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Dear Dr. Vinny,
A recent visitor to Champagne claims the proper way to store sparkling wine is upright, not on its side. I would like to know the proper way to store both vintage Champagne for cellaring purposes as well as short-term storage for NV. Thanks for your help.
—Caroline, New York
If a bottle of wine—be it still or sparkling—has a cork in it, it should be stored on its side. You want the liquid inside to stay in contact with the cork so that it doesn't dry out, become crumbly, and encourage premature aging. I've never heard of any exceptions for sparklers. How good is your friend's French?
For the very short term, it's probably OK to keep a bottle upright—but it takes up the same amount of space no matter how you store it, so why not hedge your bets and store it on its side? I know we all can't afford state-of-the-art cellars, so if the best you can do is the corner of a closet, then put a wine case box on its side and stash the wine in that. (You can pick up an empty case box at a grocery store or wine shop.)
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