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Dear Dr. Vinny,
Which red wines are supposed to be stored upside-down? I don’t know much about wine since I only started drinking it last year. I know that white wines are stored right-side up, but what about blush?
—Cheryl, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Welcome to the world of wine! We are glad to have you.
If you buy a bottle of wine and you’re not going to drink it right away, you’ve got to think about where to store it. As you probably know, keeping it away from light and heat will give your wine extra life. If you’ve ever been in a wine cellar or wine cave, you’ll note that it’s cool, humid and kind of dark in there, so do your best to mimic those things. That said, I suggest avoiding your food refrigerator for long-term storage.
Taking things a step further, it’s considered a good idea to store your wine on its side, particularly if the bottle of wine is sealed with a cork. That way, the wine on the inside of the bottle will be in contact with the cork, and the thinking is that this contact with the wine can help prevent the cork from drying out, at least from that side. It’s funny you mention “upside-down” as a storage method. In my twenties, before I could afford a wine rack, I kept my wine in a case box in my closet. With the box on its side, the wine kept falling out, so I stored the bottles in an upright case box, with the bottles upside-down. It’s still pretty common to see wine transported or stored that way in a wine shop.
So go ahead and fill your wine rack with all of your wines—red, white or blush. If it has a cork, it can benefit from being stored on its side. Even if it doesn’t have a cork, it can’t hurt to keep all the wine together horizontally.
If you’re wondering which wines are stored or aged for long periods of time, then you’re right that, broadly speaking, red wines are “laid down” or aged more often than whites or blush wines. But if you’re just getting into wine, I wouldn’t worry too much about that. Older wines are a bit of an acquired taste, and require a lot of patience, investment and, if you really want to make sure they age properly, a couple of storage upgrades from your basic wine rack. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to become an obsessed wine collector!
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