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Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Like many people these days, I've decided to invest in a wine storage facility to keep my wine safely stored (and safe from me, as well). The only problem is that in order to fit as many cases as the facility said was possible, I have to store the bottles upright, or upside-down. (I opted for upside-down.) Are either of these standards of storage feasible long-term, or do I succumb to the ideal horizontal storage and settle for fewer bottles in the locker?
—Rob H., Burbank, Calif.
Storing your wines horizontally is best. When a bottle is sideways, the wine stays in contact with the cork, keeping it wet so that that cork will not dry out, shrink up and let air get into the wine, causing premature oxidation. Upside down is definitely better than right side up to keep the cork moist. But when I've stored wines neck down, the sediment collects on the cork, making it difficult to separate the wine from the sediment. It's also tempting fate (and leaky bottles). But if you're not experiencing leaks, and if sediment isn't going to be an issue, it sounds like your wines are OK.
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