How to Make Wine Taste Better By Aerating It

You're going to want to try this trick.

Time to gather your friends, put your feet up and unwind—with wine! You’ll need a thoughtful wine tasting party menu, plus a snappy trick to make that bottle taste even better.

What’s the trick?

My scientifically-based, top secret method for instantly improving any wine? Pour off a glass, re-cork the bottle and shake it up. That’s all.

Pour off enough to reach the bottle’s shoulder, which is where it broadens out from the neck. This creates a greater surface area of wine that’s exposed to the air. And since air is a great way to open up a wine, when you re-cork the bottle and shake it up, you’re quickly exposing all of the wine to that good air as you shake. Not just the surface, which is why traditional breathing (read: waiting around) takes so long.

Because you don’t need a decanter or other tool, you can do this on picnics, at the beach, on the go…wherever!

How does this make wine taste better?

You’ve probably heard the term “letting the wine breathe.” And while you might equate these words with wine snobs, there’s a scientific reason to give your wine a little air. Air helps it “open up” in wine parlance—and that’s just like it sounds. Wine that has breathed a little is more expressive, buoyant and fully itself. Compare that to “closed wine,” which might be rough around the edges, boring, brooding or even kinda stinky.

Exposing the wine to air smoothes it out, making it smell and taste more harmonious and just plain better. To help it breathe, you could pour it off into a fine crystal decanter, a durable lab beaker like my engineer friend or into a stylish aerator like my gadget-adoring neighbor. Some TikTok creators even recommend giving wine a quick whir in the blender. But that sounds messy—and loud.

Won’t this damage the wine?

“Wait a minute,” you might say—as I did, when I first saw a wine shop owner execute this trick. “Shouldn’t you treat a wine with greater care than shaking it up?” Not at all—at least not the young wines (under five years old) that we mostly drink in the United States. In fact, most wine in America is consumed the same day it’s purchased! (If you’ll be keeping your bottles for awhile, here’s the right way to store wine.)

And while old wines develop sediment as they age over time, young ones are basically like grape juice—there’s no unpleasant sediment to worry about in the bottle, and they need no special care. In fact, because they are so young, a good shake helps open them up quickly, making them tastier to drink.

Next time you’re sharing a bottle with friends, go ahead and impress ’em with this simple trick. (I call it the poor man’s decanter.) It can also be fun to do a wine tasting before and after a vigorous shake. Or, just keep this little trick your own secret to making wine taste better and let them wonder just how you do it.

Christine Rukavena
Christine loves to read, curate, sample and develop new recipes as a senior book editor at Taste of Home. A CIA alumna with honors, she creates cookbooks and food-related content. A favorite part of the job is taste-testing dishes. Previous positions include pastry chef at a AAA Five Diamond property. Christine moonlights at a boutique wine shop, where she edits marketing pieces and samples wine far higher than her pay grade.