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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I have just discovered that I’ve been storing the wines that I’ve been collecting from all over the world wrong: They are standing upright. Is there anything I can do to reverse the effects? Or any tips to salvage the wines?

—Sophie, London

Dear Sophie,

Without a time machine, there’s no way to reverse how a wine has been aging. The thing to do now is to focus on the future. That means from now on, do your best to store your wines in ideal conditions—steady 55° F, 70 percent humidity, away from light, heat and vibration, with the bottles stored on their sides.

Before you fret too much, keep in mind that your wine could be totally fine. The reason for storing a wine on its side is because corks can sometimes dry out, letting air in and making a wine fade and prematurely age. By storing a bottle on its side, the inside part of the cork will stay wet, making the cork less likely to dry out. You might be lucky and your environment might be humid enough to never have compromised the corks.

If the corks have failed, there’s nothing you can do to salvage the wines. The only way to find out if the wines are faded is to open the bottles.

—Dr. Vinny

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