The method of wine preservation is crucial in the process of wine evolution. Whether you have a large wine cellar, or store your bottles in your kitchen or living room, it is always advisable to lay down wine bottles . But do you really know why?
Storing wine bottles horizontally
Wine is a very demanding living product. If we know that it must be stored away from light, temperature variations, odors, and even vibrations, it is not always easy to understand why it is advisable to lay wine bottles down .
The reason is simple, and does not really concern the wine, but rather the cork. In fact, when the bottle remains upright, the cork is not in contact with the humidity of the wine. It can then dry out, shrink, then crumble. The air will then succeed in passing through, and damage the wine. In fact, in contact with air, the oxidation process is accelerated, which causes premature aging and spoilage of the wine.
Bottle of wine lying down and cork taint
You may have already heard that the contact of the cork with the wine promotes this famous cork taste . According to this conventional wisdom, wine bottles should then be stored upright.
However, storing bottles horizontally has nothing to do with corked wine. Indeed, cork taint comes from a chemical reaction caused by the presence of trichloroanisole (TCA) in the cork, a molecule which proliferates and permeates the wine, giving it a cork, even dusty or musty, taste. Proliferation can take place by direct contact with the wine, but also by contact with the air in the bottle.
In summary, cork taint in a wine comes from a defective cork, and the bottle's storage position has nothing to do with it.
Wine bottles lying down: a recommendation for corks
As you will have understood, the lying position of the wine bottles has no other purpose than to moisten the cork to prevent its deterioration. Also, this storage method is not necessary for other bottles, with plastic caps or screw caps.
It is even true that vertical storage is rather recommended for certain fortified wines, such as banyuls or port. While not all wine professionals agree, many affirm that the gas released by these alcohols is enough to moisten the cork and keep it in good condition.
Storing young drinking bottles
If you bought a few bottles with the intention of drinking them quickly, then there is no need to store them horizontally . In fact, it takes several months before the cork degrades and dries out.
In the same way, don't refuse a beautiful bottle found at the wine merchant or in a department store, just because it is presented upright. Wine professionals know what they are doing, and only keep the bottles horizontal for a short time. On the other hand, great wines are often presented horizontally.
Would you like to build a wine cellar? The conservation of the bottles must then be adapted to the type of cork, in order to preserve the taste quality of the wine. You now know how to store your bottles without risking damaging them.