It’s possible, when dining at a restaurant, that a sommelier pours a bottle of wine into a carafe. Why is this exactly?
To carafe a bottle of wine, is simply pouring wine in a carafe for the purpose of adding oxygen to the wine. This is mostly done with young wines or wines that are so complex that otherwise the flavour and aroma does not excel the way it should. By adding air, the scent and flavour present in the wine are activated and are smelled and tasted much better.
A question that makes sense is, “Can’t a bottle of wine be opened ahead of time and let the wine breathe inside the bottle? “. How logical this question might sound, sadly this has little to no effect. Adding oxygen to wine is only possible through intensive contact with air. Letting air through the opening of a bottle neck is not sufficient.
A different technique than to carafe is to decant. With this technique wine is poured into a decanter for the purpose of separating the sediment. A bottle of wine that has been aged for a certain time can have sediment in it, which is something you would not like to have in your wine glass or flavour. To prevent this from happening, wine is decanted. This is a meticulous process that has to be followed in order to prevent sediment to be poured into a carafe or glass.