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,

What are the advantages or disadvantages of using a Vinturi aerator or similar product when decanting? Do you feel that the old way is still best?

—Will G., Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Dear Will,

I’m still a fuddy-duddy about wine gadgets, but some of my friends really like using their aerators and recommend them.

From what I can tell, an aerator is a pretty good alternative to a decanter when it comes to young wines that will actually benefit from aeration. Putting a wine in an aerator will do just that—aerate it—and possibly faster and more aggressively than by just pouring the wine into a decanter and/or swirling it around in your glass. As one of my friends points out, it also eliminates the need to clean the decanter afterwards. I can appreciate that.

For me, appreciating wine doesn’t involve gadgets or needing to do things faster, it’s about sitting back and enjoying a wine as it evolves in my glass. I wouldn’t want anyone to miss that opportunity, or that enjoyment.

So, if you feel your wine enjoyment is missing faster, more aggressive aeration, then you might want to look into an aerator or play around more with a decanter. A word of caution about aerators and decanters: they will not make a bad wine magically turn good, no matter how much you want them to. And older, more delicate wines will fade much faster than younger, more robust examples.

—Dr. Vinny


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