Why And How To Give Your Wine The Right Breath!

Why And How To Give Your Wine The Right Breath!

Even if you're not a sommelier, you've probably heard that you shouldn't consume wine right after opening it. It's recommended to let the wine "breathe" first. But what does this process mean and how does it affect the wine? Do all wines need to "breathe"? And how do you do it properly? Let's clear up these questions now.

What Does Letting Wine "Breathe" Mean?

Oxygen plays a crucial role during the production, aging, and storage of wines. Contact with air triggers chemical reactions that can alter the aroma, flavor, and texture of the drink. Even after bottling, wine continues to interact with oxygen, one way being through the cork via micro-oxygenation. When a bottle is opened, the wine is exposed to air, starting an oxidation process that can modify its characteristics. This phenomenon is known as "wine breathing."

How to Let Wine "Breathe" Properly

You don't need to place your wine next to a balloon or an oxygen cylinder. When oxygen comes into contact with a freshly opened wine, two main reactions occur: the evaporation of a small amount of alcohol and the oxidation of the compounds present in the wine. These reactions release volatile aromatic compounds, altering the flavor and aroma of the drink. The time required for these reactions to occur varies depending on the type of wine. In younger wines, for example, the breathing process can take 20 to 30 minutes.

Do All Wines Need to "Breathe"?

Not all wines benefit from the breathing process. Allowing certain wines to "breathe" can actually be detrimental. Young, full-bodied wines with high tannin levels generally benefit from breathing, which helps soften the tannins and allows other flavors and aromas to emerge. On the other hand, older wines aged for long periods are more delicate and breathing can compromise their qualities. Similarly, light and delicate wines, such as whites, rosés, and sparkling wines, should not breathe as contact with oxygen can dissipate their subtle flavors and reduce the carbonation of sparkling wines.

Special Tools That Help with the Process

To allow wine to breathe properly, simply opening the bottle isn't enough. The wine's contact with air through the small bottle neck opening is minimal. Ideally, transfer the wine to a large container, increasing the surface area in contact with the air. Specific tools, like decanters and aerators, are even more effective. These accessories are designed to optimize wine oxygenation, ensuring more adequate and efficient breathing.


Now that you know more about wine breathing and its importance, leave a comment with your questions or share your experience. Let's enrich the discussion! If you're interested in purchasing a decanter or aerator, click here to check out our options in the store. To learn more about these tools, click here on Differences between Decanters and Aerators and read the post.

Cheers, Health & Prosperity....Always! 

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