Why is Wine Stored its Side?

Having a wine cellar in your house offers a number of fantastic benefits for wine lovers. You get the ability to buy your wine in bulk, saving you a bunch of money as opposed to paying per bottle. For wine lovers living in Minnesota, having a wine cellar means you always have the perfect bottle on hand. So if a nasty storm hits and you don’t want to brave the conditions to get a bottle of wine, all you need to do is retrieve a bottle from your cellar, light a warm and toasty fire, and enjoy your evening.

But how should you be storing wine in your home? Should bottle stand vertically, or lay on their sides? We got the answers for you!

Should Wine be Stored on its Side?

How to store wine is a common question we hear from homeowners getting started on their wine collection. And for good reason. When you’re looking to purchase wine racks, you’ll find some that store horizontally and some that stand straight. At the liquor store, as your stroll the aisles looking for a bottle, you’ll probably notice that some wines are standing, and others are on their side. So which is it?

Drumroll please…wine should be stored on its side.

The reason wine should be stored on it’s side is because of oxygen. Oxygen reacts with the chemicals in your wine to change its flavor compounds. It’s through that process that wine ages and develops greater quality and flavor over time. Like life itself, without oxygen, wine can’t age.

While wine requires the presence of oxygen to age and preserve it’s flavor, too much oxygen can spoil the wine. Too-much oxygen reacts with the alcohol in wine to form acetic acid, or vinegar, which as you might imagine will spoil the taste of your wine.

Storing Wine on its Side Preserves and Increases Flavor

So how do you control the amount of oxygen that comes in contact with the wine?  This is where the wine cork plays a starring role.

A wine cork may simply look like like fancy lid, but it plays a very specific and important role in your wine’s ability to preserve the taste it’s creator intended for you to enjoy. Corks serve as the perfect solution to the oxygen problem wine faces.

A cork can expand and contract slightly as its environment changes (temperature, humidity, light, etc). When you store a bottle of wine upright the cork remains high and dry as it is not in contact with the wine.  When this happens, the cork can dry out, and when it dries, it shrinks, leaving room for air to enter the bottle and let oxygen react with the wine. That air leads to spoiled wine.

However, when you store a bottle of wine properly on its side, the liquid keeps the cork moist.  The cork keeps its intended size, and maintains a tight seal against the outside air. The only air that gets in is through the small pores in the cork, which are designed to let in the perfect amount of oxygen.

The reason that you commonly find wine standing upright in stores is simply to grab your attention. If wine is stood up for short periods of time, the cork won’t dry out and the oxygen flow will remain steady. But for your home wine cellar where wine might be stored for months or years, absolutely ensure that the wine is stored on it’s side so you preserve the flavor and taste of your wine.

Give Your Wine Cellar the Best Storage Environment with Harkraft

At Harkraft, we have helped homeowners create a wide range of wine storage system. Everything from beautiful storage racks, temperature controlled rooms, chilled wine fridges, and even converting seldom-used closets into impeccable wine cellars.

To improve your current wine cellar, or to get started on creating a wine cellar for your home, contact Harkraft today.