ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

I would love your take on "hyperdecanting," or decanting your wine in a blender. Decanting any wine this violently seems to fly in the face of common sense. Please give us your thoughts.

—Frank K., Vancouver, British Columbia

Dear Frank,

Yes, I’ve seen some buzz about Modernist Cuisine author Nathan Myhrvold's assertion that a blender is a better, faster tool for aerating wine than a decanter, and that 30 seconds at high speed does a better job. I can open the bottle with a chainsaw faster than with a corkscrew too, but that doesn't make it the better tool.

Over the years, I’ve seen countless devices that purport the use of crystals, magnets, glass straws or special metal stirrers and the like to help age or aerate a wine. I understand the desire for experimentation, and I relate to the spirit that we need to conquer science to make it work faster or more in our favor. I also get that wine has an air of mystique to it, and that means that people are either trying to play into that or debunk it.

But to me, it’s really quite simple. Open a wine and pour yourself a glass. If it seems like it needs some more air, you can decant it, or just enjoy watching it evolve in your glass. Will putting a wine in a blender aerate it? Absolutely. Faster? Sure. Better? I’m not so certain. It won’t make a bad wine magically good, and a very delicate older wine might have only a brief period—a matter of minutes—when the wine is in full bloom, as opposed to a younger wine, which could bloom for hours. Hyperdecanting could miss that magic moment, just as decanting it too soon would.

—Dr. Vinny


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