Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
I am curious about the protocol for decanting large-format bottles of wine. For a double-magnum or larger bottle, should you use multiple decanters? Is it OK to use one decanter and refill it after the wine breathes and is poured into glasses?
—Jeffe L., Columbus, Ohio
I recommend that you don't interrupt the decanting process; otherwise you'll stir up the sediment, defeating the purpose. For some expert advice, I checked with Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein. This is what Evan had to say:
"When decanting a large-format bottle, one should be prepared in advance with several decanters, the number depending on both the size of the decanters (single-bottle vs. magnum decanters) and, of course, on the size of the bottle being decanted. The process of decanting should be continuous. Once you start, don't stop until you are finished, as the wine's sediment will invariably be agitated. You'll likely need the help of someone to keep changing/replacing decanters for you. If it's a large bottle (larger than a jeroboam), you'll probably need a second helper to assist you in holding the bottle steady while the decantation is taking place."