You can fully appreciate wine’s full potential when you serve it in a decanter or carafe instead of straight from the bottle, but why? The wine can oxygenise and aerate, and it lets the wine breathe after being trapped within a bottle since being bottled. A wine decanter has traditionally been seen as a formal, sophisticated way to serve wine, but this isn’t the case.

Renowned glass manufacturers such as Eisch GlasRiedel and Schott Zwiesel produce wine decanters and carafes of various shapes and sizes. Serving wine via a decanter doesn’t have to be expensive; it’s an affordable and accessible process for all. So, “What is the difference between a wine decanter and a carafe?”

What is a Wine Decanter?


The primary function of a wine decanter is to store and serve wine and allow the wine to breathe. Providing a sufficiently large surface area exposed to the air is vital to the oxygenating process. Therefore, decanters have an essential role when used, especially for Red Wine.

You can often find sediment and crumbled cork in red wines (usually in older vintages). So pouring into a decanter can help filter and remove any unwanted sediment. It will also remove any underlying bitter tastes and flavours associated with aged wines.

Traditionally, wine decanters have a flat base with a wide bowl (up to 30cm). The neck is usually tapered inwards to an approximate height of 30cm. Decanters occasionally have stoppers to ‘seal’ the contents until they’re ready to drink. Also, it helps reduce the speed at which wines deteriorate after being exposed to air.

What is a Wine Carafe?


Traditionally a carafe is a ‘vessel’ that holds liquid, typically water, wine, fruit juice or alcoholic beverages. Today, carafes are more likely to be used for serving water and juices. The shape of the container doesn’t affect its characteristics or the taste of the liquid it’s holding. These tend to be more ‘showy’ and decorative pieces for the table setting to appear more elegant.

Using a carafe is more of an everyday occurrence than the more normal special occasion when using a decanter. Carafes have a long body and small base to accommodate large volumes of liquid. They, therefore, take up less space on the dining table. Also, when you serve wine in a carafe, it tends to be White or Rose. These wines don’t require to be ‘opened up’ as much when compared to Red Wine.

Modern Wine Decanter Shapes

There have been profound changes in how different manufacturers design and produce their decanters in recent years. For example, world-renowned Austrian glass manufacturer Riedel has created eye-catching wine decanters. These stunning pieces are fully functional decanters and centrepieces on the table, performing a ‘show’ when being used.

What is the difference between a wine decanter and a carafe?

The differences between these two serving vessels are tradition, shape, and style. You use a Decanter to serve wine more so than carafes, which tend to help other liquids. The body of a carafe is long and straight compared to decanters, traditionally bowl-shaped with a tapered neck.

Wineware is pleased to offer high-quality Wine Decanters and Carafes, perfect for all types of wines and occasions.