Decanting Wines: A Primer

As a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, you’ll receive regular shipments of wines from the Paso Robles AVA and decanting a bottle of wine can elevate your tasting experience. How and why wine is decanted can seem a mysterious event to those just discovering the world of wine, and even wizened connoisseurs may not do it often enough.

Decanting a bottle of wine has two main purposes. The first is to filter out any sediment that could affect the wine visually and impair its enjoyment, and the second is to allow the wine to breathe—or open up its nose and release its aromas. And while decanting may look intimidating and complex, it’s really quite easy.

Here are some tips:
  • If you're planning on drinking a bottle from an older vintage, it’s a good idea to allow the bottle to remain upright for 24 hours. This will cause the sediment to sink to the bottom and will make it easier to separate it from the wine when you pour it into a decanter.
  • Select a decanter or vessel that will hold the contents of the bottle and make sure it’s clean and free from of any detergents or other residues that would interfere with the taste of the wine.
  • Slowly pour the wine into the decanter and if you’re decanting an older vintage, take extra care to keep the sediment in the bottom of the bottle and not transfer it into the decanter.
  • Allow the wine to sit for 10-15 minutes so that it can open up before serving--but not for much longer, since exposing the wine to oxygen can cause oxidation.

Wine need not be old or expensive to benefit from decanting—or even red, for that matter. Since decanting a wine aerates it, the process can enliven any wine and burn off any sulphur dioxide that may be present.