21 August 2018 |
Storing wines – Stand up, or lie down?
There’s often some debate around whether wines are best stored standing up, or lying down, or that it doesn’t matter either way.
Well, in short, it does matter, and here’s why!
The way a bottle should be positioned in storage has mainly to do with the type of closure it has on it. If you have wine bottles with corks in them, as a rule, the wine should be stored lying down as the cork is a natural product and has moisture in it when it’s put into the bottle. When the bottle is stored lying down, the wine helps to keep that moisture in the cork and stop it from drying out and shrinking.
When the cork shrinks, it allows more air to get past it and into the wine in the bottle, thereby prematurely aging the wine and encouraging spoilage. Also, by creating a wider passage for air to get in, it also allows wine to escape, and hence why sometimes you’ll see that wine has seeped along the cork in the bottle (trying to get out). Access to too much air during the storage/ ageing process will destroy the wine and encourages spoilage. The problem is usually you don’t find out until it’s too late!
Screw caps on the other hand, it really doesn’t matter whether the wine is stored standing up, or lying down. Screw caps essentially don’t let as much air into the bottle as corks do, and they don’t require the wine to be in contact to stop the cap drying out and shrinking.
There are other types of closures on wines, and as a rule, if there is a natural cork in the bottle, store it lying down. If there is a synthetic or man-made closure on the bottle, you can go either way, whatever suits you.
At the end of the day, there is one more important factor than the above when storing your wines, and that is temperature. Wine is best stored in a cool, dry place where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate much (like an underground cellar). It’s really a combination of proper storage technique and temperature that will ultimately age a wine to perfection.
So when you put away that special bottle, make sure you store it correctly so it’s perfect down the track.