The Purpose Of A Wine Decanter

by Thelma Kent

A decanter is a type of vessel used to hold the decantation of a liquid which may include sediment. Decantation is the process involving the separation of mixtures. A wine decanter is often used as a serving unit for wine.

These devices vary greatly in their design and shape. Typically they are made from an inert material like glass. They often have the capacity to hold a standard-sized bottle of the beverage, or approximately 0.75 liters. A similar vessel is known as the carafe. This device is also used to serve drinks, but it does not come with a stopper.

In the past, vessels were a main factor in how this beverage was served. The device would be filled up with a drink from amphoras and brought to the dining table where servants could handle them with ease. Ancient Romans are responsible for pioneering the use of glass for these bottles. When the Roman Empire fell, so did the production of glass. This led to decanters being constructed with silver, earthenware, gold, or bronze.

It was the Venetians who brought back the glass models, around Renaissance times. The 1730s saw the development by British glass makers of a stopper, which limited the exposure to air. Since that period of time, few changes have been made to the structure of this vessel.

The decanting process involves liquid from another bottle being poured into this vessel. This is done to separate a small amount of liquid, containing sediment, from a larger volume of clear liquid that is free of sediment. In this process, sediment is left in the original vessel while the clear liquid transfers to this vessel.

Another use for a wine decanter is aeration of the drink. Essentially, using this device allows the liquid inside to break. The design is meant to mimic the effect seen when a glass is swirled. This results in molecule stimulation, which causes movement and triggers the release of aroma compounds.

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