How To Use A Wine Decanter?

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

Reader Disclosure Disclosure: We may earn commissions for purchases made through links on our site. Learn more on our about us page.

After selecting your wine of choice, it’s important to sit your bottle upright. It should be upright for at least an hour or two to allow any loose sediments to settle at the bottom of the bottle. Next, assemble your decanting station and prepare your decanter by washing it – there are a plethora of methods you can use, and some recommend white vinegar.

Once you’re prepared to begin your decanting process, open your wine. Very slowly, pour your wine into the decanter and keep an eye on the neck of the bottle. If there’s any sediment that flows to the neck of the bottle, stop pouring before they leave the wine bottle. Set the bottle down and allow the sediments to settle once again at the bottom of the bottle. Continue the process until you reach the amount of wine you’re interested in serving or until the bottle is empty.

Pouring red wine into a bottle from a wine decanter - How To Use A Wine Decanter?

How long do you leave wine in a decanter?

If you are planning to store the wine in the decanter – this will greatly depend on various things, such as how old the wine is. Older wines are more delicate and aerate more rapidly than younger wines. Therefore, younger wines should be enjoyed within two to three days of being stored in the decanter. At the same time, older wines are better to be enjoyed within the same day or a few hours. 

If you are simply leaving the wine in the decanter before serving, it’s recommended to allow the wine at least 30 minutes to breathe in the decanter before a meal. Often, people will begin their meal, and during the middle of the cooking process, they will decant the wine to prepare it in time for the meal. 

How do you pour wine into a decanter?

Tip the neck of the wine bottle into the decanter, keeping the base of the bottle below a 45-degree angle. Complete this step slowly because if you were to do it too fast, all of the wine would simply dump into the decanter, which is not the goal we want to achieve. Instead, the goal of decanting is to separate the wine from the sediments that have built up in the bottle over time. 

While you pour your wine, closely examine the neck of the bottle. Watch for any sediments that might flow up the neck of the bottle and into your precious decanted wine. If you spot some sediments flowing up the neck of the bottle, it’s ok. Don’tHowever, don’t worry if you accidentally allowed some sediments to fall into your freshly decanted wine. There’s always a ‘double decanting’ process you can complete to ensure your wine is sediment-free.

How do you pour wine from a decanter?

Decanter’s come in different shapes and sizes. However, the process in which you pour the wine from the decanter remains the same for all varieties of vessels. Simply hold your decanter, and tilt the wine towards the vessel’s exit and into your serving glass. You may complete this process at the speed you wish. However, there is one important factor to consider. Warmth can change the taste of the wine!

It’s important to use towels or fabric napkins when holding your decanter and serving your wine. The warmth of your hands on the glass can warm the wine directly, which will ultimately change the notes of your wine. Cover the surface of your hands with the fabric napkin or towels that you will be using to hold the decanter. A fun fact: This is why wine glasses have stems that you hold when consuming your wine. The stem acts as a handle that doesn’t directly touch the contents inside. It prevents the warmth of your hands from warming the wine too quickly. 

Should you put the lid on or leave the lid off the decanter?

When determining when to leave the lid on or off, there are two factors to consider. First, if your plans are the serve the wine, the ‘lid’ or the ‘stopper’ doesn’t have to be on the decanter. Another great benefit of a decanter is that it helps the wine breathe inside the decanter. This opens up a variety of benefits when enjoying your wine. However, maybe you haven’t finished the wine in the decanter and plan on storing it in the decanter. If that’s the case, then it is ideal for using the lid to slow the breathing process of the wine. 

When purchasing a decanter or searching for a new one, a very beneficial factor in a decanter is paying attention to the type of lid that’s on the decanter. Decanters are most useful with lids that act as an airtight seal. This will allow the spirits inside to last as if they would in the original wine bottle. Decanters without airtight lids might be useful, but they won’t help preserve your wine for as long as you want. 

When should wine be decanted?

Wine should be decanted roughly 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve and consume. This allows the wine to breathe in the decanter, giving your wine benefits such as improving aromas and flavors. It’s also important to note then when choosing a wine to decant. It’s best to choose a wine that will benefit the most from decanting. 

I mean that red wines will often benefit more from the decanting process – but not just any red wine. Older wines – older than four years – are more susceptible to sediment buildup. Therefore, older wines will benefit more than younger wines. On the other hand, younger wines are curated for quick and easy consumption and will not benefit from decanting. Examples of these wines can be found at your local grocery store rather than a wine outlet itself.


Using a decanter is as simple as pouring yourself a glass – with few exceptions. Always pour your wine into your decanter, slowly watching for any loose sediments that might fall into the wine. If storing wine in your decanter, consider that older wines will decay faster than younger wines. Consume the older wines faster, for the younger wines can be stored in the decanter with an airtight lid for up to three days. Older red wines are most likely to benefit from a decanting process than any other wine.