Throughout history, wine decanters have played a significant role in serving of wine. Wine decanters have been used for serving wines that are laden with sediments in the original bottle.
A wine decanter will aerate wine, or allow it to "breathe". The decanter is meant to mimic the effects of swirling the wine glass to stimulate the movement of molecules in the wine to trigger the release of more aroma compounds. In addition it is thought to benefit the wine by smoothing some of the harsher aspects of the wine (like tannins).