Wine Aeration Devices: Useful or Just Another Gadget?

Wines, particularly red, often benefit from a little aeration to allow the fruit to shine through and the flavors to mellow out. This can be done the traditional way of letting it sit and open up in the glass before drinking, or by decanting. Alternatively, in keeping with our busy lives, we can use one of the many aeration devices available on the market to speed up the process.

While I sit more in the traditionalist camp, I decided to check out the various devices available to see exactly what they offer. Have you used any of these devices? What do you think? Traditionally red wines were cellared for many years before being opened. This was to allow the tannins to soften and the structural components of the wine to become harmonious with the fruit. For many wines today, we don't have to cellar them for years before drinking, as they are produced in a way that makes them more accessible earlier.

Even so, big full-bodied reds with lots of tannin, such as Napa Cabs, Bordeaux, or Rhone Blends — or many Italian reds — still benefit from aeration before drinking. Opening the wine a few hours before drinking is one of the more usual ways to deal with this, as is decanting the wine. But with busy lives today, we often don't have time to wait a few hours, and yes, we all love gadgets. With that in mind I set about checking out the main wine aeration devices available on the U.S. market. Here is what I found.

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The Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator, $39.99 - Based on the principle that when the speed of a moving liquid is increased the pressure of the liquid decreases (Bernoulli's principle). When wine is poured in the vinturi, its design creates an increase in the wine's velocity and a decrease in its pressure. This pressure difference draws in air, which is mixed with wine to improve the aromas, flavor and harmony of the wine.

The BevWizard Wine Smoother, $29.99 - The BevWizard funnel is placed snugly onto the top of the opened bottle of wine. The wine is poured out through the device. As the wine is poured through the magnetic field in the pouring spout of the device, tough or astringent tannins are softened and the wine becomes mellow and more harmonious.

The Wine Whisk, $20 - The simplest device of all. An attractive stainless steel hand whisk that you dip in your glass of wine and whisk it around to immediately aerate your wine.

The Catania Mezzo Wine Enhancer, $65 to $130 - This is a metallic disc that comes in copper and stainless steel styles. Crystals and metal are imbedded into this patented frequency technology to aerate and harmonize the wine. The bottle of wine is placed on the metallic disk.

Rouge O2 Wine Breather, $30 - Created by UK company CellarDine, the Rouge O2 Electronic Wine Breather works by gently bubbling air through the wine bottle to release the wine's bouquet and flavor. According to the manufacturers it reduces the breathing time from an hour to just 1 minute. It requires 2 triple A batteries, which gives it enough power for about 230 bottles.

Philip Stein Wine Wand, $325 to $500 - The wand is a glass tube with encapsulated glass crystals and uses imbedded natural frequency-based technologies. The wand is placed into a bottle or glass of red wine, where it accelerates the aeration process, allowing the wine to fully develop to its peak flavor in a fraction of the time it would usually take. Not cheap, but perhaps a nice gift for the wine geek who has everything.

So, quite a selection and at many different price points. And largely, they do aerate the wine. But would you buy one? Would you use it? Or, like so many gadgets, would it sit in a drawer and gather dust, while you continue the traditional way of decanting, or simply allow the wine to slowly aerate in your glass?

These aeration devices are widely available from internet sites such as Amazon.com, as well as wine accessory stores nationwide and their websites.

I would love to hear your comments.

Until next week!

Related: Good Product: Nora Wine Glasses

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