Decanters have been used for as long as people have been drinking wine. Basically they are vessels that help in the aeration and service of wine. Originally they were made from clay but it was the Ancient Romans that began crafting them from glass. Another major function of the decanter is to separate the sediment from the liquid so that the sediment is left in the bottle, particularly in older wines. But why does wine need to aerate? Most wines when exposed to air will "open up" allowing more complex aromas and flavors to emanate from the wine. Some wines may not need much air and may not appear much different after decanting. Others will smell and taste like completely different wines after sitting in the decanter for even 10-15 minutes. Lastly, decanters can also make a wonderful focal point for your dining room or bar as many wine lovers like to showcase them in their home, restaurant or wine shop.