Should Wine Be Stored At An Angle

As someone who enjoys wine, a common question that arises is whether or not it is best to store wine at an angle. The answer to this question is not as simple as it may …

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As someone who enjoys wine, a common question that arises is whether or not it is best to store wine at an angle. The answer to this question is not as simple as it may appear. While some individuals believe that storing wine at an angle is crucial, others argue that it is not necessary. In this article, I will examine this topic and share my personal viewpoint on the matter.

The Myth Behind Storing Wine at an Angle

Let’s start by examining the popular belief that wine bottles should be stored at an angle. The main argument behind this practice is that it keeps the cork moist, preventing it from drying out and allowing oxygen to seep into the bottle. According to this theory, a dry cork would lead to oxidation and spoilage of the wine.

However, it is important to note that this idea originated from the time when most wine bottles were sealed with natural corks. Natural corks are porous and can dry out if not kept in a moist environment. As a result, storing wine bottles on their sides was thought to be necessary to prevent cork shrinkage and preserve the wine’s quality.

The Evolution of Wine Bottle Closures

In recent years, there has been a significant shift in the wine industry towards alternative closures, such as synthetic corks and screw caps. Unlike natural corks, these closures do not require the same level of moisture to maintain their integrity. Therefore, the argument for storing wine at an angle loses some of its validity when applied to these types of closures.

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Furthermore, modern winemaking techniques and improved wine bottle designs have also contributed to the diminishing importance of storing wine at an angle. Winemakers now pay meticulous attention to the quality of their closures, ensuring that they provide an airtight seal. Additionally, wine bottles are often designed to stand upright without compromising the wine’s longevity.

The Role of Temperature and Humidity

While the angle of storage may not have a significant impact on wine quality, there are other factors that play a more crucial role. Two of the most important factors to consider when storing wine are temperature and humidity.

Wine should be stored in a cool, consistent temperature environment, ideally between 45°F (7°C) and 65°F (18°C). Fluctuations in temperature can cause expansion and contraction of the liquid inside the bottle, which may lead to a compromised seal or even spoilage.

In addition to temperature, humidity levels should be maintained at around 70% to 80%. Proper humidity prevents the corks from drying out and minimizes the risk of mold growth. Excessive humidity, on the other hand, can damage the labels and potentially affect the wine’s overall presentation.

My Personal Take on Storing Wine at an Angle

After considering the various perspectives and information available, I have come to the conclusion that storing wine at an angle is not a critical factor for most modern wines. While it may still be a safe practice for wines sealed with natural corks, the majority of wines today are equipped with closures that do not require the same level of moisture to maintain their quality.

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Ultimately, the key to preserving the integrity of your wine lies in controlling the temperature and humidity levels. Whether you choose to store your bottles horizontally or vertically, be sure to find a suitable environment that provides the optimal conditions for aging your wine.

Conclusion

The debate over whether wine should be stored at an angle has been ongoing for years. While it may have been a necessary practice in the past, advancements in winemaking techniques and alternative closures have lessened its importance. Instead, focusing on maintaining the ideal temperature and humidity levels will provide a better guarantee for preserving the quality of your wine. So, next time you find yourself pondering over the angle of your wine bottles, remember that it’s what’s inside the bottle that truly matters.

John has been a hobbyist winemaker for several years, with a few friends who are winery owners. He writes mostly about winemaking topics for newer home vintners.
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