Do Wine Aerators Work & Are They Worth Your Money?

These days it seems like there’s a gadget for everything, and the wine world is no exception. One of the most popular wine gadgets you’ve probably heard about is something called a wine aerator.

The general idea behind a wine aerator is that it’s supposed to make your wine taste better.

But does it work? We decided to test a couple different devices to see if there’s any truth behind the claims. Below you’ll find the ultimate guide to understanding wine aeration and our top picks for best wine aerators on the market.

What Does A Wine Aerator Do?

A wine aerator is simply a tool that helps expose your wine to more oxygen. Wine is made up of hundreds of compounds, and when they mix with air, the more volatile undesirable compounds evaporate leaving the more aromatic and flavorful ones behind. This is why wine aeration is said to make your wine taste better.

Benefits of Using a Wine Aerator:

Generally speaking, these are the reasons most people choose to use a wine aerator:

  • Really bold, high-alcohol, tannic wines can have an intense rubbing-alcohol-like smell when you open them up. This is actually caused by the presence of naturally occurring ethanol that’s been trapped in the bottle. Since ethanol is a highly volatile compound, a wine aerator helps evaporate this compound and remove the stringent alcohol odor.
  • In order to preserve wine, many winemakers add sulfites to the bottle, which when first opened can smell similar to rotting eggs. Yuck! When you aerate your wine, it removes that burnt smell and allows you to discover the wine’s true bouquet.
  • Some wines, particularly young wines, have very little aroma or flavor when first opened. The wine, at this point, is described as “tight” or “closed.” Exposure of the wine to oxygen helps these wines become more expressive.

Do Wine Aerators Really Work?

Ok, enough with the geek speak. Do wine aerators really work?

To determine the answer, we had three different versions of the same wine to try:

  • Straight from the bottle after pulling the cork
  • Poured through a wine aerator
  • And traditionally decanted as recommended.

Our conclusion: aerating works, but not quite as well as traditional decanting.

The real benefit of an aerator is that it’s the best way to make your wine taste better if you’re short on time (or patience). You see, with traditional decanting, you’ll have to wait anywhere between 1 to 4 hours depending on the wine. A wine aerator and a little bit of subsequent glass swirling takes less than a minute.

So if you don’t want to spend a couple hours waiting while you decant your wine, an aerator is definitely your best friend and a great option to help you get the most out of your wine.

Our Top Picks and Reviews of Wine Aerators

In the bonus round, we tried different types of aerators to see if brand or design mattered as well. Here’s what we found:

Vinturi Delux Red Wine Aerator Set

  • Hand-held or used with stand
  • Acrylic
  • Dishwasher safe

The Vinturi Red Wine Aerator is one of the most popular aerators on the market and certainly does the trick when it comes to aerating your wine. Both the aerator and base are dishwasher safe to make cleaning a breeze. However, we felt like it was a little awkward to use. You have to hold the Vinturi over your wine glass while your pour with your other hand being careful not to get distracted and spill. You’ve also got to watch your pour speed. We recommend getting the complete Vinturu Delux Red Wine Aerator Set as it come with a stand to prevent these issues.

Soiree Bottle-Top Wine Decanter & Aerator

  • Bottle-top aerator
  • Glass
  • Dimples increase surface area to infuse more oxygen
  • Includes a stand for storage

The Soiree is an easy to use aerator that attaches to your bottle of wine instead of being handheld or free standing like other models. This provides a more convenient one-hand operation. What makes the Soiree unique is its rather peculiar shape. Rather than passing the wine through a narrow chamber and injecting air into the wine, the Soiree achieves aeration by relying on the tendency of liquids to adhere to surfaces. Works like a charm for wine aeration. While we didn’t feel like it was “fragile,” this wine aerator is made of glass – handle with care.

Metrokane Rabbit Wine Aerating Pourer

  • Bottle-top aerator
  • Plastic (not PBA free)
  • Easy to clean
  • Includes a stand for storage

The Metrokane Rabbit Aerator was probably our least favorite. It didn’t seem to pour as nicely as some of the other aerators and didn’t seem to aerate quite as well based on the blind taste testings. We’re also not fans of the PBA plastic. This company makes a great bottle opener, but maybe skip their wine aerator.

Nicholas VinOair Wine Aerator

  • Bottle-top aerator
  • Acrylic
  • Dual oxygen chamber pulls twice the vacuum as the other leading aerators
  • Pocket sized for easy travel–no stand needed
  • Hand wash with warm water

If you want a compact, easy to use and store wine aerator, this is your best bet. It does a great job aerating wine and doesn’t require much handling, care, or space in your kitchen (or backpack for picnics). The pour is smooth and less messy than some of the other bottle-top aerators. It’s also very easy to clean.

Wine Aerator Hand Blown 5oz

  • Bottle-top aerator
  • Glass
  • Large bulb increase surface area to infuse more oxygen
  • Replaces cork to preserve freshness
  • Includes a stand for storage

If you’re looking for a unique gift for the wine expert that has everything, look no further than the Wine Aerator Hand Blown 5oz beautifully crafted aerator. It’s a little pricier than the other options, but clearly a crowd-stopper. Functionally, this product meets expectations and does a good job aerating wine. It’s interesting to look at and fun to use. This wine aerator truly makes the perfect gift for you are the wine guru in your life.