Tim Ferriss explains how to hyperdecant wine

I don't know anything about wine, but I love the audacious idea of using an immersion blender to hyperdecant wine in 20 seconds. Tim Ferriss explains how in the video above. I'm really looking forward to Tim's new book, The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life, due out in November!


  1. I wonder if Myhrvold has patented “Device for rapidly decanting wine”, has no plans to market any products, but is in possession of a big, big list of companies that make immersion blenders.

  2. America’s Test Kitchen / Cook’s Illustrated has recommended using a standard blender or the two-pitcher method–the latter being preferred.  The two-pitcher method is nothing more than decanting the bottle and then pouring back-and-forth between two containers for a minute.

  3. People who really know wine always tell me the whole decanting thing is just pretentious wine snobs showing off.

    1.  Seems to me the best way to find out would be to buy a bottle of wine and try it yourself.  It should be reasonably easy to do a side by side comparison of the methods. 

    2.  Well, why trust “people” on their word? Get a decent Bordeaux, or something more southerly like a Fitou, Minervois, etc, taste it immediately after opening, then immediately after decanting, then after 30 minutes, and so on. It really doesn’t take much to notice the difference and the softening of the wine. This is not appropriate for all wines, for sure: generally useless for whites, for perfectly matured reds, for anything sweet, but it definitely works on the full-bodied, hard, heavy reds that are not past their peak.

      As for aerating using mechanical means, I do find some truth to the claim of “bruising” the wine and affecting the taste adversely. To be honest though, I’ve not done sufficient tests to really be sure. The problem is that once the wine is open, my patience for playing with it really diminishes quickly and I just quaff the stuff with much pace.

    3. This is patently untrue.

      The effect of decanting on flavor does vary from wine to wine and is a function of time, as well. Certain European wines (Old World wines, in the parlance of pretentious wine snobs like me) are full of funky volatile molecules and greatly benefit from up to a day of oxidation in a decanter that affords a large exposed surface area to volume ratio. However, most New World wines have high levels of fruity (ester) compounds and alcohol that mask the more subtle flavors that evolve during aeration.

       My rule of thumb is that if you bought it a supermarket, you don’t need to decant it.

    4. I had no idea that people decanted wine to aerate it; I do it to avoid ending up with rodent parts in my glass.

          1. Understood.  I can’t stand getting a mouthful of sediment myself.  I was just concerned about the winemaking practices of whomever’s stuff you were drinking.   Can’t have rat-ass in the Merlot.

    5. No, that’s not the case. Some wines benefit from a little aeration- and it’s a bottle-to-bottle kind of thing, with few hard and fast rules other than what makes it taste better…but there’s one area where decanting has obviously non-subjective benefits, and that has to do with sediment. Especially with older wines, especially with older wines with a cork that starts to disintegrate when you open the bottle. Decanting the wine allows the sediment to settle to the bottom of the decanter rather than pouring out to float to the top of your glass.

  4. And to think, I’ve wasted seconds, literally, SECONDS of my life hypodecanting wine like a sucker!

  5. Why even buy “heavy” wines if your going to make them soft? It is like people that say they love fish, but then complain when their fish is too fishy.
    I have never had a steak be too steakey or a beer be too Beerey

  6. Ferris and Myhrvold? In one video?

    Yo dawg, I heard you hate poisonous arseholes, so we put a poisonous arsehole in your poisonous arsehole, so you can hate while you’re hatin’!

      1. I guess I’m supposed to feel some cognitive dissonance that a wealthy patent troll or wealthy professional exaggerator could be nice in the presence of gatekeeper Digerati, but I can’t.

        Instead, I’m going to continue under my obviously mistaken impression that people who shake down productive businesses for patent protection and those who write garishly declasse books in which one brags how he can bring any female to orgasm in record time are–by the most ludicrous of definitions, which I must be in a truly delusional state to hold–poisonous assholes even if their wealth puts them in such a low-stress address that they’re otherwise “incredibly nice” in person.

        1. That reply….  I don’t really know the subject matter well enough to judge the accuracy, but the prose alone…  

          I’m tempted to call it brilliant, damn the risk of coming across as a neophyte.  

      2. Oddly enough, Intellectual vultures may end up doing more good than harm. It will probably end up being bought out by one of the various corporations being trolled in a heavy patent lawsuit.

        I have Myhvold’s book and have tried the blender method. It certainly improved the $10 bottle we tried it on in a blind trial to the extent that everyone was agreed that it tasted better than the unaerated $25 bottle we had next.

        Many wines taste better the next day. Aeration is clearly useful in many cases – but not all.

  7. I have one just like that one. It does make a difference in some wines that is very noticeable in a good way.  It all kind of depends on the wine.  I don’t know if it is so much about making heavy wines softer in the sense that some softer wines lack the good tastes that the bigger wines have entirely.  Honestly, it all kind of depends on your taste anyway.

  8. Please correct me if I’m wrong here, but a blender does something that neither of the other aeration methods does: it creates bubbles by cavitation.  (In the video at the 3:00 mark you can see the blender blades are completely immersed and the wine gets frothy starting from the bottom.)  I believe cavitation *removes* dissolved gases from a liquid; the gas in the bubbles formed by cavitation comes out of the solution.

    No comment on whether this might be good for wine, but it seems like it’s doing something extra that normal aeration doesn’t do.

  9. Judging from the appliances in Tim’s kitchen it appears he has champagne tastes and a beer pocket book.

    1. One of the comments on Ferriss’ website asked if he’d acquired his stove from a FEMA trailer, but he’s stated previously that he travels a lot and eats out pretty much constantly, I’d guess homewares aren’t a huge priority.

    1. Romanée Conti is the perfect wine to put in a blender before I drink it out of an empty can of Diet Coke. Of course I wash out the coke can first.

  10. Have a  Vinturi.  When I got it my wife wanted to know why I use it — she rarely drinks wine.  And when she does, she often puts it on ice. (!!)  So next time I opened a bottle, I poured a sip for her straight out of the bottle, she took a sip, and then poured another through the Vinturi.  Her eyes lit up.  It’s great especially for reasonably-priced wines which can be a bit alcohol-hot on the tongue.  Cheap, reusable, should last forever unless I drop it.

    But I’m not going to go the blender route.

  11. I should add — heavy aeration isn’t appropriate all the time.  Check the wine when you open it.  If it smells sharp and pointy, aeration will do it good.  Taste it first.  If it tastes sharp and pointy, aeration will do it good.  If it smells soft and tastes lush — aeration won’t improve it.

    1. I like to *hic* check my posts. If it’s sharp and pointy then a re-read might do it *hic* good.  If my post was sharp and pointy, a re-read might *hic* do it good.  I also like to check my posts t *hic* o see if they are sharp and pointy, and if so, a re-rea *hic* d might do it good.

  12. That is not “three hours of decanting in a few seconds”  That is a load of horseshit.

    Good red wines do not need to “breath”,   all they need is to be raised to room temperature.  

    All that agitation is driving off the aromatics that make a wine unique.  

    This annoys me because I’m a professional in this exact industry.  I would kick the crap out of someone who did that to my wine.  


    1. That’s how I feel.  A great bottle doesn’t need this crap.  Great bottles can be had at $10!  Totally possible.  I set my glass out to warm up, sometimes next to the wood stove, and then you can just smell all the great stuff evaporating when it warms up a bit.  It’s TEMP not Oxygenation.

  13. Forgive me for sounding prejudiced, but ONLY an American could come up with an idea like that!
    You can only be this ignorant if you dont have the least bit of knowledge or respect for wine.  Somewhere, a Winemaker just died!
    Tim Ferriss (and all who applaud him), you are a total moron and an epic fail!
    You should not be allowed to have wine again. Ever!

    1. You may be right, but, then again, have you tried this method?

      It used to be that Europe was the center of the Enlightenment, where men had learned to substitute reason and science for blind faith and superstition.

      I guess when it comes to wine, though, faith and superstition still rule…

      1.  Neither faith nor superstition. I am not in the wine-business myself, but I live near one of the best wine-regions in one of the best wine-countries. I am not a chi-chi “Expert”, but I know  a thing or two about wine, as well as some winemakers.
        While red wine – even the “good” ones absolutely profit from letting them breathe for  while, they also profit from being handled with care. I can’t think of anything more mindless and outright barbaric that stirring a fine wine with any appliance, be it a blender or anything else as well as drinking it trough a straw (WTF ??)
        Either those people have never tasted a fine wine or they are just to ignorant to care. If you don’t have the time to let the wine do it’s breathing on it’s own, you might be better off drinking just beer.
        I know some winemakers who would hurt you physically if you’d to that to their wine. Literally!

        1. I’m sorry, but you are still relying on faith, not on actual reason.

          This all sounds very much like the famous “judgement of Paris,” when the elite of the wine world simply could not even conceive that American wines might be worth drinking, let alone beat French wines, and then were outraged to discover that they had awarded higher marks to the American wines after tasting them blind. Again, the pre-judgement was on blind faith alone, but it was a faith very strongly felt, and the judges initially thought that the tasting would be a waste of time.

          Again, you may well be right, but without people tasting this blind, these kinds of criticisms without evidence (or even any explanation, beyond the fact that they “profit from being handled with care”) are like the chef who screams that putting the salt in the water before the water has boiled will ruin the pasta.

          1.  SamSam, you seem like a smart person, I really mean that!
            But I don’t need to poke my eye with my finger to know it would hurt. And wine getting all frothy and muddy after being treated with a blender is evidence enough for me to never even try it.
            I am right now enjoying a bottle of really good but also rather inexpensive wine from Italy (after all it’s already nighttime here). I opened it at 7 p.m.  and put it into a carafe. One hour later i started drinking and enjoying it.
            I may be a snob – or full of faith and superstition – but that’s the way wine is supposed to be handled … I am saying that even at the risk that you be accusing me even more of said superstition.
            Like you said, absolutely brilliant wines are made in the USA, especially in California, as well as in Chile, Australia, South Africa and many other countries outside of Europe. No argument about that.
            But I am sure that in any of those countries, winemakers would strongly subject to their wines being treated like that.
            Wine – for me – is not just booze. It’s an experience, as posh and upperclass this may sound to you.
            The whole point is NOT to have it drinkable in a jiffy. It takes years until it’s matured so why rush it once the bottle is opened?
            You may say I am heading in some other direction now, but even if blending it *would* have the same effect as letting it breathe naturally (which I doubt), it’d still be a shame.
            And just so no question is left open: No, I’m neither a member of the upperclass nor am I rich in any way.
            And I don’t know if it would ruin pasta or not, but it certainly takes the water much longer to reach the boiling point if you add the salt first, so it actually IS better to add it just before the pasta ;-)

  14.  Personally, I prefer wine without a head on it.

    The real geek solution for this would surely be to use a magnetic stirrer. Bonus points if you make your own stirrer from an old CPU fan and/or use an Arduino to control it.

  15. I drink with a straw and aerate as I go.  and when I was a waiter, I used to bring the straw to the table and just blow into people’s drinks. folks get used to it once they see how beneficial it is to their wine experience. i got BIG tips.

  16. I’m going to try this tonight on my magnetic stir plate and my Erlenmeyer flask just to take my wine snobbery to a whole new level.

    We aerate our wines but only because my wife likes to soften the tannins that are usually present in heavier Bordeaux varietals. The easiest way I’ve found is to pour off about a glass, which I drink, and then re-cork and shake the hell out of the bottle.

  17. For those of you who’d like to keep it old school, here’s the hidden technology behind the decanter . If you only wanted to expose the top surface of the wine to air/oxygen, you could simply decant it in a bowl/pot/whatever. But:
    The shape of the decanter allows you tilt it sideways (say 30 deg) and pour smoothly from the bottle (tilting the bottle only as far that the wine level does not fill the neck completely, thus allowing air to flow in) so that the wine flows onto the tilted neck of the decanter. The wine will now spread out widely (and thinly) over the bellowing surface of the decanter, before it reaches the bottom. Therefor the whole contents of the bottle will be exposed to air, without disturbing the wine as the magic mixer stick does.

  18. I am so glad to see America’s greatest 21st-century snake oil merchant continue his meteoric rise. Truly, this is the expert we deserve! No one generates more laughs. 

  19. am I the only one who thinks Tim Ferris looks extremely thin? He’s lost a lot of weight and muscle tone. One would think writing a book on cooking he’d at least stay a certain weight? just worried for him.

Comments are closed.