Coravin Model Three Wine Preservation System pouring red wine with the Aerator accessory attached

Wine 101

Why Aerate Wine and What Does a Wine Aerator Do?

March 15, 2021

Written By Coravin

To aerate means to introduce air into a material. In the wine would, aerating wine means exposing the wine to air in order to trigger oxidation and evaporation. 

Science behind aeration

We see these two chemical reactions – oxidation and evaporation – in other areas of our lives. For example, exposing the flesh of an apple or pear to the air starts the oxidation process and makes the fruit’s flesh turn brown. Evaporation happens when a liquid turns into a vapor like the pot of boiling water on the stove giving off steam or your clothes drying as they hang.

The difference between a decanter and aerator

Both a decanter and aerator serve the same purpose – to let the wine “breathe.” Decanting does this by expanding the surface area of the wine to increase its contact with the air and allowing those more favorable aromas and flavors to develop as less favorable compounds evaporate. To decant a bottle of wine, it is poured into a carafe or decanter which usually has a wider base than the bottle itself.

IMG Aerator push-on-model-three-green-shirt

Benefits of aerating wine

We’ve hit on some of the benefits of aerating your wine either with a decanter or aerator and in this section we’ll focus on the aerator. 

  • Evaporate unfavorable compounds: Aerating your wine will help accelerate the evaporation of less favorable sulfites and ethanol compounds of wine. 

  • Boost flavors: Aerating boosts your wine’s more favorable tasting and nose notes by removing those less favorable ones we mentioned above. So, if you’re eager to taste the amazing black cherry and cedar flavors of a bold Cabernet Sauvignon, skip the 1-hour decant and pour using your Coravin Aerator.

  • Reach peak tasting sooner: Aerating a wine allows it to come to its peak faster. But, don’t let your glass linger too long. Aerating can also lead to your wine flattening out sooner and you’ll lose that enhanced flavor you set out to achieve. If you’re using a Coravin Aerator, no need to worry about this. Pour a small amount at a time to enjoy an amazing full-bodied Syrah or Mourvèdre. 

Which wines benefit from aeration? 

Not every wine needs to be aerated. For example, young reds with a heavy tannin base or a more complex, bold structure benefit from decanting over aerating so that their complexity and flavor profile remain intact. Same goes for older, more fragile wines (especially ones with sediment). Just remember, the flavors in some older wines are more likely to fade in minutes, not hours. 

You also don’t need to decant or aerate a cheaper red wine, or lighter bodied red (e.g. Pinot Noir, Chianti) because they are meant for quicker consumption.

So, what should you aerate? These varieties benefit from a rapid aeration or hour-long decant:

  • Petite Sirah

  • Merlot

  • Shiraz

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Malbec

  • Syrah

  • Bordeaux

  • Nebbiolo

What are the benefits of the Coravin Aerator?

For wines that need to ”breathe,” using the Coravin System together with the Coravin Aerator instantaneously aerates your wine, equivalent to decanting for 60-90 minutes. The aerator works on all Coravin Timeless needle systems – Model Three, Model Five, Model Six, and Model Eleven. To use the aerator on your system, simply push the aerator on to the spout of the system. Ensure it is tightly attached and then pour as you normally would.

A close-up of a woman pouring red wine into a glass using a Coravin Wine Preservation System and Coravin Aerator.

How to Use the Timeless Aerator

We can’t wait to see what you pour with your Coravin Aerator. Share with us on social, @coravin.