Betty's Wine Musings

Why Do Some Wines Require More Aeration Than Others?

Whether we aerate our wine or not, most of us know the benefits of aeration: It makes your wine taste better. by exposing it to as much oxygen as possible before you drink it. You can aerate using an aerator or a decanter. You can also enthusiastically swirl your wine glass for 10 minutes to accomplish the same thing 🙂


In this article, we’ll go into a few more details on aeration, and then we’ll look at which wines benefit more from this process.


Wine Enthusiast: Vivid Decanter & Aerating Funnel Set
Wine Enthusiast: Vivid Decanter & Aerating Funnel Set

Aeration 101

So, it’s nice to say that aeration makes wine taste better by allowing more oxygen to hit the wine. But what else is involved?


Coravin does a good job of explaining the ins and outs of aeration. They start by saying that “aerating wine means exposing the wine to air in order to trigger oxidation and evaporation. They explain that these two chemical reactions:


  • “Evaporate unfavorable compounds: Aerating your wine will help accelerate the evaporation of less favorable sulfites and ethanol compounds of wine.

  • “Boost flavors: Aerating boosts your wine’s more favorable tasting and nose notes by removing those less favorable ones we mentioned above. So, if you’re eager to taste the amazing black cherry and cedar flavors of a bold Cabernet Sauvignon, skip the 1-hour decant and pour using your…aerator.

  • “Reach peak tasting sooner: Aerating a wine allows it to come to its peak faster. But, don’t let your glass linger too long. Aerating can also lead to your wine flattening out sooner and you’ll lose that enhanced flavor you set out to achieve.”

What Is Wine Oxidation and Evaporation?

According to Dr. Vinny of Wine Spectator, “Oxidation is what makes an apple turn brown after its skin is broken, and evaporation is the process of liquid turning into vapor. Wine is made up of hundreds of compounds, and with aeration, usually the volatile undesirable compounds will evaporate faster than the desirable, aromatic and flavorful ones.


“There are a few particular compounds that are reduced with aeration, such as sulfites, which are added to wine to prevent oxidation and microbial activity…”

What Wines Benefit Most from Aeration?

Wine Spectator tells us that “the more dense and concentrated a wine is, the more it will benefit from aeration and the longer it can go before beginning to fade.”


Young red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Syrah are great candidates for aeration. They tend to have high tannins that can be harsh and overwhelming. Using an aerator or a decanter can help mellow out scary tannins. But for a young bottle, it won’t make the wine more complex. That takes aging.


Word of warning: Don’t aerate old, delicate wines. If you need to remove sediment, use a decanter. But when you aerate an older wine, you run the risk of missing out on some unique aromas.


Cheers to enjoying aerated wine!



As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!

Cheers, Betty Kaufman
WineShop At Home

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