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How to Decant a Bottle Of Wine

Why do wine lovers pour wine from one container (the bottle) into another container (the decanter) into yet another container (your glass)? Basically, it helps remove sediment and allows the wine to breathe. And it makes for a great show.


  • Step 1: Stand wine up Stand the bottle of wine straight up for 24 hours prior to opening it. This allows any sediment to settle to the bottom. If you don't have 24 hours, a few hours will do.
  • TIP: In general, white wines don't need to be decanted—letting them breathe doesn't really deepen their flavors the way it does for red wines.
  • Step 2: Open & prepare Open the bottle and prepare to pour by gripping the bottle in one hand, and your decanter in the other.
  • TIP: The ideal decanter is a glass carafe with a wide, funnel-like mouth and a broad, shallow base that allows the wine to spread out, exposing a wide surface area to the air.
  • Step 3: Pour wine slowly Tip the decanter to the side slightly, and pour the wine slowly and steadily into it, taking care to stop pouring if you see any sediment on its way out.
  • Step 4: Swirl wine Swirl the wine around in the decanter a few times to help oxygenate the wine.
  • Step 5: Let wine sit Let the wine sit for 30 to 45 minutes before serving, tasting every so often if you want to experience the wine's changing flavors.
  • FACT: Sediment is actually solid bits of color pigments and tannins—grape skins, stems and seeds—which have bonded together over time.

You Will Need

  • A bottle of wine (usually red)
  • A 1-day head start
  • A corkscrew or waiter's pull
  • A glass decanter

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