Wine Accessories: The Aerator Shoot Out

The Aerator Shoot Out

The story: How do wine aerators hold up when compared to letting time do your aeration? Which ones work and how well do they work? The results really surprised us as well as a few unsuspecting participants in our research. We tested the devices in controlled tests as well as random tests. The random tests took place at restaurants and tasting rooms.

The players: Respirer, Soiree, Spinwine, Time, Versivino, and Vinturi.

The evaluation: All of the devices we tested retail from $40 on the high end to around $20 on the low end except for time – retail price for time we found to be a very elusive figure that varied depending on who you asked.  It was obviously apparent that the fact that these devices are a marketable and sought out products, the statement “Time is money” is proven undeniably as pure logic, the kind you can take to the bank.

aerator-shoot-outTwo of the units are hand held and three are attached to the bottle. This operational feature we found split the camps of preference in some cases, and some test subjects had no preference preferring to favor the unit they felt performed the task of aeration regardless of style.

Time we found not to be quite as popular in the beginning mostly because it seems no one really likes time, or should we say things that take time? We found that quite humorous because most folks complain when they don’t have enough time but usually complain too when they have too much time on their hands (I guess the trick is to keep it off your hands). But that’s a story for another time and we will get to it some other time.

In our controlled tests we would open a bottle of the test wine, pour out a glass and let the bottle breathe 1 ½ hours. When the wine had been breathing an hour and a half, we would open another bottle of the test wine and pour through the five wine aerators. Pamela and I would take turns pouring so we could keep the tests blind. We then took turns tasting the wine in all six glasses and would then evaluate our perceptions.

In our random tests we poured from different aerators at restaurants and tasting rooms having anyone who would participate; taste the wine non-aerated and then aerated to compare our controlled test results with public perception. I must say in restaurants whenever we were using the in-bottle devices we got more interest than with the hand-held units.

I included the websites for all units in the beginning of the story because I was amused with the variance by which the technical aspects of the devices were described by the manufacturers.

Soiree’s website had the most passionate and technical information. It was evident the concept was conceived as a mission and planned for success. Ease of use, cleaning and storing were great features.

Vinturi’s online literature focused on its ease of use and its reputation of being the veteran of the field and most trusted, most units sold etc, etc, etc. It also tied for most expensive.

Respirer describes their device as equal parts science and art and actually uses the phrase conveniently fits over a glass (yeah, as long as you hold the device over the glass as you pour through it). Amazingly, they should talk more about the design and performance and less about its beauty. Topping out the players in price this one has the material invested and workmanship to command top dollar.

Spinwine plays to the everyman wine enthusiast. Their website states whether it’s a 1972 Lafite Rothschild or your latest supermarket find this device makes all wines better. This I found this particularly interesting because while corresponding with Versivino they specifically stated they did not recommend their device to be used with vintage wines (funny, because this isn’t stated on their box or their website). Versivino talked mostly of the portioning aspect of their device and not so much it’s capability to open up the wine, which left me wondering why they did not make it portion a glass of wine instead of 100ml.  None of the devices will filter sediment.

The wines used in the control tests were young tight wines from Spain, Chile, Argentina, California and Washington. The vintage wines we choose were from Italy, Oregon and France. After just a few pours there were obvious frontrunners but we pride ourselves on our Mythbusters ethic so we just kept opening more wine. The conclusions are as follows.

The winners: The winner was Time; none of the devices could replicate the exact flavors of a wine that breathes naturally from the original bottle it was bottled in. That being said, how much is your time worth if a device costing $25 can make your wine taste a lot better in only seconds?

One has to individually make that assessment – how much is my time worth? We also found that two of the devices outperformed the others in our controlled tests and in our random tests.

One of the devices was a best bet because it worked best in almost every wine decanting situation. Soiree is your best bet.  Resperie will bombard your wine with aeration and on a huge tight young wine, it will actually aerate faster than Soiree.  There are times you might need this feature and if you can afford it and your time is worth $65 for and hour and a half, buy them both.

The Vinturi works almost as well.  Spinwine and Versivino we found to have minimal aeration performance in both the control tests and the random tests.

We learned a lot about people while doing this shootout and graciously want to thank anyone who participated.  Thanks for letting us keep you captive as we extrapolated your thoughts on wine and wine accessories. I promise the next post will not sound like an episode of Dragnet being narrated.

~Marc Hinton

2016-10-09T17:31:22+00:00

About the Author:

Marc has held almost every position in the food & wine industry and is committed to Celebrating Hospitality with Pride. In addition to being the co-founder and editor-at-large for Enobytes, Marc is a wine blogger contributor to OregonLive.com (Wine Bytes) and writes the Wine Knowledge column in the print magazine About Face. The Contra Costa County Times, San Jose Mercury News, Tacoma Times Tribune and Washington Post have either interviewed or quoted Marc on his viniferous and culinary opinions. Marc has also appeared on Portland's "Vine Time" on News Radio 750 KXL and on California's Central Coast "From the Growing of the Grape to the Glass" on KUHL-AM 1410. He is also the author of A History of Pacific Northwest Cuisine: Mastodons to Molecular Gastronomy. While continuing to tenaciously search for what he may finally proclaim as his favorite wine Marc is relentless in his quest for the ultimate food and wine experience.

28 Comments

  1. Robert Dwyer August 4, 2009 at 7:26 AM - Reply

    Very cool to see your impressions of these devices, and thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’ve tried the Vinturi, the Respirer, the Soiree and one other- the Decantus.

    The Soiree also won the most formal head to head blind tasting I’ve done to date. Very interesting to see that it fared well in your tests too.

    Cheers!

  2. Steve August 4, 2009 at 8:18 AM - Reply

    Thanks for the article. We recommend the practicality and versatility of the Wine Aerator from the Pour Store, http://thepourstore.com/wine_aerator.htm (we like the others too, but feel most are just designed to look cool)

    Steve at BlindWine.com

  3. Jesse August 4, 2009 at 12:02 PM - Reply

    Great to see all of the options for aerators out there. We actually have a Vinturi that the Hipster Enologists use for travel. I bought it inexpensively on Amazon, but it comes with a stand and velveteen bag. Although it might not be the fastest aerator, it is virtually indestructible so we keep it handy for picnics and BBQs.

    Thanks again for a great article!
    Jesse

  4. Suzanne August 4, 2009 at 3:16 PM - Reply

    We have carried both the Vinturi and the Respirer in our gift shop and have found that both are selling very well.

  5. Mark August 5, 2009 at 5:28 AM - Reply

    Has anybody tried the Final Touch Aerator? That’s what I’m looking at buying.

  6. enobytes August 5, 2009 at 10:12 AM - Reply

    Hi Robert, I read your article – great report!

  7. enobytes August 5, 2009 at 10:14 AM - Reply

    Steve, I haven’t tried the Belle La Vie Wine Aerator but I’ll check it out. It looks like a regular pour spout!

  8. enobytes August 5, 2009 at 10:17 AM - Reply

    Suzanne, glad to hear that the aerators are selling.

    Mark, personally, I haven’t heard of the Final Touch Aerator.

  9. Mark August 5, 2009 at 1:46 PM - Reply
  10. enobytes August 5, 2009 at 1:53 PM - Reply

    Interesting, thanks Mark. I’ll have to seek one out and give it an aerator whirl!

  11. Bettie August 5, 2009 at 5:49 PM - Reply

    Just came back from the wine country in Central California, specifically Paso Robles area. Interestingly, several of the wine tasting rooms were using the aerators. Most used the Vinturi aerator. This was my first experience with aerating wine and I did notice a difference in the wine. Great article!

  12. enobytes August 5, 2009 at 7:37 PM - Reply

    Hi Bettie, thanks for the comment. Paso Robles is definately the place to be for some mighty fine Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel & Syrah! I tasted some mighty fine Muscat Blanc from the region as well. Glad to see you experiment with aerating wines! ~Pamela

  13. Andrew August 8, 2009 at 11:18 PM - Reply

    Enobytes,

    Your “Time” in developing this extensive write-up and investigation is greatly appreciated.

    We welcome anyone with any further questions with respect to the Soiree wine aerator to post a reply here or contact us directly at our website. We really enjoy supporting our audience, helping people explore the flavors of their wines, and to deliver an effective and affordable product.

    thanks again & keep up the great work!

  14. Scott Ratcliff August 21, 2009 at 5:24 PM - Reply

    Have you tried pouring off a taste of a newly opened bottle, recorking it and giving it a little shake or simply inverting the bottle? As a small producer, I have found this a very simple way of aerating our wines, especially at festivals when we go through “rushes” of people and have to open multiple bottles on short notice. I do have a Venturi at the tasting room, but I wish it had a handle and I didn’t have to flush it w/ water after each use to keep it sanitary…it’s not the most efficient device when you have a full bar of tasters…glad to have informed wine enthusiasts…keep drinking wine. :)

  15. Angela Luftner October 20, 2009 at 8:11 AM - Reply

    Have just been reading your thoughts on the performance of these aerators and wanted to spread the word on a new aerator I have tried.

    One of my friends recently came back from London and gave me a wine aerator called the WineWeaver. I hadn’t seen anything quite like it before, as you can see from their website – http://www.wineweaver.com . It has been designed to be lightweight enough so that you can actually sit it on top of your glass, yet it has these fins around the outside of it so that the air can still circulate freely in and out of the glass – really unusual and a very attractive design.

    What is really different it that you can adjust how the wine exits the aerator so that it hits the curve of your glass to really open up your wine, and because it sits on your glass it also means you don’t need an extra hand.

    I’ve been gabbling on about it ever since I was given it and have put it to the test with my friends and family, who all really think it works. So, if you ever have another ‘shoot-out’, I’d be very interested to see how it would fare against the other aerators – being neither hand held or attached to the bottle.

    I’ll be watching this space,(and raising a glass to your blogs on here – I really enjoy browsing through them)Angie, NJ :)

  16. wine racks March 17, 2010 at 1:37 AM - Reply

    First of all,keep up the good work.That was very informative.I’m also interested in knowing something about the final touch aerator as I want to purchase.Has someone got information on that.

  17. Randall April 16, 2010 at 6:48 AM - Reply

    Would have liked to seen the Centellino in the mix here. The Centellino is tested and certified…check it out http://www.accessorytowine.com/Centellino_Wine_Decanter.html

  18. oenopete August 20, 2010 at 8:13 AM - Reply

    No mention here about The WineFall.
    The WineFAll is a tool not to confused with the low end of this market, The WineFall is the premier item in this Niche’. It is more expensive at $99 and the high end version at $175; with good reason…First…unlike most of the competition it is PYREX (tempered, stain resistant GLASS) NOT PLASTIC. Second it is hand-crafted in Wine Country, Sonoma County, Ca. Head to Head it works the best and so worth every penny!

  19. oenopete August 20, 2010 at 8:14 AM - Reply

    have a look @ http://www.thewinefall.com Salute’

  20. oenopete August 20, 2010 at 8:22 AM - Reply

    …also one cannot help but notice that most of the items are very similar to The Vinturi…and they all seem to agitate the wine in a violent fashion, not good for a ten year wine that could go another ten but is still delicate…!?

  21. Dirt Cheap Wine August 20, 2010 at 6:55 PM - Reply

    Gotta say the Soiree is fantastic! See my review here http://www.dirtcheapwine.net/2010/07/vinturi-vs-wine-soiree-taste-off.html

  22. Lamar Engel August 20, 2010 at 7:38 PM - Reply

    The wine prizm …it is unique and was the first of all these on the market..

  23. enobytes August 21, 2010 at 9:49 AM - Reply

    Sounds like we need another aerator shoot-out between the Centellino, wine prizm, WineWeaver, final touch and the wine fall…

  24. oenopete August 22, 2010 at 8:59 AM - Reply

    sounds great….can’t wait to hear the results!

  25. VinoTinto April 7, 2011 at 12:45 PM - Reply

    The Versovino (misspelled as Versivino in the article) is basically identical to the Centellino. That’s probably why they didn’t include it. The only difference between the Versovino and the Centellino is the shape of the glass bulb is tapered on the Centellino, but rounded on the Versovino. I used to own the Centellino, and while beautiful and a conversation piece, it doesn’t aerate the wine as well as my Soirée I just bought. I think the only advantage the Centellino/Versovino might have over the Soirée is that it does serve precise single portions.

  26. Anibal June 22, 2011 at 8:54 AM - Reply

    Got a Vinturi as a present and I am delighted with the results. I have used it in inexpensive, young wines, less than $20.00. Have not tried it in more expensive bottles as I do not have many of those. It is quick and gives wine better taste and bouquet.

  27. Stellar Phoenix Review February 22, 2013 at 6:15 PM - Reply

    This post is wicked! You obviously know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your awesome content, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost..ahaha) Great job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  28. […] We recommend pouring at least half an hour prior to consuming or utilizing an aerator like a Soiree.  In the mouth, the generous warmth of flavor spreads across your palate like a soft warm blanket […]

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