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Ending the day with a glass of wine is a ritual that’s found its place not only in America but also around the world. After removing the cork or just twisting off the cap of the bottle, all that’s left is to pour the wine into a wine glass—or so many people think. One way to truly accentuate the taste of wine, red wine in particular, is to pour the wine through an aerator before pouring it into a glass to enjoy. Aerators allow the wine to breathe and open up quickly, and some even filter out particles like sulfites, which some people are sensitive to.
Most wine aerators are easy to maintain and pretty durable, considering how often they get used. They can come as an insert into a wine bottle, a carafe with an aeration top, and even as a device you put onto the top of a wine glass. I chatted with wine expert Michele Gargiulo, wine director of Fearless Restaurants Group, about the best wine aerators and how to pick the right one.
Then, I took some of the best aerators on the market and took them home to test myself. I looked at how durably each tool is constructed; how easy and comfortable each was to hold, set up, and use; how well it's designed (as well as how securely it fits around the mouth of the bottle); and how pouring non-aerated red wine through the aerator affects the flavors and aromas of the resulting wine.
Here, some of the best wine aerators to consider based on my findings.
Best Overall: Vinturi Red Wine Aerator
What We Love: Does not drip or leak excessively after use, dishwasher-safe, easy to store
What We Don't Love: May be hard for some people to hold the aerator steady with one hand and pour a full bottle of wine with the other through it
“Wine aerators are exceptionally good at helping your wine to open up," says Michele Gargiulo. This is especially true the older your wine is; it could have spent a few years tightly packed in the bottle, she adds.
This easy-to-use wine aerator is a great example of an aerator. The device is held above a wine glass as you pour the wine through the top of the aerator and it dispenses out of the bottom and into the bowl of the glass. While the wine is traveling through the aerator, it’s getting mixed with the perfect amount of air for the full flavor of the wine to come out. After testing this aerator out, I found the glass of non-aerated wine blander in taste compared to the aerated wine, which had a fuller, more rounded flavor.
I found it was easy and quick for almost anyone to use, for those moments when you really just need a glass of wine. My only qualm is that it was a bit challenging to pour into the device if the wine bottle is full or heavy, making it tricky to pour the wine through the device in one steady stream. In terms of aesthetics, the aerator is pleasing to look at, with clear walls and a slip-proof grip; the design is not one that's pretty enough to display, however.
The aerator was easy to clean; after running through a cycle in the dishwasher, there was no sticky wine residue, and the aerator was easy to store.
"With the Vinturi-aerated wine, you could pick up more of the flavor notes in the bottle of wine chosen."
Material: BPA-free acrylic | Dimensions: 4 x 6 x 6 inches | Weight: 7 ounces | Diswasher-Safe? Yes
Best Budget: Rabbit Super Aerator
What We Love: Easy to use for beginners, fits into most wine bottles
What We Don't Love: The aerator can leak where it meets the bottle if the wine is poured too quickly
“I like to use an aerator over a decanter, then decant the wine back into the bottle. This is effectively 'double-decanting' the wine, which allows for twice the amount of aeration,” says Gargiulo.
Now, this may sound intimidating to those who are new to aerating wine and don’t really know where to start. Thankfully, Rabbit's Super Aerator (and pourer) takes away the complication. This aerator fits on top of a standard wine bottle, and all you have to do is pour the wine like you typically would into the glass. The only caveat to this is that if the aerator is not on the bottle all the way it will leak.
In my testing, I found the spout is somewhat small, which allows the flow of wine to stay steady—helpful for avoiding messes—though it may take a few seconds longer to fill a glass. Taste-wise, I found the taste of the aerated wine a little underwhelming: Both that and the non-aerated wine tasted about the same after using this. It might be because the aerator only has one small hole for the wine to go through versus many small holes or perforations like other aerators.
However, the device is constructed well and fits on the top of a wine bottle with ease. It elongates the wine bottle, which makes it aesthetically pleasing; plus, the aerator is easy to hold and store when not in use because of how small it is.
"This on-bottle aerator is ideal for those looking for a starter aerator. All that needs to be done is to put the aerator in the bottle opening and pour."
Material: Plastic and stainless steel | Dimension: 0.9 x 1.1 x 5.2 inches | Weight: 4.8 ounces | Dishwasher-Safe? No
Best Electric: Aervana Original Original Electric Wine Aerator
What We Love: Wine is easily dispensed at the touch of a button, the aerator is easy to swap between bottles
What We Don't Love: Aerator nozzle may leak small amounts of wine after use, internal wiring may corrode over time due to the high acidity in wine
If you want wine in an instant without having to balance a bottle and an aerator in your hands, consider this electric wine aerator. At the top of the aerator is a small button that you push for the wine to be dispensed into a glass. This aerator is a bit challenging to set up because it has to be inserted into the bottle exactly right and runs on batteries, which can die quickly if the aerator is used a lot. I did like, however, that the wine came out in one touch and there was no need to aim the spout at the glass since the glade could fit right under the spout.
I was also pleased to notice that most of the wine sediment was left at the bottom of the bottle versus in my cup. Plus, my wine tasted richer and bolder, without the hassle of letting it sit out for a while in a carafe. The complex flavors of blackberry and cherry came out in the wine, which were virtually indistinguishable in the non-aerated wine.
The aerator runs on six AAA batteries, which are not included. Note that this makes the aerator a bit challenging to clean because it cannot be submerged in water—so make sure to read the included instructions carefully.
Have extra time to aerate your wine, or is your wine particularly stubborn (e.g., the newest vintage Napa Cabernets)? Here's what Gargiulo does: "I shake the decanter after it has been run through an aerator, before putting it back into the bottle. This introduces even more air and helps to soften the wine."
"This is nice for people who like to entertain but don't want to stand at the kitchen bar pouring bottles of wine all night."
Material: Stainless steel and plastic | Dimensions: 11.4 x 5.9 x 2.5 inches | Weight: 1.5 pounds | Dishwasher-Safe? No
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Best for Wine Lovers: Coravin Timeless Aerator
What We Love: Easily presses onto a Coravin system, pours wine at a steady rate so there’s no excess dripping
What We Don't Love: Only fits on a Coravin system
Those who already have a Coravin Wine Preservation System will want to try out the brand’s aerator (view the system at Amazon). The aerator, which is well constructed, fits easily right onto the spout of all Coravin systems and allows the proper amount of air to get into the wine while it’s being poured into the glass—without any dripping or leaking.
It also had black and silver details that make it nice to look at. The real star of any Coravin, however, is the actual preservation system and not the aerator, so the latter's aesthetics take a bit of a backseat.
The flavor of the wine that went through the aerator was much more pleasing and didn't have the harsh tannin that the non-aerated wine had. The flavor was also more well-rounded, and the aeration made it easier to pick out flavor notes.
I use a Coravin on most of my wines, so I loved using this product. It can stay attached to a Coravin system for the duration of a bottle of wine before needing to be cleaned and stored away. However, those without a Coravin system may want to look elsewhere for a wine aerator, because the upfront cost of a Coravin may be hard for some people to afford.
Materials: Stainless steel, plastic, silicone | Dimensions: 3.9 x 4.25 x 1.4 inches | Weight: 2.8 ounces | Dishwasher-Safe? No
Best with a Filter: Üllo Original Wine Purifier
What We Love: Easy to use since it rests on your glass, does not leak after wine has been poured through
What We Don't Love: May be too large or too small for some glasses
I love this combination filter and aerator because it’s easy to use and has a dual purpose. The aerator part of the device does the same thing as all of the other aerators on my list by making sure the wine is able to breathe and become more flavorful. The filter keeps out all of the particles that may cause headaches and hangovers after drinking a glass too many.
This wine purifier sits on top of a glass and all you have to do is pour your wine slowly through the top of the device—no holding the purifier required—and allow the wine to spiral through the device and into your wine glass. There were no leaks while pouring, but you will need to pause and wait a few moments between large pours to ensure all of the wine has gone through the aerator.
The flavor of the aerated wine was also infinitely better. I was able to pick up nuances in the wine, like a subtle caramel taste, that I wasn't able to in the non-aerated wine. Cleaning, however, was less fun: Because of the internal filter the wine goes through, I opted to clean this by hand, but it took a while to air dry and ensure that the inside area where the wine passes through was actually dry.
Overall, this is great for beginners or those who don't want to hold an aerator and a wine bottle in both hands.
Material: Plastic, silicone, and rubber | Dimensions: 4.25 x 5.75 inches | Weight: 1 pound | Dishwasher-Safe? Yes (top rack)
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Best Splurge: Rabbit Glass Wine Decanter and Wood Base
What We Love: Fits a whole bottle of wine, stand and carafe are beautiful to display even when not in use
What We Don't Love: The carafe is heavy and can be hard to use when full
Those looking for a statement piece to put in the middle of a dinner table should consider this decanter: I love the large glass carafe and the wooden stand that makes up this combination. The carafe is heavy, but beautiful to look at. It can be heavy once the wine is inside, so you may need two hands to pour wine out of the aerator and into a glass. Plus, the ash wood base keeps your wine off the table and makes for a stunning centerpiece.
This decanter has a gold insert that serves a dual purpose: When wine is poured into the decanter, the insert aerates the wine, and when it’s time to serve, the insert acts as a filter. Note that the gold aerator piece on top does fill up with wine quickly, so I advise you to either work in small pours or hold a small steady stream for the wine to go through without overflowing.
The aerated and filtered wine tasted much better than the non-aerated wine. The aerated wine didn't have the strong tannin that makes your mouth pucker. It also allowed the wine to show off more of its flavor without any sort of sediment because it was filtered.
The aerator was also easy to clean in hot soapy water. The gold filter section sat in the water for a while to ensure all of the wine was gone, and the carafe was easy to wash by hand and let air dry.
Overall, if you're looking for a wine aerator that's as beautiful as it is functional, this is it.
Material: Glass, stainless steel, and ash wood | Dimensions: 8 x 10.25 inches | Weight: 9.2 ounces | Dishwasher-Safe? No
The best overall wine aerator is the Vinturi Classic Wine Aerator (view at Williams Sonoma), which is a reliable model that can be used over and over again without the fear of breaking the aerator or overfilling a wine glass and making a mess. If you’re looking for a more economical wine aerator, go with the Rabbit Super Aerator (view at Amazon), which is inserted right into the top of a wine bottle. This model may also be easier to use since you can have one hand free to ensure your glass doesn’t move while pouring the wine out of the bottle with the aerator attachment.
What to Look for When Buying Wine Aerators
Type: If you drink a lot of red wine, look for an aerator that’s multipurpose as an aerator and filter.
Ease of Use: For the easiest use of an aerator, look for versions that fit right into the top of a wine bottle.
Design and Effectiveness: Look for designs that fit your lifestyle. If you want an aerator that can be stored easily, look for a smaller version. If you plan on displaying your aerator most of the time, buy one that has a stand and looks beautiful while empty.
Why should I use a wine aerator?
“There are sometimes aromas that leave the glass quickly in these wines, and they are not always pleasant. An example of this is when a wine is reductive. This is caused in the wine-making process by limited exposure to air. Too little air and volatile sulfur compounds may not be able to escape the bottle. Burnt matches or rotten eggs are the smells associated with this flaw. This smell will blow off when it is aerated, and the wine might be beautiful once it has had some time in contact with the air,” says Michele Gargiulo, wine director of Fearless Restaurants.
What is the difference between a wine aerator and wine decanter?
Aerators and decanters are often used interchangeably, but Gargiulo says, “Aerators are typically used for youthful wines, to help them to open-up. Decanters are used for older wines. Decanters remove sediment that has formed from years of remaining in the same bottle.”
What types of wine should I aerate?
Wines that are high in tannin, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot do well with aeration according to our expert. The air will help to make the wine more palatable and pleasant to drink. White wines like Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc also do well with aeration because it will make them less aggressive. “I, personally, like to aerate wines that are less than six years old,” said Gargiulo.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
This article was written by Megan duBois, who is a kitchen and lifestyle expert for Simply Recipes. Throughout her career she has tested an endless amount of products, from TikTok-famous gadgets to chef-approved knife sets. To choose the best products for this article, she consulted product reviews, interviewed an expert, and personally tested each aerator to help the consumer make wise choices.
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