What Does Letting Wine Breathe Do And Is It Necessary? – Part 1

3 min read

pouring wine

Letting food and drinks breathe is nothing new in the world of culinary. You may have even heard of how wine needs to breathe. 

But do you know why it’s necessary? Don’t worry if you don’t because not many people know about it much less understand why it needs to be done. 

If you’re interested in wines, though, it’s important to understand these things. The good news is you need not look any further as Millon Wines, your source of the best Australian wines, shares why wine needs to breathe:

What Does “Breathing” Mean for Wines?

To understand the importance of wine breathing, you need to know what it means.

When you hold a bottle of wine to your mouth, you’d be able to taste its subtle nuanced bouquet. This is because the process of breathing lets the wine “open” up, releasing its aromas.

However, when you pour the entire bottle into a decanter, you really can only smell the wine from your glass.

As the liquid inside the bottle is exposed to air, the gasses in it expand and create tiny air bubbles. Air makes its way into the bottle and when you pour it into a decanter, these bubbles make their way into the wine.

These air bubbles help release a wine’s aromas, making it easier for you to smell and taste it well. Hence, this is why letting the wine breathe is important.

What’s the Science Behind It?

For a long time, the process of letting the wine breathe has been an “old school” practice. However, the science behind how and why wine needs to breathe is quite fascinating, especially for those who are keen on chemistry.

The process of wine breathing is called oxidation. This is when oxygen interacts with the wine’s chemical components. The wine’s chemical components become oxidized which results in the creation of new flavors.

Just how does this process work? You see, when you open up a bottle of wine, it’s exposed to oxygen in the air. Oxygen gets trapped inside the liquid and forms new compounds such as catechins, pyrazines, and mercaptans. These react with other compounds in the wine to create new aromatic compounds and flavors. This is what makes the wine taste better.

Do All Types of Wine Need to Breathe?

Wine needs to breathe regardless of the type. This is because all types of wines undergo oxidation during the process of making wine.

Some wines need to breathe for a longer period than others, though. This is because some wines also undergo malolactic fermentation which means there are more chemical components in the wine that need to react with oxygen.

Tannic wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, and Shiraz are in the same category as they need to breathe for a longer period of time. They undergo malolactic fermentation, which means they have a higher concentration of tannin. These wines tend to have less flavor and can taste harsh. The process of oxidation softens the wine’s tannins which result in a more pleasant taste.


As you can see, there are so many benefits of letting the wine breathe. While the process of oxidation may be a bit scientific, it really isn’t that hard to understand.

It’s not surprising that in the wine world, people have been employing this traditional practice for a long time. However, many people are still not aware of the importance of letting the wine breathe.

Now that you know, you won’t make that mistake. You’ll know why wine needs to breathe. You can even let the wine breathe for a longer time for a better tasting experience. You can try this with the best Australian wines and taste the difference.

Millon Wines is one of the bestwinemakers in Australia that offers you some of the best-tasting artisan wines. Check out the wines we have in our collection and get one delivered to your home!

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