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Haley’s Corker & the Aeration of California Wine

Pour a young tannic Cabernet through Haley’s Corker and you’ll strip out all the harsh tannins. Pour a buttery Chardonnay through Haley’s Corker and you’ll strip out the butter.

So why pour a complex Viogneir through a Haley’s Corker and turn it into Chardonnay? This happened to us while visiting Eberle Winery in Paso Robles.

On our wine host’s next table visit we asked her to pour a sample of Viogneir without Haley’s Corker, just pour it through the bottle opening. Voilà, a Viogneir as it should taste.

bottle of wine aerator

So many wineries throughout our Golden State of California splash wine through this aeration device without understanding its flavoring impact. Most pourers don’t know it aerates. They’ll tell us it keeps the bugs out, filters out sediments or it’s how they seal the bottle to keep the wine fresh

Then some wineries will pour peppery, young or harsh wines through the Corker to make their wines softer, more approachable. Either way we feel wineries should disclose the aeration.

But they rarely disclose the aeration. So it’s up to us consumers to understand the impact of these wonderful aerating tools. There are pros & cons.

So here’s a test for you. Purchase Haley’s Corker (most wineries sell them for $7-$8) and use it to pour a sample dollop of your favorite wine. Now pour another sample in a second glass without using the Corker. Smell and taste the two wines and see if there’s a difference. Our experience is, you will taste a difference. The inventor Jean Haley has said she can now drink Jack Daniels when it is poured through the Corker. This is the kind of impact aeration has on beverages.

It’s a wonderful tool when used correctly. But of course, it always depends on your palate, what wine you like. Use the Corker to soften up a wine when they are too big, young and bold for your liking.

But wineries please, don’t aerate Chardonnay , Viognier etc. unless the wine really needs it.

Bill Hodge & Erin O’Neill-Hodge enjoy a good bottle of wine, visiting and enjoying California wineries from Lake County to Orange County, from the Paso Robles Gold Coast to Gold Country and from Lodi to Bakersfield.

Some notes on our wine ranking system.

– -✰  means -What’s next on your list of wines
-✰  means -Not liking it too much
✰ means  -We’ll drink this wine, especially if it’s hosted!
✰+ means -You’ve got our attention and we might buy this wine.
✰+ + means -We’re hooked and we’re going to buy this wine.
When you see -✰/✰+  with a slash, it means we disagree.