The Wine Storage-Cork Connection

The Wine Storage-Cork Connection
Wine racks for proper wine storage and wet corks-- from Rosehill Wine Cellars.
A fundamental of wine storage is placing wine on horizontal racks, to protect the cork. (Photo: Wine Racks from Rosehill Wine Cellars)

Wine storage is widely known to be best in cellar-like conditions, but far fewer wine drinkers understand the importance of the cork. The idea behind creating a wine cellar is to provide the perfect environment for wine to be stored so that it ages properly. For storage of a year or more, natural cork in a wine bottle is a crucial component in the process of wine maturation. The fact that most wine racks are built to store wine horizontally has to do with the cork, but that’s not all. The cork takes the spotlight in wine cellars in several ways.

Horizontal wine racks

For a cork to perform the way it is meant to, it must stay wet by maintaining contact with the wine. Horizontal wine racks are ideal because they keep the cork wet. If the cork does not stay wet, the result will be that the cork dries out, shrinks, and allows oxygen to get to the wine. This results in oxidation. Oxidized wine turns into vinegar, totally spoiling the anticipated flavor and enjoyment of the wine.

Constant Wine Storage Temperature

An essential part of wine storage is maintaining a constant temperature that rarely fluctuates. When there are swings in temperature, the wine will continuously expand and contract, which ultimately damages the cork’s integrity. As the cork is pulled in and out by the effects of changing temperatures, eventually, wine can seep along the outer edge of the cork, between the bottle neck and the cork. This allows air in, which is another way wine becomes oxidized. Due to the importance of maintaining a constant temperature, wine cellars are best built by professionals who understand how to properly insulate a wine cellar and how to choose a wine cellar cooling unit of the correct size for the space.

Clean Environment

Another fundamental aspect of proper wine storage is keeping the environment clean and free of foodstuffs and other items that introduce strong smells. Odors can permeate corks and contaminate the wine. Don’t store bleach or foods such as cheeses in your wine cellar, since they can ruin the wine through the cork. If mice and insects are drawn to the cellar because of the presence of food, they also tend to chew corks and gnaw on wine labels.

Experts in Wine Storage

The professional builders at Rosehill Wine Cellars know all the details of proper wine storage, including the significance of wine corks. There is an undeniable connection between wine storage and corks, just as proper wine storage is linked to enjoying the taste of fine bottles of wine.