You’re Storing Your Wine Wrong

Wine racks that store bottles on their side are a waste of space and money according to a new study. The head of research and development at Amorim Cork, the largest producer and supplier of cork stoppers in the world, claims that storing wine on its side won’t keep corks from drying out.

“The cork will never dry out with almost 100 percent humidity in the headspace, so it is a myth that you need to store a bottle on its side,” Miguel Cabral said at a conference in Portugal, according to The Drinks Business. But he didn’t stop there. He also added that having the cork permanently in contact with wine could actually make the cork deteriorate faster. That’s one of the main reasons that experts say you shouldn’t store whiskey on its side.

Cabral’s statement contradicts the number one rule that wine experts—and every wine publication out there—says about storing wine. It was previously thought that wine should always be on its side otherwise the cork will dry out and oxygen will get in the bottle and harm the wine. The cork is impacted by the humidity inside the bottle, however, not the humidity outside the bottle. Which also means that you don’t need to store your wine in a damp cellar for it to age gracefully. Considering this is coming from the guy responsible for developing the best corks possible for the company that makes more corks than anyone else in the world, he might be worth listening to.

Also shocking: This is old knowledge, people just don’t want to hear it, Cabral says. He leans on a study published in 2005 by the Australian Wine Research Institute that tested corks on both upright bottles and ones on their side. They found that the wetness of the cork was different but that didn’t mean it was better off. The real thing people should be worried about, according to the study, is temperature. Heat will make your wine deteriorate faster.

To really put a cork in the whole discussion, Cabral added this crystallization of the notion: “The idea that storing a wine on its side to stop the cork drying out is bullsh*t.”