- By exposing wine to several minutes’ worth of air in just a few seconds, a good aerator is one of the simplest, easiest, and cheapest ways to get the most flavor out of your wines.
- The VinLuxe Pro is the best wine aerator you can buy because its simple and elegant design uses a three-step process that aerates wine beautifully.
Getting into wine can quickly become a rather time-consuming hobby. You can spend years learning all about different types of wines, the regions of the world where they’re made, how certain wines should be stored and served, and – most importantly – how to get the most enjoyment from the bottles you’ve purchased. One of the easiest and quickest ways to do so is to invest in a good aerator. An aerator may, in fact, be the cheapest tool in the amateur sommelier’s arsenal, yet it easily ranks among the most important (for many wines, anyway).
Wine is, after all, an organic material, and its flavor and fragrance are subtly affected by everything from the soil the grapes were grown in to how the wine is stored – and exposed to elements such as light – inside glass bottles. Even wine glasses are designed with this in mind, with a bulb-like shape that lets you swirl the wine (thus aerating it a bit) and a narrow opening that directs the released aromas toward your nose.
What is aeration?
Put simply, aeration is the process of wine mixing with oxygen, causing the flavors to “open up” – a rather vague-sounding bit of wine jargon that basically means allowing the hidden flavors of the wine’s components to express themselves more fully. This happens when some of the less pleasant wine components (think acids and ethanol), which evaporate more quickly than the good stuff, are “bled off” by aeration, and the nicer flavors and aromas are left behind for you to enjoy.
Not all wines necessarily benefit from aeration, but most will. Fresh wines and wines that have been aged for a while in the bottle have the most to gain from the process: Young, tannic wines will have their rougher edges smoothed out a bit, while older wines will taste better once they’ve had some time to breathe after being stored in bottles for years. Also, bear in mind that aeration won’t make bad wine taste good, but it will bring out the best of a good wine.
When using an aerator, the process really only takes a few seconds; exposing your wine to oxygen for too long will allow the good flavors and aromas to escape, too. And – although it’s a relatively quick and simple process – there are a number of different types of aerators available, from simple handheld designs all the way to modern electric units with built-in dispensers.
Here are the best wine aerators:
- Best overall: Andre Lorent VinLuxe Pro Wine Aerator
- Best electric aerator: Aervana Electric Wine Aerator and Dispenser
- Best pouring aerator: Soiree Home In-Bottle Wine Aerator
- Best filtering aerator: Vinturi V1010 Wine Aerator
- Best aerating decanter: Menu Winebreather Carafe
Prices and links are current as of 3/26/2020.
The best overall
- Andre Lorent
A solid handheld design and highly efficient three-step aeration process make the VinLuxe Pro wine aerator the best tool to enhance your drinking experience.
Decanters are popular among wine enthusiasts as an attractive way to both serve and aerate wine. These glass vessels let your wine breathe, but decanters are big, fairly expensive, and take time to aerate the liquid inside.
A good handheld aerator such as our favorite, the VinLuxe Pro from Andre Lorent, is a smaller, cheaper, and more time-efficient way to achieve the same effect as a decanter in a matter of seconds.
The VinLuxe Pro achieves this with its thorough but surprisingly quick three-step aeration process. First, wine poured into the VinLuxe hits a raised “umbrella” that splashes the liquid around in the aerator’s chamber. It then trickles through 32 drip channels, all the while swirling inside the aerator before entering your glass.
This whole process exposes the poured wine to several minutes’ worth of air in just a few seconds. Compared to other aerators we’ve tried, the VinLuxe is notably better at opening up aromas and flavors and reducing the bitter tannic bite of many red wines. About the only thing that could make the VinLuxe Pro perfect is a mesh sediment filter, but that’s not a deal-breaker as most wine aerators don’t include one.
At its affordable price, though, this is a minor quibble given how well the VinLuxe Pro aerates your wine and how simple it is to use.
Pros: Great three-step process aerates wine more fully and efficiently than most other designs, opens up the flavor of wines in a few seconds, excellent value
Cons: No mesh sediment filter
The best electric aerator
For one-touch convenience, it’s hard to beat the Aervana electric wine aerator and dispenser, which delivers fully aerated wine right into your glass with the press of a button.
Manual wine aerators, whether handheld or in-bottle, are generally pretty simple pieces of equipment. Recent years have seen the growing popularity of electric units like the Aervana, which aerates wines beautifully while offering the added convenience of a push-button dispenser, effectively turning your favorite bottle into a tap.
The Aervana aerator’s operation is fairly straightforward: You attach it to the top of an open bottle, with the Aervana’s suction straw placed into the wine. With a push of a button on the top of the unit, this straw “drinks” the wine up into the aerator, where the liquid is mixed with air inside the chamber. The Aervana then dispenses the aerated wine into your glass – no pouring necessary.
The drawback to this design is that, while the suction straw keeps solid particulates out of your glass (as these solids will most likely have settled at the bottom of the bottle), it leaves behind some wine once the bottle is almost finished. This last bit of wine – including any dregs that might be in there – will need to be poured out normally, as the Aervana’s straw can’t reach it.
This is a relatively minor problem, though, considering how well the Aervana aerator works and how dead simple it is to use. The Aervana electric aerator is very effective at drawing out the pleasant flavors and aromas of your wines while dulling the harsher tannic and alcoholic edges, it’s easy enough for anyone to use, and it looks great.
It’s expensive, but if you’re in the market for the best electric wine aerator, then the Aervana has you covered.
Pros: Turns your bottle of wine into a simple push-button tap, aerates wine as well as any other aerator we’ve tried, and its mess-free design makes it ideal for serving wine at dinners and other get-togethers
Cons: The suction straw does not go all the way to the bottom of the wine bottle
The best pouring aerator
An on-bottle design like the Soiree Home aerator can open up your wines while offering easy one-handed pouring.
Aside from unique examples like the electric Aervana, wine aerators typically come in two main varieties: handheld designs (like the VinLuxe) and “pouring” ones that fit right onto the bottle. Our favorite, the Soiree Home on-bottle aerator, is a great alternative to handheld models when you just want to pick up a bottle and pour a glass of wine like you normally would without an aerator.
The Soiree Home might be the simplest of all of our picks: The aerator just pops into the opening of your wine bottle and it’s ready to go. As you pour, wine enters the blown glass aeration chamber, swirling around inside and mixing with air. Inward-facing dimples in the glass also help to agitate and move the wine around a bit. This oxygenated wine is then deposited right into your glass from a well-designed drip-free spout.
Another nice feature of the Soiree Home aerator is that you can actually control how much air your wine is being exposed to by changing the angle at which you pour. Pouring more slowly will prevent the wine from swirling and splashing around in the aeration chamber, mixing it with less air. Pouring while holding the bottle at a more vertical angle will have the opposite effect, letting a greater volume of wine swirl around through the aerator for more oxygen exposure. However you use it, it aerates and opens up wine exceptionally well.
The Soiree Home’s glass construction is certainly part of its appeal, but it’s also a potential drawback as it will naturally be more prone to breakage than the more common acrylic aerators, although the newer model is thankfully a bit sturdier.
With such an affordable price tag, it’s hard to complain about the Soiree Home on-bottle wine aerator, and it’s an easy one to recommend to anyone looking for an alternative to larger handheld aerators.
Pros: Fits right onto the bottle for one-handed aeration while pouring, drip-free design, and you can control the amount of air different wines are exposed to for the best results
Cons: Glass construction is relatively fragile compared to acrylic aerators (although more durable than it used to be)
The best filtering aerator
With a removable mesh filter that traps sediment and bits of cork as you pour, the Vinturi V1010 handheld aerator is a great alternative to the VinLuxe Pro if you find yourself frequently dealing with unfortunate “floaties” in your wine.
Aerators serve much the same purpose as a decanter – letting your wine mix with air – but one thing that most aerators don’t do is filter out sediments. Decanters are typically designed so that when you pour slowly, any solids that happen to be in the wine are separated from the liquid and stay trapped within the decanter.
The Vinturi V1010 is an aerator that will aerate your wine while removing stuff you don’t want in your glass. Like the VinLuxe Pro, the Vinturi is a handheld aerator and features a somewhat similar overall design. It uses a very different process to mix your poured wines with air, however – one involving some unique fluid dynamics. The Vinturi aerator operates on Bernoulli’s principle, which states that as the velocity of a moving liquid increases, its pressure decreases.
As you pour wine into the Vinturi V1010’s aeration chamber, it speeds up as it circulates and drains through the air channel at the bottom. The resulting pressure differential “sucks” the surrounding higher-pressure air into the wine, thoroughly mixing the two for a few seconds before the liquid hits your glass. Even if you don’t understand the science behind it, the process works, resulting in smoother and more flavorful wine.
The other main thing that sets the V1010 apart is its built-in filter that sits at the top of the aeration chamber. This mesh filter will catch any sediments and lees in your wine, which can be a particular consideration with years-old bottles that have had more time for the suspended solid particulates to settle. The mesh filter is also removable, both for easy cleaning and for allowing you to use the Vinturi aerator without the filter when you don’t need it.
Pros: Unique design is effective at fully aerating and opening up wines, easy to clean, solid value, and a removable mesh filter that traps particulate solids and keeps them out of your glass
Cons: The relatively small aeration chamber can overflow of you pour too quickly
The best aerating decanter
A unique on-bottle attachment system and an attractive design make the Menu Winebreather carafe our favorite all-in-one aerator and decanter.
One of the advantages of a wine aerator over a traditional decanter is that aerators are considerably smaller, cheaper, and faster at doing their jobs. But let’s face it: Decanters look awesome. If you want the speed of an aerator but love the classy aesthetics of a decanter for serving your wine, then the Menu Winebreather carafe combines the functionality of both in a package that works beautifully and looks great.
The Menu Winebreather works through a simple but clever mouth design: A rubber gasket lets you seal the empty carafe neck-down on top of a full wine bottle. You flip the whole thing upside down, and as the bottle (now itself upside-down) empties its contents into the carafe, the wine cascades down the sides of the Winebreather for maximum surface area exposure to air.
After about two minutes (when emptying a full bottle into the Winebreather), the wine is ready to be served right from the carafe like a traditional decanter. Or, if you want, there’s no reason you can’t simply flip it over again to pour the aerated wine right back into the original bottle if you prefer to serve it that way or want to place it back on your wine rack for later.
This is an excellent design, particularly if you’re looking to aerate a whole bottle in one stroke rather than doing it glass-by-glass as with other aerator designs. The Winebreather carafe opens up younger and more tannic wines just as well as other aerators we’ve tried, and the rubber gasket seals very tightly with no dripping and spilling. It’s certainly cleaner, easier, and more headache-free than pouring from a typical decanter – especially when trying to decant wine back into its bottle.
The Menu Winebreather carafe simply looks great, too, and while it’s more expensive than the handheld and on-bottle aerators in our guide (minus the Aervana), it’s not at all unreasonably priced when compared to typical decanters which typically ring in at around the same price or even more.
You get both an aerator and an aesthetic tabletop decanter that works well, looks great, and will make most of your wines taste better.
Pros: Does double duty as both a wine aerator and traditional decanter, aerates a whole bottle wine quickly and thoroughly, looks great, and the rubber gasket seals well for drip-free pouring
Cons: No sediment filter, and it’s not ideal for aerating and serving small amounts of wine at a time
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