How to Decant a Wine

Opening up a bottle of wine you've been saving for that special occasion? Make sure you decant it first

Let your wine sit in the decanter for 30-60 minutes for the best results

Make sure your bottle of wine is perfect everytime by decanting

Decanting is useful when you need to separate a wine from any solid deposits (sediments) that may have collected in the bottle over the years. It is done with high-quality red wines, vintage wines or to mellow the tannins in full-bodied reds.

Carafing is the process of pouring a wine that needs to breathe into a carafe. Any young red wines or white wines that need to open up can be put in a carafe to aerate them.

You can also aerate wine without a carafe or decanter by using a spout aerator that attaches to the neck of the bottle. The wine is aerated as it is poured directly into the glass, instantly revealing its aroma, flavour and bouquet, achieving the same results as sitting for 30 minutes in a carafe.

Jessica Harnois, president of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, offers the following tips for decanting wine.

Decanting a Wine

  1. Pick: When shopping for a decanter, look for a shape that’s easy to hold in your hand and will be simple to wash. Choose a great quality glass for a good price point.
  2. Pour: Open your bottle of wine. If the wine is a younger red (or a great white wine), you can simply pour it into the decanter to allow it to breathe. If the wine is older or shows signs of sediment, you will need to decant it slowly, separating the sediments from the wine as you go.
  3. Pause: Let the wine sit in your carafe or decanter for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. Party: Serve your guests and, of course, yourself.

Originally published in BC Home & Garden magazine. For regular updates, subscribe to our free Home and Garden e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the magazine.