What is decanting and why is it recommended?

Decanting is the process of pouring the contents of one vessel into another vessel i.e. from the bottle into a decanter. A decanter is usually a glass vessel with a narrow neck and wide base, the design of which helps increase the surface area of the wine to air.

Sometimes the wine will be poured back into the bottle in order to avoid confusion as to which wine is which at a party before service.

The primary purpose of decanting is to separate the wine from sediment that develops in the bottle over time as the wine matures. The secondary purpose and the reason why we recommend you decant Capel Vale red wine is that the process allows oxygen to come into contact with the wine. This oxygen contact opens the wine up to it to show at its best allowing the flavours and aromas that were dormant while bottled to expand and breathe.

Wine that is stored under screw cap (which all Capel Vale Wines are excluding Debut Sparkling) come into contact with very little oxygen before they are opened. Decanting accelerates the breathing process which will increase the wines aroma, releasing gases that have developed in the absence of oxygen and soften the taste of tannin that may cause astringency in the wine.


  1. If the wine has been stored on its side, stand it up long enough to let the sediment fall to the bottom of the bottle. Mostly you will not find much, if any sediment in Capel Vale’s Wines.
  2. Open the screw cap and tilt the neck of the bottle 45 degrees towards the decanter to prevent the sediment from pouring into the decanter with the wine.
  3. Pour the wine into the decanter (a wide bottomed decanter will help aerate the wine more) at a steady pace letting the wine aerate either gently down the side of the vessel or straight into the decanter.
  4. Stop decanting when you see sediment approaching the neck of the bottle or naturally when you have emptied the bottle.
  5. Decanting can be done many hours before you anticipate drinking the wine, however best not to let it sit for more than 18 hours.

If you don’t have access to a decanter an aerator is the next best thing, failing that one can simply swirl the wine in the glass. An aerator is a device that, as its name suggests, aerate the wine as it is poured into a glass and can help save time if you don’t have a decanter. Vinturi make a few different styles of aerators.

P.S. A few white wines styles will benefit from decanting however delicate wines will not benefit as it can expose the wine to too much oxygen and result in a loss of flavour and aroma.

Capel Vale recommends decanting all of the Single Vineyard and Regional Red Wines. Decanting will reward you, allowing the wines aromas and flavours to come to the fore.

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