A Professional’s Guide To Letting Wine Breathe

A Professional’s Guide To Letting Wine Breathe

Trying to figure out how to make your wine taste as good at home as it did at the winery? Explore this professional’s guide to letting wine breathe!

We all want our wine to taste as good as it does when we head to a winery. But the bottles we open in our homes often taste different than the glasses at our favorite vineyards. There are quite a few things that can impact the taste of wine at home compared to wineries, one being how long you’re letting wine breathe.

Breathing helps draw out specific flavors and aromas that one might overlook if it proceeds quickly from the bottle to the glass to your mouth. So the idea of letting a wine breathe is simply the process of exposing it to air for a period to soften flavors and release aromas.

But how do you do it? Below, you’ll find a professional’s guide to letting wine breathe. Take a look!

Which Wines Should You Let Breathe?

Typically, red wines are the ones that will benefit most from breathing before serving. Young red wines high in tannins will need aeration—it will soften their tannins soften and make the entire wine less harsh. When you get to aged reds, you’ll want to let all of them breathe, regardless of tannin level. A few examples of wines that could benefit from a breather:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Zinfandel
  • Bordeaux
  • Young Reds (the ones high in tannins)
  • Aged Red Wines (to help settle their sediment)

Your Aeration Options

Part of you may think that it’s fine to just pop open the cork and let the wine breathe in the bottle. However, that’s only allowing a small portion of the wine to thrive in that little bit of oxygen. Instead, you have a couple of other options to consider: decanting, wine glass and wait, or portable aerators.


If you’re having a fancy dinner, have 30 minutes or so to wait, or just really want to make sure that you’re tasting the best of the best when it comes to your wine’s flavors, then get a decanter. In fact, you don’t even technically need a proper decanter—any large liquid container with a wide opening at the top will do. The idea is that the increased surface area will allow more air to make contact with the wine.

Wine Glass and Wait

In a smaller sense, you can also let wine breathe and open up when you pour it into your glass. Now, you’ll want to make sure that you have a proper red wine glass—any glass with a wider opening will work since it’ll let more air in. Simply pour in the wine, swirl it around, and wait for a few minutes. If you can wait 15 minutes, do that! But either way, stirring the glass around will bring more wine in contact with the air.

Portable Aerators

All you’ll need is a portable aerator—there are tons out there, so just do a bit of research as to which ones work best. But the idea is that you pour the wine into the aerator over your glass of wine, and the aerator brings more oxygen into your pour. There are also aerators on the market that attach directly to the wine bottle. Again, it’s up to you to find which works best for your needs! It’s a quick option if that’s what you’re looking for.

We hope you enjoyed this professional’s guide to letting wine breathe. You can always turn to us for more answers to your questions and, of course, visit our online wine shopfor more red wines to practice decanting. Peruse our Premium wines or find a steal in our Last Chance wines section. Either way, you’re sure to find something amazing!

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