Even owning one decanter is seen as a mark of someone who knows their wine, so owning a few more is really going to set you apart. But that’s not all – many people radically underestimate the impact that different decanters make on the bouquet, texture, flavour, and finish or various types of wine. In fact, the decanter you use can significantly alter your drinking experience.

Red vs. White

There’s no greater division in the world of wine than that between reds and whites, so you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that each type demands its own varietal decanter.

Let’s consider red wines. These are decanted more frequently than whites, and not without reason. Red wine often contains more sediment, so it tends to benefit more significantly from opening up prior to drinking.  A decanted red should prove more aromatic. As such, red wine should generally be allowed to breathe in a wide decanter that provides plenty of surface area.

Full-Bodied vs. Light-Bodied

Some wines take longer to decant than others. As a general rule of thumb, full-bodied vintages need longer, preferring a wide-based decanter to increase the level of oxygen exposure. In contrast, a light-bodied number should be served in a small to medium-sized decanter.

Furthermore, full-bodied wines often benefit from swirling to bring flavours to their fullest fruition, so a full-bodied red would require a decanter with a thin neck but a large, wide bowl.


Finally, keep the importance of temperature in mind. White wines tend to be served colder than reds, so it’s smart to pick out a decanter that’s thin enough to cool down quickly in the fridge. It might seem like only a minor concern, but using a warm decanter to hold a cold white wine can adversely affect the flavour.