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What Does Aeration Do to Wine?

What Does Aeration Do to Wine?

When most people begin their first foray into the world of premium wines, one of the first topics they explore is wine aeration. The process of aeration is commonly used to enhance the flavor of wine, and it can be accomplished in a number of ways.

Why Aerate?

An all white wine rack filled with bottles of red wine

When wine is stored in a bottle, it has minimal exposure and contact with oxygen. When the bottle is uncorked and the wine is poured, the wine is exposed to air and is thereby subject to oxidation and evaporation. Both of these processes, which are the result of contact with the air, or aeration, can alter compounds in and enhance the flavor of the wine. This is because undesirable compounds such as ethanol and sulfates tend to evaporate quickly, leaving a more pleasant and truer flavor.


Proper aeration does take some knowledge, as aerating for too long can end poorly, resulting in a dull, flat wine. For any wine, there is a certain point at which the benefits of aeration peak and the wine begins to deteriorate in flavor. While wines with higher concentrations and densities may take longer to aerate, more fragile or aged wines may fully peak within only a matter of minutes.

How to Properly Aerate Wine

Wine aeration is a somewhat tricky craft, but there are multiple ways to do it properly. In fact, one method is as simple as pouring a glass and allowing the wine to sit for 15-20 minutes. Another straightforward aeration solution is to use a decanter, which is a glass container specifically shaped to maximize wine’s contact with air by increasing its surface area. Wine can also be instantly aerated with gadgets created for the exact purpose. Mechanical aerators force air throughout the wine quickly, which can aerate an entire bottle in a flash. However, not all wines benefit from aeration, and generally, white wines and rosé wines do not need aeration at all.

Aerating wine can enhance its natural flavors, but it’s equally important to ensure that the wine is stored properly. For more information about wine storage, read about the benefits of the storage system offered by Collection 55 Cellars or view our rates online.

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