An elegant wine decanter placed in the middle of a well-appointed dinner table can elevate a special evening into an even grander event. As a bottle of wine is gently poured into a decanter, the wine is aerated—or blended—with air. This process helps to open up the complex flavors of the wine and can give it an entirely different taste than if it were poured straight into a glass. In addition, the use of a wine decanter helps settle any sediment that formed in the bottle over time, thus staving off any bitterness in the sip.
Finding the best wine decanter can be difficult due to the wide variety of options, especially if you’re just starting to learn about wine. In this guide you’ll find features to look for in a wine decanter, along with tips for buying and using a wine decanter. The top picks for some of the best wine decanters for your home bar will follow, whether you’re a budding or an experienced wine connoisseur.
- BEST OVERALL: Le Chateau Wine Decanter
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: SIMPLIFIED BY JESS USBOQO HBS Lead-Free Premium
- BEST UPGRADE: Menu Winebreather Carafe
- BEST AERATING: YouYah Iceberg Wine Decanter Set
- BEST WITH STOPPER: DRAGONN Luxury Wine Decanter
- BEST GLASS: Wine Decanter by HiCoup – 100% Lead-Free Crystal
- BEST WIDE NECK: BTaT – Decanter with Drying Stand
- BEST SET: Plaisir de la Cave Crystallin Wine Decanter
Features to Look for in the Best Wine Decanter
The best wine decanters do the job well and look gorgeous while doing it. As you begin your search for a wine decanter for your home bar, consider several essential features, including how often the decanter will see use, how much wine it will hold, how well it aerates the wine to let the delicious flavor bloom, and how easy it is to clean.
Wine decanters are available in a variety of sizes, but most of them are intended to hold a 750-milliliter bottle. This capacity is often suitable for individuals who simply want a glass or two of wine after a long day. This is also an ideal capacity thanks to the weight; this amount of wine in the decanter is easier to grip and pour than one with a larger capacity would be. However, several wine decanters on the market have the capacity for two 750-milliliter bottles or even more. They often have a shape that allows for better grip to counteract the weight.
Make sure to find a wine decanter with a greater surface area that allows the wine to spread out or pour-over. This helps the wine stay in contact with the air so it can take in more oxygen and liven up the flavors.
Wine decanters are made of glass or crystal. Lead-free crystal is most common, as it prevents lead from leaching out into the wine over time, especially if the wine is left in the container overnight. However, leaded crystal is sometimes desirable for individuals who want a heavier-weight wine decanter or simply one with a more unique look.
Glass is the most common material for wine decanters. Depending upon the thickness and the design, glass can be either quite durable or prone to breakage; recycled glass is the best option to resist breaks or cracks. Remember that the more delicate the design, the more likely the glass could break, especially during cleaning.
The aesthetics of a wine decanter are often unique, with several options turning into conversation pieces that deserve a spot in the center of the table. From delicate spirals to simple carafe shapes, the design of a wine decanter can be wildly imaginative or beautifully simple. Just as developing certain tastes for wine is very personal, the choice of decanter to hold that wine selection should be as well.
Look for an eye-catching design that is just as enjoyable as the wine itself, but keep in mind the practical points. How well does the design allow for aeration? How easy will it be to clean? Will it be simple to store when not in use? How often will it be used? Careful consideration should go into choosing the design that will suit a finely appointed table for years to come.
Ability to Aerate
The more contact the wine has with air, the better it will likely taste. The introduction of air into the wine opens up the flavors, bringing the drink to life. Therefore, look for a wine decanter that allows the liquid to spread out over a large area, thus giving the wine more contact with the air. Some wine decanters offer aeration systems that gently spray the wine into the decanter as it is poured, ensuring every drop touches the air. However, even a simple decanter can aerate well if the pour is slow and angled down the side of the decanter’s neck, slowly opening up the flavors as the vessel fills.
Tips for Buying and Using the Best Wine Decanter
The design of a wine decanter should appeal to the senses. The aeration should be stellar. The ability to clean it well should be a given. Keep in mind that there are a few other tips to consider as well when choosing the best wine decanter for your home bar.
- If several people will be drinking the wine, a larger decanter might be a better option. Look for one that can hold a magnum bottle or two standard bottles of wine.
- Some wines need to decant for several hours, but some wine decanters reduce that time. Individuals who drink a lot of wine should consider how long a proper decanting will take.
- Before pouring the wine, allow it to stand upright for approximately 24 hours to allow any sediment to trickle to the bottom of the bottle. Then, pour slowly; the moment any sediment appears, stop the pour. Also, take care to watch closely and stop the pour if the wine becomes cloudy, as this indicates small bits of sediment have entered the decanter.
Our Top Picks
The top picks represent some of the best wine decanters on the market for your home bar in a variety of categories. In light of the abovementioned features to consider, their value can’t be understated.
This lead-free, handblown crystal wine decanter from Le Chateau features the attractive classic shape often seen in decanters: the long neck and the short, wide bottom that allows better aeration of the wine poured into it. The 32-ounce durable and functional vessel holds one 750-milliliter bottle of wine—the optimal amount to fill the decanter only to the widest point at 8.5 inches—thus resulting in maximum aeration. The slanted top helps prevent spills or drips and adds a bit of elegance to an already stylish piece.
This wine decanter is shorter than a typical bottle of wine, which means it can fit on most shelves without requiring a dedicated space that many decanters do. Though this decanter is dishwasher-safe, hand-washing is recommended to maintain its pristine nature.
Due to a unique hole in the middle, a slow pour into this wine decanter from SIMPLIFIED BY JESS spreads the wine around the inside of the vessel, resulting in fast aeration and flavorful wine. This “snail shape” also provides a better grip, making it easier to pour into waiting glasses without drips or spills. That secure grip is necessary; with a 40-ounce capacity, it is larger than most wine decanters on the market. This elegant option holds 1,200 milliliters—almost two bottles of wine—which is plenty to serve a small crowd around the table.
Made of handblown and lead-free premium-grade crystal glass, this wine decanter looks delicate but is more robust than it appears. Its affordable price makes it an investment that is likely to serve you well for years to come.
Most decanters require a slow pour into the open top. This wine decanter by Menu puts a unique spin on that traditional pour. Simply press the decanter onto the top of an open bottle of wine, flip over both the bottle and the decanter, and watch the wine pour into the decanter on its own. Pour into glasses directly from the decanter, or turn it back over to pour the now more flavorful wine back into the bottle. Made of elegant glass and holding 34 fluid ounces, this item is as attractive as it is functional. As an added bonus, it’s dishwasher safe. Given that the wine doesn’t spread out over the neck during the pour, some users might choose to decant more than once for better flavor; fortunately, the design of this vessel makes it easy to do so.
This unique wine decanter from NEW PACIFIC YOUYAH looks like it holds a mini iceberg in the bottom, making it a conversation piece at the table. The unusual shape also aids in aeration, as does the waterfall pouring design. Slowly pour a bottle into the stopper and watch the wine cascade down the sides of the vessel in an impressive show. This waterfall design and the iceberg shape mean good aeration is possible within a matter of minutes, not hours.
With a capacity of 1,400 milliliters, it holds almost two bottles of wine at a time, making it ideal for a larger dinner party or other gathering. The decanter itself is made from 100 percent high-quality lead-free crystal, while the stopper is constructed of food-grade stainless steel and silicone gel. A fine filter in the stopper provides the added benefit of removing sediment. A set of stainless-steel cleaning beads and a drying rack complete this relatively affordable set.
With an elegantly curved base and a long neck, this luxury wine decanter from DRAGONN gives wine a longer life with the addition of a round cork stopper. Designed so that a single 750-milliliter bottle reaches the widest diameter for best aeration, this handblown, 100 percent lead-free crystal decanter provides plenty of room for flavors to blossom. Additionally, the easy-pour, slanted spout helps prevent drips and spills, so not a single drop of wine goes to waste. Steel cleaning beads help ensure the decanter always looks its best. At 11 inches high and over 2 pounds, it’s a substantial piece that deserves a permanent spot at an elegant table.
This swan-style wine decanter from HiCoup Kitchenware is made of handblown, lead-free crystal glass. It’s completely transparent with an elegant curve. Pour the wine gently into the larger side, and let it breathe before pouring from the smaller spout into the wineglasses. With an 800-milliliter capacity, it’s ideal for one standard bottle of wine (or any other favorite beverage for a fancy breakfast or brunch). This light, well-balanced decanter is easy to hold and pour. Handle it gently, however—the style of the decanter makes it more delicate than most. Though it’s dishwasher safe, that could be a bit tricky due to its smaller, more delicate spout and lightweight nature, so hand-washing might be best to ensure you protect it for years to come.
Boasting an extra-large capacity of 1,800 milliliters, this wine decanter from Brew to a Tea easily holds two standard bottles of wine with room to spare, which also means it aerates a single bottle at an impressive speed. Made from 100 percent lead-free crystal glass, the wide neck of the decanter allows for easy pouring. Tilt it just a bit and pour the wine down the side, thus allowing more contact with air for faster blooming of the complex flavors. Additionally, the ball-shaped cork stopper that seals the wide mouth offers a unique look while keeping out dust, bugs, and anything else that might inhibit the taste of the wine.
The set includes a drying stand, stainless steel cleaning beads, and a cleaning rope to help ensure the elegant look stays crystal clear with no stains, even after years of use.
Looking for a wine decanter that also provides a handful of extras for your next event? This European-made wine decanter from Plaisir de la Cave includes a ball-shaped cork stopper crafted from materials in the Portuguese forests, 300 German stainless steel cleaning beads, a cork mat to protect the bottom of the decanter, and five cork coasters for your accompanying wineglasses. The decanter features an elegant, classic shape with a wide bottom and long neck for maximum aeration.
Made of lead-free Carpathian mountain crystal glass, it boasts a heavier and brighter look than most decanters; the glass gives off a rainbow hue when light interacts with the surface, making this item even more of a conversation piece. It’s dishwasher safe; though, of course, hand-cleaning is always ideal for maintaining the decanter’s look and longevity.
FAQs About Wine Decanters
Choosing the best wine decanter requires considering the several features reviewed in this guide. However, even upon reading the reviews, you might have lingering questions about wine decanters. Check out some of the most frequently asked questions about wine decanters and their corresponding answers.
Q. How do you use a wine decanter?
Gently pour a bottle of wine into the opening of the decanter, allowing it to flow down the side of the decanter into the base. Let the wine breathe until the flavors have opened up and the wine has mellowed a bit, often for several hours.
Q. Does wine go bad in a decanter?
Though wine won’t go bad in a decanter, it can lose some of its delicious flavor quality. Use a stopper or cover on the decanter to keep the wine fresh if it isn’t consumed in an evening.
Q. What wine needs to be decanted?
Decanters are typically intended for red wine, as it requires aeration for proper flavor. However, white wine or port wines might sometimes benefit from decanting as well.
Q. Is a wine decanter worth it?
For the person who drinks wine on a regular basis, a wine decanter will reveal the complexity of the wine and provide a more enjoyable drinking experience.