A decanter is a vessel used for holding the results of decantation, in which liquid from another vessel is poured into the decanter in order to separate a small volume of liquid containing sediment, such as wine, from a larger volume of "clear" liquid, which hopefully contains no sediment. In the process, the sediment is left in the original vessel, and the clear liquid is transferred to the decanter.
Wine decanters are frequently ornate in order to make an attractive vessel from which to serve the wine. Decanters may come with a stoppered lid and the lid may come with a rod to aid decanting. Most decanters have a tall, upright shape and are made of glass, frequently lead crystal, so that one may see the process of decanting. Decanters have also been designed in various modernized shapes. Carafes are used for less expensive wines.
While decantation removes the sediment found in some red wines, all red wines, especially young red wines, benefit from the oxygenation that occurs during the decanting process. A good decanting process involves the wine trickling down the walls of the decanter, imparting fuller flavor while taking the unwelcome edge off the wine.