If you’ve ever been to a high-end home or kitchen supply store, you may have eyed a curious little device known as the decanting funnel. While it may seem a luxury gift that you don't actually need to enjoy wine, experts know that proper aeration totally transforms the individual tasting experience. As a complement to your traditional decanter, a funnel offers a quick, simple way to let your red or white breathe as you ready it for pouring.

Here are some need-to-know facts about your newfound wine-drinking essential.

All About Decanters

What does a wine decanting funnel do?

When exposed to oxygen, wine's flavor, aroma, and intensity alter significantly. Oenophiles understand the nature of their favorite varieties, so it’s only natural that they optimize the aeration process with supplemental tools like the decanting funnel and strainer.

With its distinct conical shape, wide opening, and narrow spout, a wine funnel helps you neatly pour the liquid into a glass or decanter. But beyond its practical function, a wine funnel with screen also captures sediment for a clean, clear, satisfying sip. As the wine travels through the funnel’s strainer, it’s exposed to air for a longer period of time, thus enhancing its properties.

Are there different styles of decanting funnels?

The wine community uses a variety of decanting devices, and the funnel itself comes in a diversity of styles. You’ll find funnels made of glass, pewter, stainless steel, and more. While hardier construction may ensure durability and years of dependable use, the price of the aerator doesn’t necessarily matter. What does matter is how long the wine is exposed to air, so the tool’s interior composition is crucial.

Some decanting funnels feature a unique spiral shaft that allows the liquid to breathe longer than it would with a typical pour. A funnel with screen or strainer will also trap pesky cork particles and sediment from entering your glass, resulting in optimal flavor and clarity. Each component serves an individual function, so look for a funnel that does more than prevent spills.

What wine funnel is best for me?

Everything is a matter of taste, and when it comes to wine, taste is king! So, if you find that a particularly complex aeration device changes the flavor of your favorite wine in a way that doesn’t suit you, then try another. On the other hand, you may decide that a basic department store funnel isn't as effective as you'd like. A specialty wine shop can help you find a piece perfectly suited for the red or white you enjoy most.

Still, some people collect wine decanting funnels solely for their beauty and interest. You’ll find artisan-crafted aerators with gorgeous pewter construction, such as this sculptural piece inspired by Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. Whether you’re looking for form or function, always stay on top of your wine-related gadgets. Now that you understand the purpose of a decanting funnel with strainer, perhaps it’s time to give one a try!