June 23, 2018 – Should Wine Bottles be Stored on Their Side?
A scientist says storing wine on its side is a myth. The scientist is Dr. Miguel Cabral, Director of R&D at Amorim, a huge cork supplier in Portugal.
In a recent interview with Patrick Schmitt of the UK publication, Drinks Business, Dr. Cabral explained that the headspace of a sealed bottle of wine was so moist it was unnecessary to place bottles on their side. “The cork will never dry out with almost 100% humidity in the headspace, so it is a myth that you need to store a bottle on its side,” he said. He referred to research from a 2005 study by the Australian Wine Research Institute.
He also said that the idea of storing in a damp cellar “is another myth”. It is the humidity inside the bottle, not outside the bottle, that keeps the cork moist. And, as more evidence against laying bottles flat, Dr. Cabral indicated that side storing might even accelerate the degeneration of the cork.
However, many readers disagreed with him, citing their experiences with storing wines upright over extensive periods of time. The Australian study was on Riesling and Chardonnay over five years, which is not very long when it comes to wine storage.
One thing everyone agreed on was the detrimental effect of heat on wine whether upright or horizontal. So for now, we’re going to keep our wine flat, at 56 degrees, because that’s the way the fridge is designed. Problem solved.