Why Do You Store Wine On Its Side

As a wine enthusiast, a common question that arises is why do we store wine horizontally? This is a topic that sparks interest and contemplation among those who enjoy wine. In this article, I will …

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As a wine enthusiast, a common question that arises is why do we store wine horizontally? This is a topic that sparks interest and contemplation among those who enjoy wine. In this article, I will thoroughly explore the rationale behind this longstanding tradition and offer my own personal opinions and observations.

The Origins of Storing Wine on its Side

The tradition of storing wine horizontally dates back centuries and has its roots in the winemaking regions of Europe. In the early days, wine bottles were made of glass, which was not as strong as the materials used today. Storing wine horizontally ensured that the liquid came into contact with the cork, keeping it moist and thus preventing it from drying out and shrinking. This minimized the risk of air seeping into the bottle and spoiling the wine.

Over time, the practice of storing wine on its side became ingrained in winemaking culture, and it continues to be followed by both winemakers and wine collectors around the world.

The Science Behind Horizontal Storage

While the historical reasons behind horizontal storage are intriguing, there is also a scientific basis for this practice. Wine bottles sealed with corks are not completely airtight, and a small amount of oxygen can enter the bottle over time. When wine is stored on its side, the surface area of the wine in contact with the air is minimized. This slows down the oxidation process, helping the wine retain its flavors and aromas for a longer period.

Furthermore, storing wine horizontally also allows any sediments or particles in the wine to settle evenly along the side of the bottle. This makes it easier to pour the wine without disturbing the sediment, resulting in a clearer, more enjoyable drinking experience.

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My Personal Experience

Having stored my own wine collection for several years, I can vouch for the benefits of storing wine on its side. Not only does it help maintain the quality and integrity of the wine, but it also adds an aesthetic appeal to the cellar or wine storage area. It’s a visual reminder of the precious bottles waiting to be enjoyed.

One of the joys of being a wine enthusiast is the anticipation of opening a well-aged bottle. When the moment finally arrives, knowing that the wine has been stored in optimal conditions adds to the excitement and enhances the overall experience.


So, why do we store wine on its side? It’s a combination of tradition, science, and practicality. Storing wine horizontally ensures that the cork remains moist, preventing unwanted air from entering the bottle. It also slows down the oxidation process and allows sediments to settle evenly, resulting in a more enjoyable drinking experience.

As a wine lover, I encourage you to embrace this time-honored practice and take pride in creating an ideal environment for your wine collection. Cheers to storing and savoring your favorite wines!

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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