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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Can an aerator serve the same role as a cork in an open bottle of wine?

—Dave, Terrell, Texas

Dear Dave,

I think you’re referring to plastic aerators that also work as pourers. You insert a rubber stopper into the neck of a bottle, and as the wine is poured through the long stem of a pouring spout, you can see it bubbling away, aerating. There are also hand-held aerators, and they work by pouring the wine through it into your glass.

For the record, I’m not a huge fan of these products. They claim to provide the “optimal” amount of air to a wine to make them most expressive, but in my experience the ideal amount of air varies from wine to wine. I’m happy simply swirling my glass, or using a decanter if the occasion calls for it. Adding another variable into the equation doesn’t help me. But some people love them.

By definition, an aerator serves the opposite function of a cork or any other closure—closures keep oxygen out, aeration exposes the wine to oxygen. Even though these particular aerators have a rubber stopper, they will not seal a bottle of wine and protect it from further exposure to oxygen, which will probably cause the wine to fade after a day or two. I’d recommend putting the cork back in, and storing the wine in the fridge to slow down the oxidation.

—Dr. Vinny

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