator is held over the glass while wine is poured through it. These aerators separate the wine into smaller streams and pass it through a sizable chamber that creates pressure and forces oxygen into the wine. This method makes handheld aerators one of the most effective means of aerating wine. However, a handheld aerator requires two hands to operate—one to hold the aerator and one to pour the wine through it. It can be awkward to use.
In-bottle aerators consist of stoppers and decanters. A stopper aerator fits into the opening of the wine bottle, aerating the wine while also serving as a stopper. While pouring, the aerator divides wine into smaller streams, increasing its surface area and its exposure to air as it flows through the stopper. This design has a sleeker look and is easier to use than a handheld aerator, but it isn’t as effective at aerating.
Decanter-style aerators allow the user to aerate wine while decanting it. The aerator fits over the opening of the decanter. As the wine flows through the opening of the decanter, it is aerated. This type of aerator typically has a spout that allows the user to pour the wine into a glass. Decanter aerators are a great option for those who prefer to serve wine from a decanter as opposed to a bottle. Most decanters are the same volume as a bottle of wine.
Electric wine aerators, which are battery-powered, are the most effective way to aerate wine, and they’re the easiest to use. They’re also the most expensive. An electric aerator fits over the opening of the wine bottle. The user presses a button on the aerator, which aerates the wine before dispensing it through a spout, eliminating the need to pour from the bottle.
Wine aerators are typically made from steel, plastic, or glass. While all of these materials will do an effective job of aerating wine without adding any chemical taste, they do vary in durability. Plastic and steel will hold up the best, while glass is more fragile.
In-bottle aerators typically have rubber gaskets that allow them to make a tight connection to the opening of the bottle so they don’t fall out or leak during pouring. Most in-bottle aerators are plastic, which prevents them from adding too much weight to the top of a wine bottle. Some are glass, which can be more aesthetically appealing than metal or plastic options.
Handheld aerators consist of molded plastic pieces that are lighter than metal or glass and therefore easier to hold when pouring wine through them. Most handheld aerators have a rubberized strip around the body that allows the user to get a secure grip on it.
Electric wine aerators use a mix of plastic and metal parts. A rubber gasket around the opening allows them to create a tight seal to wine bottles.
Red wines will often have sediment in the bottle, which can end up in the wine glass, affecting taste. Some handheld aerators include a filtration system built into the aerator that filters these sediments out as they aerate the wine. These filters consist of a wire mesh insert.
When the user pours the wine into the aerator, it first passes through the filter, which removes sediment, before flowing into the aerator. Not only does filtering out this sediment improve the flavor of the wine, but it also prevents the sediment from entering and potentially clogging the aerator. These filters are removable, allowing the user to clean them between uses.
Usability and Storage
Aerators vary in how easy they are to use. Those looking for an aerator that is easiest to use may want to consider an electric model, as it adds oxygen to the wine with the simple push of a button. More affordable stopper and in-bottle aerators are also relatively simple, as they only require the user to pour the wine after uncorking it. Handheld wine aerators demand a bit more dexterity, as they require the user to hold a device while pouring the wine through it, which can make them more difficult to manage.
Wine aerators also include accessories that make them easier to store. Most handheld and electric aerators come with stands that allow the user to display them on the counter or a home bar, while many in-bottle aerators include small travel pouches. Some aerators aid in storing the wine, and decanter-style aerators are reversible, allowing the user to pour leftover wine back into the bottle.
Though wine aerators serve a clear function, they also can be viewed as decoration when displayed as part of a home bar or enjoyed during a formal meal. With this in mind, many aerators feature rounded shapes with undulating contours.
In-bottle aerators typically have long, curving spouts that add to the contours of a wine bottle. While most aerators are metal or plastic, others are glass, which can be more delicate and also more attractive. Some higher-end electric aerators have streamlined shapes and stainless steel or polished nickel finishes.
Ease of Cleaning
The small cracks and crevices that allow wine aerators to perform their duties can also trap wine and residue, making them difficult to clean.
Cleaning an electric aerator involves attaching the device to a clean bottle filled with clean water and running the water through the mechanism. Most handheld aerators require the user to disassemble the device to clean its internal parts. In-bottle aerators are the easiest to clean, as they simply need warm soapy water to run through them to clean out wine residue.
Since water needs to flow through the aerator to clean it, a dishwasher isn’t a practical option for cleaning a wine aerator. Aerator manufacturers recommend hand-washing instead.
Our Top Picks
The list below takes into account the above considerations to trim the field and help you select the best wine aerator by type. This list includes affordable decanter-style aerators as well as high-end electric aerators. Any of the products below will do an excellent job of enhancing a wine’s natural flavors.
Though it may take a little more hand-eye coordination to use, a handheld wine aerator offers the most effective means of adding oxygen to wine. This model is one of the best, taking a process that can take more than an hour and condensing it into seconds. It uses a shape similar to a flute glass to create pressure inside the device to draw air into the wine, enhancing its flavors. This aerator also includes a filter that removes sediment as it aerates.
While most handheld aerators require the user to hold it in their hand, this model includes a convenient stand that holds the aerator during pouring. A rubberized strip around the lower part of the aerator allows the aerator to fit snugly in the stand, while the clear plastic design lets the user clearly view the aeration process. The aerator easily disassembles for cleaning, and the stand holds the aerator when not in use.
Aerating wine isn’t just for the affluent. This pour-style aerator costs a fraction of higher-end models and fits snugly to the opening of a bottle with a ribbed rubber stopper. The long spout uses an inflation system that adds pressure in the chamber, forcing oxygen into the wine as it flows through the spout and into the glass.
This aerator’s design also has the effect of slowing the flow of fluid, allowing for more precise pouring and fewer spills. That sleek tapered shape that expands the surface area of the wine for optimal aeration also makes it one of the more attractive aerators you can attach to a wine bottle. The aerator consists of acrylic plastic, which is durable as well as easy to clean.
Those serious about aerating and preserving wine may want to consider Coravin’s system, which uses an innovative design that allows the user to pour the wine without actually uncorking it. The aerator is one of the bulkier options on the market, but it is one of the most effective.
When the aerator clamps to the top of the bottle, a needle pierces the cork, creating an opening for the wine to flow through. The aerator starts pouring at the push of the button, sending the wine through 24 separate holes, creating individual streams that increase the surface area of the wine for optimal aeration. This system is unique in that it also preserves the wine. When removing the needle out of the cork, it can reseal. This keeps the wine fresh for weeks, and possibly years.
With its ability to both filter and aerate, this is a worthy option for red wine connoisseurs. This aerator uses a three-stage aeration process to add oxygen to the wine. And, with its see-through design, this aerator gives the user the satisfaction of seeing bubbles forming in the wine as air is forced into it via an internal pressure chamber.
Meanwhile, a mesh basket at the top of the aerator catches any sediment that might be left in the wine, preventing it from ending up in the glass. This aerator also includes a convenient stand that holds the aerator when not in use and a soft travel pouch for storage or transport. As the pieces of the aerator can be taken apart, this model is easy to clean.
Though it’s a significant investment when compared with other wine aerators, other aerators are hard-pressed to match the effectiveness and ease of use of this electric wine aerator. It requires no pouring or aiming, eliminating accidental spills. The aerator attaches to the wine bottle, then pushing a button releases wine through the aerator’s tap. The aerator creates pressure inside that forces oxygen into the wine as it passes through.
It’s also one of the more attractive aerators with its streamlined design and polished nickel finish. To clean, simply fill an empty wine bottle with water and run it through the aerator. This aerator comes with two tubes and six AAA batteries that power the unit.
The bulbous shape of this glass wine aerator serves as an interesting conversation piece as well as a means for opening the bouquet and flavors of the evening’s wine selection. Made with blown glass, it has a more attractive look than some plastic and metal aerators. The large throat of this wine aerator looks similar to an alchemist’s flask.
This aerator isn’t all about looks. The large throat condenses the wine and oxygen to aerate it. It also attaches conveniently to the wine bottle’s opening, making it easy to use. A rubber gasket ensures that it stays put while creating the airtight seal needed to do its job. Simply run water through it to clean the aerator.
FAQs About Wine Aerators
Now that you know more about aerators, there may be new questions about them. If you have concerns about how to best use a new wine aerator or how aerators work, then read on for answers to these and some other commonly asked questions about these devices.
Q. Which wines need aeration?
While aerating most any wine is a good idea, aeration benefits young red wines the most by removing the sharper smells of alcohol. The red wine varieties that best benefit from aeration include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, and Syrah. While white wines don’t benefit as much from aeration, the process can still enhance the taste while improving the aroma.
Q. What temperature should wine be aerated at?
This depends on the type of wine. Since wine is often aerated when it is served, the wine should be at the temperature that is best for its type. For example, a Bordeaux should be served just below room temperature, while white wine should be chilled before serving.
Q. How do you minimize air exposure to wine that was already aerated?
Aside from finishing the bottle in a single serving, the best way to minimize air exposure is to recork any leftover wine after serving it.
Q. How is a wine aerator cleaned?
A wine aerator can be cleaned by running clean water through it. While using a small amount of mild dish soap is OK, resist the temptation to use a lot of soap. Additionally, the aerator should not be put in the dishwasher. Doing so can leave soap residue and affect the taste of wine. If the aerator has pieces that come apart, disassemble the aerator and give it a thorough rinsing.