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Wine bluffers send decanter sales soaring

23rd April 2013 Print

Cash-strapped wine snobs are sending sales of decanters soaring – because it means they can pass off cheaper wine as expensive vintages, says high street retailer Debenhams.

Decanting wine from the bottle before bringing it to the table is the perfect way to avoid letting guests see the label, which would also reveal how much the wine costs.

Good wine has soared in price since the recession, thanks to a collapse in the Sterling exchange rate, and successive Government tax hikes.

Said Debenhams glassware buyer Amanda Evans: “Without a label, it is often difficult to tell if that cheeky little wine you’re drinking comes from Burgundy or Bulgaria.

“Many men measure their standing in society by the quality of wine they serve at their dinner table. Presenting guests with obviously cheaper alternatives is, in their eyes, a serious blow to their self-esteem.

“Using a decanter is the perfect method of keeping up appearances while times are hard.

“We’re calling it Decanter Deception, and it’s saving wine lovers a fortune while keeping the nation in good spirits.”

Sales of decanters and wine carafes are up 45% compared to this time last year Debenhams’ sales figures have revealed.

They provide wine bluffers with the perfect cover, because decanting good wine is an acknowledged method of letting the wine ‘breathe’ to improve flavours.

Jo Bryant, Etiquette Advisor at Debrett's says: "Wine decanters not only look attractive, but also serve a practical purpose. The process of decanting a red wine allows it to breathe, separating mature wine from any sediment and livening up younger bottles.

“Decanting should take place a couple of hours before drinking – the glass decanter must be clean and soap-free. Pour the bottle at a reasonably rapid rate, being careful towards the end to ensure that any sediment remains in the bottle. Remember that simply removing the cork from the bottle will not have the same (if any) affect, and that white wines are not usually decanted."

Decanters are also essential when serving more exclusive, older wines, which often come with a residue of sediment at the bottom of the bottle.

Wine in a decanter also adds glamour and a degree of ceremony to dinner parties, which can also distract guests from the real taste of the wine.

Amanda Evans continues: “Despite what many wine lovers claim, their image of a wine is influenced as much from seeing the label as the taste of the wine itself.

“The mere glimpse of a label bearing the name Petrus or Margaux will raise expectations even before the bottle is opened.

“Big name wines have become increasingly expensive, so that even well-heeled British wine lovers now struggle to justify the cost.

“However, even though there are equally good, cheaper wines available from South Arica and Chile, true wine snobs often view them with suspicion, hence the reason for Decanter Deception.

“It’s an easy trick to pull off - a cheaper wine served in an anonymous glass decanter, a few mumbled words about an interesting little vintage recommended by my wine merchant and the deed is done.“

The trend for decanting spirits is also increasing in popularity thanks to the TV show Mad Men, which regularly shows main character Don Draper pouring drinks from traditional crystal glassware.

Amanda Evans adds; “Carafes are also much more commonly used in restaurants and bars, which have inspired customers to introduce them into their homes.

“It’s all part of bringing the restaurant experience into the home and adding that extra special touch to an evening in.”

Debenhams’ decanters are available in all stores nationwide and online at, prices start at £20.

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