Can I store my bottles upside down?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

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.

Dear Rob,

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.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny

More In Dr. Vinny

Is it OK to brush my teeth before tasting wine? Does toothpaste change the way wine tastes?

Wine Spectator's resident wine expert Dr. Vinny explains why brushing your teeth and wine …

Sep 26, 2022

What’s the difference between Hermitage and Ermitage? Are they the same wine?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what the H is going on with Hermitage vs. …

Sep 19, 2022

When traveling, are any wines more or less susceptible to bottle shock than others?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the phenomenon of "bottle shock" and how to …

Sep 12, 2022

What’s the best way to remove a crumbly wine cork? I’ve tried everything!

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers tips for extracting crumbly corks, and how to …

Sep 7, 2022

What’s the difference between Petite Sirah and Syrah?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains that Syrah and Petite Sirah have quite a bit in …

Aug 29, 2022

I have about 50 bottles of wine. Should I buy a wine fridge?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers advice for when to upgrade your wine storage at …

Aug 22, 2022