Breathing wine? How Long Should I Let Wine Breathe?

Wine is a living thing. Really! Wine changes all the time inside the bottle, and although it doesn’t need to breathe to survive, it does enjoy some fresh air. The question is, does wine breathe? How long should I let it breathe? Let’s tackle this subject and answer some questions. 

Before we get started, let us invite you to drink with us with the Yarra Valley wine barrels in the background. We’re now offering Yarra Valley Cocktails at our tours through the vineyards, visiting distilleries and more! For cocktails, Yarra Valley is the next great thing!

What’s the Deal with Wine Breathing?

Wine can last a long time in its bottle as long as it’s not in contact with air. The oxygen in the air we breathe can oxidise the wine, changing its colour and affecting its aromas. However, once you open the bottle, some oxygen is more than welcome. Oxygen “opens” the wine, causing its aromatic molecules to be released. So yes, wine needs to breathe a little. 

How to help the wine open up? Well, there are different theories about it. Let’s explore each and see what works best for the wine. 

How to Make Wine Breathe?

Some people just open a bottle of wine and let it sit for a few minutes or hours before pouring to allow the wine to catch a breath. The bad news is that very little wine is exposed to air, so this technique is not particularly useful. 

If you really want to oxygenate the wine, pour it into a carafe or decanter; that way, all the wine is exposed to air, and not just the very top. A third, easy way of helping wine breathe is simply pouring it into your glass and swirling it as you sip. This one is easy, and it’s amongst the most effective methods for “opening” wine. 

How Long Should You Let Wine Breathe? 

Most wines are young and ready to drink; they need not too much contact with oxygen if any. For all these young reds, whites and rosés, just pour and swirl the wine a few times as you sip.

For contemplative, age-worthy red wines with great concentration, pour the wine into a decanter and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Try it and see if it has become more aromatic. This is not hard science, so you’ll know when the wine is ready — just follow your heart!

Is there’s such a thing as over-oxygenating wine? Keep in mind many aromas in wine are delicate, and they can be lost if you wake up the bolder fruit aromas in the wine. For wine, it’s better to take it slowly. 

What to Drink While You Wait?

What to drink while you wait for your bottle of wine to breathe? Cocktails, of course. We’re now taking wine and spirit lovers for a cocktails Yarra Valley tour! Have a sip and relax amongst Yarra Valley wine barrels.  Yarra Valley cocktails are best enjoyed in good company, so reach out and let us put together a fun day tour to the verdant valley from Melbourne for you and your friends. 

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