It’s a typical weekday night, but you decide to pull out that bottle you’ve been saving for a special occasion. Yes, today is as good as any. You lift the handle of the corkscrew and hear the resounding pop of the cork. Then you slowly pour your wine into a long-necked decanter, watching it swirl down the sides while listening to the gentle “glug, glug,” as the bottle empties. Once all the contents have been poured, you take a breath and wait for your wine to settle. It’s a moment of zen, which is what wine is all about.
Not only is decanting wine meditative in our opinion, it serves a practical purpose, too. Decanters “separate clarified wine from solids that have formed during aging,” wrote Tammie Teclemariam for Wine Enthusiast. They also expose wine to oxygen, “which releases certain compounds bound within the bottle. Both have an effect on our perception of flavor, texture and aroma.”
Don’t have a decanter yet? Ensure that the special bottle you’ve had tucked away is as enjoyable as possible with some of Wine Enthusiast’s best decanters.
Best for Small Spaces: Recanter Wine Breather Decanter
Decanters can be beautiful and practical tools, but sometimes they are just too big. Obviously, this isn’t ideal if you’re short on cupboard and counter space. Enter the Recanter Decanter, a compact model just over eight inches tall and seven inches wide. Simply attach the included rubber stopper to both the top of your decanter and bottle. Then flip both over and watch the wine cascade down the decanter’s crystal-clear glass sides. If you’re unable to finish drinking everything you’ve decanted, simply use the tool to drain the wine back into its original vessel—the reason why it’s called the “Recanter Decanter.” Another benefit? This decanter is mess free, so no pesky drops of wine will roll down the sides and stain your tablecloth. One buyer even wrote there’s “no mess, no fuss, just great tasting wine to enjoy!”$49.95 Wine Enthusiast
Best for Big Bottles: WE Art Series Cascade Wine Decanter
Decanting something larger than your standard Bordeaux bottle? With a capacity of 77.5-ounces, this is the perfect tool for decanting magnums or other large-format bottles. In addition to a stainless-steel aerator pourer and sediment screen, an elongated spout eliminates dripping so no precious vino goes to waste.
The decanter also brings the drama. “As you pour wine through the aerating spout on the Cascade Wine Decanter, it streams beautifully down the sides of the vessel,” writes Florence Fabricant in the New York Times.$69.00 Wine Enthusiast
Best for Dramatic Display: WE Art Series Spiral Decanter
Look, we think all of Wine Enthusiast’s decanters are gorgeous, but this one is especially eye-catching with its striking central spiral. The design isn’t all flash, though: The unique coil-like design aerates wine not once, but twice with a twisting flow.”
Now, we know you might be looking at this and thinking, “How could I possible clean this?” It’s easier than you might think. Simply remove the top aerator, place it in the included glass cup and rinse it with warm, soapy water. The base can be put in the dishwasher. Or you can opt to use the Deluxe Stainless Steel Decanter Cleaning Beads with Strainer. Simply add the beads and warm water to the decanter and gently swirl. When you’re done, wash them out in the storage container, which acts as a strainer so you don’t risk any of the beads falling down the drain.$99.95 Wine Enthusiast
Best Budget: Vivid Decanter
Along with getting a bit unwieldy, decanters can command high prices. However, you don’t need to dump out your wallet for a quality one. At just a reasonable $40, this handblown design has a beautiful wide base and is lightweight. This decanter “fit the bill perfectly as a gift to some true wine lovers,” shares one customer in a review. Another noted it “pours nicely and [is] perfect for decanting.”$39.95 Wine Enthusiast
Best For Wines with Sediment: Vivid Decanter with Aerating Funnel Set
As wine ages, sediment can build up. Most of the time, it’s “either tartrate crystals (“wine diamonds”) or spent yeast, called lees, which are both natural byproducts,” wrote Jim Gordon for Wine Enthusiast Magazine. While not dangerous, sediment doesn’t make for pleasant drinking experience. After all, nothing ruins a glass of wine quite like a mouthful of gunk. If you’re concerned about sediment, opt for the Vivid Decanter with Aerating Funnel Set, which includes a screen that filters out anything unwanted.$74.95 Wine Enthusiast
Best for Entertaining: WE Art Series Wine Tower Decanter Set
If this decanter were sentient, it would look at the WE Art Series Spiral model above and say, “hold my beer… er, wine.” This flashy set includes a wooden stand, glass funnel, spiral aerator and lipped decanter. Yes, its design is elaborate, but serves a purpose: It decants as well as aerates. Plus, it provides a showstopping visual that we imagine will get tongues wagging.$129.95 Wine Enthusiast
Best for Sparkling Wine: WE Art Series Treble Decanter
Yes, it’s a controversial topic, but sometimes bubbles do benefit from decanting. Anna-Christina Cabrales, the tasting director at Wine Enthusiast Magazine, notes that although bubbles can overflow in some decanters, they won’t in this model because of its generous 15-inch height.
“I like using this in a pinch when a [sparkling] wine is tight and multiple people want to enjoy it right away,” says Cabrales. “Otherwise I’d refrain from decanting bubbles.” Don’t worry about this decanter being a one-trick pony, though—it’s also great for aerating still whites and reds.$99.95 Wine Enthusiast
Best for Outdoor Decanting: Double-Wall Wine Saver Decanter
Planning a wine-splashed soiree in your backyard? This model has thermal-insulated walls to maintain a beverage’s prime serving temperature. Pro tip: You can use it to serve batched cocktails as well. The Saver also comes with an air-tight stopper, so your drink will stay fresh and chilled for short-term storage. Take things to the next level with some matching glasses.$35.99-$45.99 Wine Enthusiast
The Flashiest: WE Art Series Diamond Iridescent Wine Decanter
“I love iridescent glass and this does not disappoint,” wrote one customer review. Indeed, the model’s striking color and diamond shape would make it a great-looking addition to any bar cart. Clocking in at just under 9 inches tall, it’s alsoa great option for those short on space (or if your bar cart tends to get a bit cluttered).$38.99 Wine Enthusiast
How We Picked These Decanters
We wanted to ensure that there was a decanter on this list for every kind of drinker. We scanned our best-selling models and narrowed the options down further by looking at customer reviews and expert recommendations.
Should You Decant Wine?
It depends. If you have wine with a lot of sediment, it’s worth decanting to remove it. (To avoid the problem in the first place, be sure to check out these storage tips to help mitigate sediment.) Otherwise, the best way to determine whether a wine might benefit from decanting is to taste it. If you’re the first sip tastes fine, you’re probably good to forgo decanting. However, if there any odd aromas or the wine seems “tight,” it would likely benefit from some time in the decanter.
How Long Should You Decant Wine?
“In order to enjoy the peak of the wine after you have opened a bottle, you have to [taste] its evolution from the moment you open it,” says Marc Hochar, whose family founded MusarYou need “to understand where it started and where it finished,” says Marc Hochar, whose family founded Lebanon’s Chateau Musar in 1930, told Wine Enthusiast. Once it’s in the decanter take a taste every so often to see how it is coming along.
Last Updated: June 12, 2023