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carafe of red wine with glass of red wine and bowl of olives

Carafe Vs Decanter: What’s The Difference?

Wine enjoyment is more than drinking wine; the wine glasses, accessories and even the food served with your favorite wine play a role in creating an experience. You can significantly enhance a so-so wine if appropriately served or make a good wine taste great just by using the right tools and equipment.

Carafes and decanters are two of the most common wine accessories, and they are a must for every wine lover, casual or professional. These two vessels can take your wine-tasting get-togethers to new heights! Let’s talk about the wine carafe and the wine decanter.

How Does Wine Service Affect Wine’s Aroma?

Wine is a complicated beverage; there are hundreds if not thousands of aromatic compounds in every wine, and some are easier to pick up than others. The thing is, these compounds are volatile, which is why swirling the glass makes the wine much more vibrant.

Of course, there are a few other more effective ways of ‘waking up’ wine and helping it show its best; there are several wine accessories to enhance how wine presents itself, and carafes and decanters are amongst the most popular and effective. So, what is a carafe, and what is the difference between a carafe and a decanter?

What is a Wine Carafe?

A carafe (kəˈræf) is a glass container as old as time that has been used for ages to serve water or any other liquid at the table. A wine carafe, of course, is designed to serve wine.

Carafes help bring any liquid to the table and serve it easily, which was particularly useful in the old days when wine was poured on tap straight from a barrel! Tavernes in the Middle Ages had a few wine (or beer) barrels in the back, and they used carafes to serve it. Now it is customary to serve wine from its bottle, but carafes are still a thing, and it’s because they serve another purpose; they aerate the wine by increasing the wine’s surface in contact with air. 

person pouring red wine into a decanter

What is a Wine Decanter?

As the name suggests, decanters were created to decant, meaning separating liquid from its sediments. Concentrated and well-aged wine sheds sediments, and although harmless, these solids are best separated from the wine to prevent murky wine glasses.

Today, decanters are still the most efficient way of serving wine while leaving its deposits behind. However, like carafes, decanters oxygenate the wine by exposing it to the air, changing its personality, so there’s more than one reason to use one.

What is the Difference Between a Carafe and a Decanter?

If you have a bottle of well-cellared wine showing deposits, you’ll need to decant it before serving, and a carafe won’t help with that; you’ll need a decanter. Still, if you only want to aerate the wine to make it more aromatic, you can pour it into a carafe or decanter — either way, the volatile compounds in the wine will become easier to pick up.

Besides, serving wine in a carafe or decanter adds to the dining experience, as these pieces are usually nice looking, especially when made with crystal. 
Whether you’re looking to elevate your dining experience by looks alone or make wine more expressive, a carafe or a decanter will prove handy. And since they’re not always interchangeable, any wine lover should have both accessories at home.

Shop Quality Glassware Today

Like wine glasses, the best carafes and decanters are made traditionally with non-leaded crystal. These pieces are not only dependable partners at the table but authentic collector’s items, lovely conversation starters, and handy accessories to upgrade your wine experience. Get your hands on quality glassware and accessories and help your favorite wines show their best.

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