Part Four: Storage Angle – Proper Wine Storage is Key to Great Tasting Wine
Storage angle of the wine bottle and the integrity of the cork stopper are essential to preserving the integrity of your wine. Wine bottles should always be stored either horizontally, or at a slightly negative inclination to keep the wine in constant contact with the cork, which keeps the cork swollen and thereby ensure no air enters the bottle.
Wine corks are part of the proper wine storage solution
Corks are typically made from the bark of cork oak trees. The cork oak (Quercus suber) is native to the Mediterranean region, where most of the world’s commercial supply of cork is obtained. Because of its impermeability, buoyancy, elasticity, and fire resistance, it is used in a variety of products, the most common of which is the wine stopper.
After about ten years in a wine bottle the cork can sometimes deteriorate, with the rate of deterioration being affected by ambient storage temperature and humidity. Warmer and excessively humid storage environments cause growth of molds, which attack both the cork and the label. Insufficient humidity may cause the cork to dry and crumble, in which case it should be replaced.
So what should you do to prevent either of these unfortunate scenarios?
Store your wine at a proper angle
When wine is stored on its side, the cork remains wet. When wet, the transmission of air through the cork into the wine is minimized. When bottles are stored upright, the cork eventually dries out and oxygen in the air causes chemical changes in the wine, spoiling it. In addition, the cork may work loose due to pressure changes and cause leakage or exposure to air.
View our wine racks with several configurations of side-angled bottle holders (which also help reduce vibration) for longer term storage options.
TIP: Of course there is one exception to this rule and that’s when you’re dealing with fortified wines. Fortified wines should be stored standing up … but … there’s even an exception to this rule and that exception concerns Port. Ports should be stored on their sides.
Plastic wine stoppers?
Since we’re on the topic of corks, we should briefly make mention of plastic corks.
Generally speaking, plastic corks work fine and some people feel they provide a better seal. Plastic corks don’t deteriorate. They also prevent the wine from adopting cellar notes. You’ll still want to be concerned with the other wine storage factors we’ve touched in in this series: light, temperature, etc, but with plastic corks humidity becomes less of an issue. And of course, there is the romance factor which is lost with plastic corks and screw tops. What do you think?
Thanks for reading Rosehill’s Proper Wine Storage series. In case you missed any entries, here they are for your enjoyment: