Storing Wine On Its Side Is Nonsense, Says Scientist


Storing wine on its side won’t prevent corks drying out, and may even accelerate their degeneration, according to Amorim’s director of R&D, Dr. Miguel Cabral.

During a discussion in Portugal last week, Cabral said that the headspace of a sealed bottle of wine was so moist that there was no need to place bottles on their side to keep the cork damp.

“The cork will never dry out with almost 100% humidity in the headspace, so it is a myth that you need to store a bottle on its side,” he said.

Continuing, he said that such humidity would ensure that the cork “won’t dry out if you store the bottle upright.”

He also said that creating moist ambient conditions during wine storage was unnecessary for bottled wine (although for barrel cellars it is important to reduce evaporation).

“The humidity of the environment around the bottle won’t have any influence, because the cork is influenced by the humidity inside the bottle,” he said, adding, “So the idea that you need to store wine in a damp cellar is another myth.”

He then stated, “The myths are falling down one by one now the cork industry has started doing studies.”

When asked later by the drinks business why wet corks in older wines are sometimes shrunken, he said that having the stopper permanently soaked by wine might actually accelerate the weakening of the cork’s cell structure.

In other words, not only is it unnecessary to keep the cork wet, it may actually be bad for the stopper.


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