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How to decant wine

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Decanting wine can be a ritual that leads to good times
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Any effort related to how to decant or store wine adds to the enjoyment

Americans love their beer, their energy drinks and their soda pop, too. Nevertheless, folks today are enjoying wine more than ever before. Sweet red wines, crisp whites and extremely fruity wines, too, all have their places at American dinner tables—or anywhere else family members and friends gather.

Those who make a delightful ceremony of retrieving a bottle from an attractive wine cabinet and relishing each sun-flavored sip soon find that fully enjoying wine entails knowing how to decant wine. According to the American Wine Society—a group that tracks wine trends and educates consumers—wine grapes are the American fruit crop with the highest value. Wine grapes make up about two-thirds of the entire grape harvest. California grows some 90 percent but there are some 40 states that include grapes in their agricultural repertoire.

Connoisseurs recognize the importance of preserving their tasty treasures. They add another chapter to their knowledge of wines when they learn how to decant wine. When wine bottles begin to proliferate like bunnies gone wild more space often is needed for storage.

One solution is to drink faster—or learn how to host the perfect picnic. It's a sure bet that legions of picnic-loving friends may volunteer to help diminish the stockpile. Another solution, more sensible, is the installation of a residential wine cellar with temperature controls that help guarantee the wine supply’s longevity. Learning how to decant wine can lead to a hobby, a business or an avocation that’s a life-long enjoyment.

Decanting removes particulates

Decanting wine is not a mysterious process. The process originated in the olden days when wine was aged in kegs and subsequently needed transfer to other vessels before storing or serving. The basics of how to decant wine have been shared since antiquity although today’s technologies enable white wines to be aged in their bottles. It is red wines that are enhanced by decanting.

Decanting takes a steady hand. It entails the use of a backlight—a flashlight or a lighted candle—that illuminates particulates as the wine is poured from bottle to decanter. Wine lovers who safeguard their wine bottles in wine cabinets value the cabinets’ dark interiors and sensitive thermostats. The gizmos protect the bottles from light and fluctuations in temperature. As the bottles are used, they are decanted—if the bottles contain red wines. The process entailed in how to decant wine is one of few steps.

• Remove the foil and cork from the top of the bottle
• Use a damp cloth to clean the lip of the bottle
• Place candle or backlight behind the neck of the decanter
• Gently pour wine from bottle into decanter
• Eyeball the backlit neck to spot bits of debris
• Let the decanted wine rest for perhaps 12 hours
• Or, go ahead and pour some wine for guests

Decanting aerates the wine

Decanting enables the wine to mix with air and mellow out the flavor. It ensures no sediment or bits of cork are present when the wine is served to oneself or to guests. An appropriate glass vessel with a long neck and a wide base—the traditional design of a decanter—is required to receive the wine, poured slowly from the wine bottle into the decanter.

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to how to decant wine but none of the maneuvers are beyond the ability of the average person. All efforts pay dividends, especially in amiability, as the wine is shared with friends—or a lover—during a special occasion such as a picnic, a birthday gathering or an anniversary party.

Why use a candle or backlight?

The entire process relating to how to decant wine consists of gently pouring the wine from the bottle into the decanter. A candle or flashlight held—perhaps by a second person—behind the neck of the decanter will illuminate any chunks of sediment or disintegrated cork from the wine bottle’s stopper that may try to flow into the decanter along with the wine. In lieu of artificial illumination, the decanter may be held up to a sunny window or a light bulb.

The transfer of wine from bottle to decanter needs to be done with care. How to decant wine is no mystery but it is a delicate, loving art that adds to the ritual of enjoyment. How to decant wine is a subject welcomed by other wine lovers. Most realize that learning how to decant wine is not so difficult. Decanting is not a necessity for enjoyment but it sure adds a touch of elegance to any special occasion.

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