Why use a candle when decanting wine?

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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Using a candle with decanting is a romantic way to make sure you’re doing the decanting process correctly. A candle simply helps you identify the sediments that flow up the neck of the wine bottle and into your precious decanted wine. Although it’s one of many ways to assist you in the decanting process, it surely is a romantic custom for wine consumers.

How do you decant wine with a candle?

The process is simple. Before beginning your decanting process, simply light a candle not too far and not too close to your workspace. Then, use the candle’s open flame to illuminate the dark glass of the neck of the wine bottle. As you slowly pour your wine into the decanter, keep an eye out for any sediments that creep up through the neck bottle with the flow of the wine. 

Before the sediments reach the top of the bottle and flow into your decanted wine, simply stop the decanting process. Set the bottle down and wait for the sediments to settle and return to the bottom of the bottle. Then continue the decanting process. Use the candle to identify the sediments that will turn your decanted wine into un-decanted wine.

A wine decanter - Why use a candle when decanting wine?

Where should you light the candle for decanting the wine?

Light the candle, and place it behind your immediate workstation. Keep it far enough to not burn yourself or heat your wine with the flame. But keep it close enough to use the open flame to see through the dark glass of the wine bottle to spot any sediments. 

However, if you are not comfortable with a candle, there are other alternatives you can make use of to ensure a sediment-free decanted wine.

  • Cheesecloth. It’s common to use a cheesecloth to separate the sediments from the wine. Simply secure your cheesecloth over your decanting vessel of choice. Then simply pour the wine over the cheesecloth and into the vessel. The cheesecloth will act as a strainer, keeping larger pieces of sediments from falling into the wine.
  • The color white. Completing your decanting process over any white surface will help create a clear workspace. Counters, tables, and napkins work really well for this. This will improve visibility through the bottle to watch for any extra sediments that come up the neck of the bottle with the flow of the wine. 
  • Flashlights. Any light you can create from flashlights or other sources can act as a light for spotting sediments. There are surely plenty of different alternatives to explore. It’s all about finding the best one for you based on what you have available where you are serving the wine. 

Does decanting with a candle really work?

Yes, it does indeed prove to help the visibility of the wine bottle. However, this can vary on a great variety of factors that might prevent this method from helping at all. These factors are mostly based on your environment and your surroundings.

The candle method will be more difficult if you’re in a well-lit area. A dark room helps the candle’s flame be more useful in spotting the sediment’s rise. Dimmed rooms also make for a better romantic setting. If your decanting workspace is cluttered, it could pose a fire hazard when lighting an open flame. Always ensure a clean, clutter-free space before lighting any candles that create an open flame.

Are certain candles better than others?

Surely there is one factor to consider when choosing a candle for decanting. Your average wick should do just fine. However, larger, longer wood-based wicks will provide a larger flame. This large flame will ultimately provide you with more light assisting in the process. Yet, any standard candle will assist in the process. 

Any will do the trick, whether it be White Barn Cedar or your classic Yankie Apple Pie candle. Although, it might be fun to pair your candle with your wine. Some candle outlets have specific wine-scented candles. Rose, Champagne, Classic Red Wine. It might pair for an interesting conversation during serving time.


Using a candle in your decanting process will assist in spotting sediments that rise to the top of the bottle during your pouring process. Candles do indeed assist in decanting. It’s not a myth spread down the grapevine. All candles will typically pose for the same purpose, one not being better than any other. Just remember to take fire safety seriously when lighting an open flame. No one wants their house burning to the ground over your favorite bottle of red. Keep in mind that there are also many other alternatives to using candles for visibility. Just get creative!