Wine is a subject that can be quite complex. Let’s be honest, we all enjoy a nice glass of wine with – or after – a meal, and we’re lucky these days that even the local supermarket will stock a good selection of thoroughly decent reds, whites and roses at affordable prices. Most of use will simply pour a glass of wine straight from the bottle, with no thought about decanting. But what’s all this about wine aerators? Do you need one, and will it actually make a difference?
There’s a lot of snobbery about wine, but there really shouldn’t be: it’s one of the most popular drinks in the world, and in some places perfectly decent wine is very cheap indeed. There’s also a lot of science behind wine, how long to keep it and how to drink it, and some of it really does make a difference. For example, many people decant their wine into a decanter: this is an open bottle in which the wine is left for a couple of hours. What does this do to the wine?
Quite simply, it exposes the wine – which has been in a sealed bottle – to oxygen, and when oxygen reacts with some of the compounds in wine, it refines the taste. You could say that a wine that has been decanted for a couple of hours will taste a lot smoother – it will be less acidic – and you will notice the difference if you compare like for like.
Bear in mind, also, that when we are talking about decanting and aerating wines, we are talking mainly about red wine: many people will tell you that there is no need to decant a white wine, but there is no harm at all in doing so. What, then, is the difference between a decanter and a wine aeration device? Let’s have a closer look, before we go on to look in detail at 10 of the best on the market.
How a Wine Aerator Works
A wine aerator is a simple device that, when it is used as instructed, accelerates the process of exposing the wine to the oxygen in the air. Whereas a wine would normally rest in a decanter for a couple or more hours, an aerator cuts this back to mere minutes. The aerator attaches to the bottle – there are many different types but this is generally the case – and you pour the wine through.
Some people pour straight into the glass, others will pour the bottle through the aerator into a decanter, and leave it for a few minutes. What you get is wine that has been suitably oxidised – exposed to the air – and that will not only taste better, but the exposure to oxygen also helps enhance the aromas that come as part of drinking wine.
So, they are simple, effective and a useful device to have around if you are a wine drinker. Be aware that there is plenty of information regards which wines need aerating and which don’t. This is part of wine culture, and it’s worth remembering that what is right for one person may not be right for you, so make your own mind up and you’ll soon get a taste for the wines that benefit from an aerator.
Now that you know what they are all about, let’s see if we can find the best wine aerator for you among the 10 we have chosen to talk about.
The Top 10
1. Hotder Wine Aerator with Base
Let’s start with a bit of advice: it’s coming up to Christmas, you’re struggling for gifts, and then you remember that wine love you want to buy a present for – this wine aerator would make a great gift for someone, at a very reasonable price. It’s nicely packaged and comes with a neat base to stand it on when not in use, and at under a tenner you really can’t go wrong.
In truth, there’s not a lot to say about aerators: this one follows the standard design of being a reservoir that you pour the wine into. The funnel then narrows into a very thin outlet, slowing the pour down, which gives plenty of time to get exposed to the air. Pour straight into the glass or into a decanter, it’s up to you. It also includes a washable filter for catching sediment, and we found that customers almost universally liked this one. The only complaints were about suspect quality, but at the price we can see nothing wrong.
2. Smaier Wine Carafe
So, you want to impress your friends when you hold a dinner party, especially with your knowledge and prowess of wine! Well, don’t be too smart as nobody likes that! What you can do, however, is invest in this very stylish, very ornate and quite wonderful wine carafe, shaped in the form of a U-shape, although we prefer to describe it as ‘swan-like’. It’s quite beautiful, and made from high quality hand-blown lead-free glass.
You simply pour the bottle into the wider opening and it will hold a standard sized bottle of wine, with the air able to get to it from two apertures. To pour, simply pick it up and gently pour from the thinner aperture. This one is not cheap – you’ll get change from £25 – and while we were researching we found many customers who love it, but also quite a few who complain that the glass feels like plastic, is cloudy, and is not the quality they were expecting for the price.
3. Plaisir de la Cave 3-in-1 Steel Funnel
This is a rather stylish, modern and minimalist take on the wine aerator, and one that is sensibly priced – it would also make a great Christmas gift for the wine lover on your gift list. This one takes the form of a nice, steel funnel, which is shaped like a goblet with a thin tube from which the wine decants. At the base of the funnel are small holes for more air intake.
Does it work? We found plenty of buyers who were very happy indeed with this device, and also with the fact that you simply rinse it after use. It also comes with a fine-mesh sieve for catching any sediment that might pass through. In fact, it’s a rare item in that there are no actual complaints about this one, so it’s certainly worth looking at in more detail.
4. Vacu Vin Wine Saver Concerto
This is an interesting product that may well be of interest to wine lovers, but it’s not really an aerator as such. Nevertheless, it’s worth putting on this list as it serves a purpose, is very popular, and has some very positive reviews. It’s akin to a flask, in that you pour your wine into it, put the seal top on, and use a pump to achieve a vacuum. The idea is that it will preserve your wine ‘for days’. Ideal, then, for when you’re on your own and only have one glass from full bottle!
There are some great reviews of this product that allude to it being able to perform as it claims – and also that it keeps sparkling wine sparkling for a good amount of time – but beware; many buyers bought this seeing four stoppers on the pictures, and on the box, but found there were only two included. At less than £10 we’re not sure this is a real problem.
5. BarCraft Luxury Hand Made Decanter
In our introduction, we talked about the difference between aerators and decanters: they both do the same thing – expose the wine to the air for oxidisation and greater flavour and aroma – but a decanter needs more time. Many wine-lovers swear by the decanter method and will have a bottle on the go long before guests arrive, and this rather attractive example is one that they may be interested in.
It’s a nice, stylish curved decanter with a wide base and a tapered top. It’s hand-made, the tapered neck designed for easy pouring and the low, wide base area takes a full bottle with a wide surface area exposed to the air. We found a large number of buyers who are very happy with it – it is, after all, a very elegant item to have on your dinner table – while others commented that the glass has imperfections, and it’s not a premium item. At the price, we think it a nice decanter if that’s what you’re looking for.
6. Cheer Moda Wine Aerator
We were impressed, when we started investigating wine aerators, with the different ways in which designers have approached a simple job. This very neat, rather stylish but quite expensive device is a combined wine aerator and pourer, that is surprisingly compact and – according to customers – very effective. Is the best red wine aerator UK customers can buy?
We’re not sure it deserves that, but when you consider how simple it is to use, it might come close. It simply fits into the mouth of the bottle and, thanks to clever design, effectively aerates the wine as it passes through the pourer. It is made from quality steel and other materials, is easy to wash, and fits a variety of bottle sizes. We like it, despite the price, and it’s well worth checking out.
7. CorkCicle Air Chiller and Aerator
Some of the innovative methods of aerating wine – let alone chilling wine, as this device also claims to do – are somewhat pleasing to learn about. This is one of them! It approaches the problem from a different angle to all the others on here, in that you put it inside your bottle of wine – be it red, white or rose. The lower part of the device is a tube that is filled with a thermal gel. This keeps the wine at a lower temperature.
The upper part is the cork section, through which the wine is poured, becoming suitably aerated as it is. This is all very clever and it is a popular, inventive item that has a number of satisfied fans. However, we will say that there are complaints of it leaking, of it not keeping the wine cool, and of poor quality, and it’s also quite expensive.
8. Barvivo Wine Aerator and Saver with Pump
This is a clever package that will certainly be high on the Christmas gift list of ideas – especially at a remarkable price that is little over £15 – and one that combines a vacuum wine saver, as we have seen before, with an aerator attachment. The idea is you decant your wine into the save – a rather nice metal cylinder – and attach the sealing cap, and you can then attach the wine aerator to that, so you have a nice, all-in-one device.
It claims to keep wine fresh for 14-days – we’re not sure we’d trust that, but customers say it keeps it fresh for quite a few – and it’s a nicely made product that comes in a good-looking gift box. If there is one complaint that recurs – although not often we should say, it’s that it may leak, and some others have mentioned inconsistent results.
9. Soiree Home Classic Wine Aerator
This is a very nice-looking wine aerator that is designed to ‘swirl’ the wine around as it pours, thus giving it greater exposure to the air. That’s a nice touch when oxidisation is the aim of the game. It follows the design of having a large central bowl with a slim exit for the wine, and has a 5-gasket attachment so should fit all sizes of wine bottle. It also comes with a stand for drying when it’s been rinsed, and is made from a blend of glass and borosilicate for strength.
This one also comes with a rather nice gift box packaging, so is certainly one for the Christmas gifts list, and while not the cheapest on this list it is a quality item. Indeed, large numbers of customers rate this a must-have aerator, while the very few poor reviews say it doesn’t work; this goes against the general view and we reckon it’s worth a second look.
10. Damai Electric Wine Aerator
Our final entry on the list of the best wine aerator pourer UK devices is this one, and it’s unique among the 10 in that it is electrically powered. This one includes an aerator, a magnetic gizmo, and a ‘red light generator’, all of which are designed to instantly oxidise your wine at the touch of a button. It’s also a dispenser, so you simply place your glass under it, press go, and you have a glass of wine.
It sits on top of the bottle and is available in nice colours, and it is rechargeable via a USB port. It comes with a good few very satisfactory customer comments, and all that is well and good, but we just can’t help feeling it’s something of a gimmick. What does the red light generator do, for example, and is there really a need for an electric wine pourer? It nevertheless does the job, and if you to pay the price – it’s the most expensive one here – then that’s up to you.
That’s our choice of 10 wine aerators – or decanters in some cases – for you to get to grips with, but which is the right one for you? We would normally list a selection of important factors to consider at this point, but – apart from price, which doesn’t vary considerably across our selections – there’s really only a couple of things to remember.
The first is this: do you want a traditional decanter, or an aerator? There are a few very nice examples of the former on this list, but most are aerators, those which are designed to do the job faster. Also, if the idea of a wine saver interests you – they are designed to keep the wine fresh longer than if you leave it in an opened bottle – there are couple on here that may also be of interest to you.
So, is there one that stands out, that we would choose over the rest? In fact there is, so let’s wrap this up.
We have been very impressed with the standard of quality, as well as the innovative ideas, we came across when investigating wine aerators, but then wine buffs are a difficult bunch to please! We should say that all of the above do the job that they are designed to do – some perhaps a little better than others – but for the sake of this conclusion we have decided to leave those that are pure decanters out of the running. If you do want a decanter, either of those on our list are attractive and effective designs.
Our choice of wine aerator would be the Cheer Moda Wine Aerator. We chose this one as while it is very simple, it is also clever in its design, compact, comes in a lovely box – so makes a great gift – and is very much favoured by those who have bought it, with almost no complaints. It’s a top quality item that does the job, and while it’s among the more expensive, it’s worth the few pounds more.
There you have it! 10 wine aerators for you to check out and choose from, so buy yourself one – and perhaps more as Christmas gifts – and enjoy superb tasting, aromatic wine like you’ve never tasted before.