Best Wine Aerators of 2018
A wine aerator gives your wine a smoother, fuller taste. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best wine aerator for a better-tasting glass of vino every time.
Let It Breathe: Your Guide to the Best Wine Aerators
Have you taken the taste challenge of trying your favorite wine before and after a wine aerator? As soon as you have, you'll be converted to using a wine aerator whenever you enjoy a bottle of vino.
If you love wine and want to make a good bottle taste even better, adding a wine aerator to your kitchen is a must. But with so many of these handy devices on the market, how do you choose the best wine aerator for your needs? That's where we come in.
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If you're ready to purchase a wine aerator and pour a glass of your favorite red, scroll up for BestReviews' top picks. For everything you need to know about wine aerators, including what they are, how to use one, and how they improve your wine-drinking experience, you've come to the right place.
What Is a Wine Aerator?
A wine aerator is a simple device that forces oxygen into wine as you pour it, resulting in a smoother, fuller taste. You have probably heard that wine, especially red wine, should have time to "breathe" before being consumed. Exposure to oxygen amplifies wine's undertones, leading to more complex, full-bodied wine.
You might think simply uncorking a wine bottle is enough exposure. But the narrow neck of the bottle does not expose enough wine to the air and does little to improve the taste. Pouring wine into a glass or decanter and letting it sit does improve aeration, but that requires a wait time before you drink.
A wine aerator improves wine as you pour it, eliminating the waiting period before enjoying your glass of wine and making even an inexpensive vintage taste better. A wine aerator will also soften the taste of tannin, which is a compound found naturally in grape skins that can give a bitter taste to your favorite red.
Handheld vs. Electric: The Different Types of Wine Aerators
There are four basic types of wine aerators, but they all operate on the same principle. Multiple channels pull air in while wine pours out, mixing just the right amount of oxygen into the wine for the best flavor.
Handheld Wine Aerators
Handheld wine aerators are simple devices. Just hold the wine aerator over your glass and pour the wine through the aerator. Most have a screen to catch any sediment and a base to set the wine aerator on when not in use. Some come with a stand that holds the wine aerator in place over the glass for you. Handheld wine aerators are an excellent choice for anyone who occasionally savors a good bottle of wine.
Bottle-Stopper Wine Aerators
Bottle-stopper wine aerators are the easiest to use. These handy wine aerators fit into the neck of the bottle like a stopper—many function as both stopper and aerator—so you don't even need to aim. Just pour your wine through the wine aerator directly into your glass. While bottle-stopper wine aerators, which are also called wine pourers, certainly get the job done, they don't mix in quite as much oxygen as other types of wine aerators. Bottle-stopper wine aerators are excellent for use at a large gathering where lots of wine will be served. Guests can simply grab and pour, without worrying about spills or drips.
Aerator/Decanter Wine Aerators
Aerator/decanter wine aerators combine aerating with decanting. You pour wine into a small glass-shaped decanter at the top of the wine aerator. From there, the wine filters down through the aerator, then through the bottom spout and into your glass. This type of wine aerator is a good choice if you enjoy a wide variety of wines, as you can tailor the amount of aeration to suit your vintage and variety.
Electric Wine Aerators
Electric wine aerators are the most expensive type, but they give excellent results. Electric wine aerators sit on top of the wine bottle. With the touch of a button, the wine is drawn up through the aerator and then automatically dispensed into your waiting glass. An electric wine aerator is a wonderful gift for a wine connoisseur.
Does Any Type of Wine Benefit from Aeration?
While just about any wine will improve somewhat with aeration, some wines benefit more than others.
- Inexpensive Wine: While a very cheap wine doesn't have the complexity for vast improvement, you will find it tastes better after using a wine aerator.
- Older Wine: Wine older than 10 years tends to develop sediment, which can distort the wine's taste. Older bottles benefit greatly from a wine aerator.
- Red Wine: Red wine generally has more tannin when young, so go ahead and aerate your new reds. Popular reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petite Sirah, and Petite Verdot are particularly improved by aeration.
- White Wine: Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, Chablis, and Riesling are a few white wines that benefit from aeration.
- Dessert Wine: The dessert wine port tastes even better after a trip through a wine aerator.
Q. Are there any extra features to look for when buying a wine aerator?
A. While most wine aerators are straightforward devices, there are a few extras that elevate the best above the rest of the pack.
- A cleaning brush makes it easy to wipe away residue after using your wine aerator.
- A stand gives you somewhere to set your handheld wine aerator in between uses.
- A case protects your wine aerator from dust or damage when not in use.
- A screen catches sediment before it reaches your glass.
Q. What is the best way to aerate wine?
A. The key to proper aeration with any type of wine aerator is to pour the wine slowly through the device. The slower you pour, the more time the wine is exposed to oxygen, thus improving the taste. Pouring too fast can also cause the wine aerator to leak or wine to spill.
Q. How much do wine aerators cost?
A. The simplest handheld wine aerators and bottle-stopper wine aerators are generally under $20. Nicer handheld wine aerators with stands that hold the glass and aerator in place generally sell for $20 to $50. Expect to spend between $50 and $100 for an electric wine aerator.