After using a Coravin, should a wine bottle still be stored on its side?

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,

After withdrawing approximately 3 ounces of wine from a bottle using the Coravin, does it then make any difference in storing that tapped bottle horizontally or vertically?

It seems that the minimal amount of argon gas injected into the bottle would not be sufficient to blanket the wine in the bottle that is stored horizontally, but might well be able to protect the wine if it is stored vertically?

—Bob, Pleasant Hill, Calif.

Dear Bob,

Wines sealed with cork—whether or not they’ve been tapped with a Coravin—should be stored on their sides to prevent the cork from drying out.

The folks at Coravin confirm this, suggesting that wines still be stored on their sides after using the Coravin system, but they note that the cork may take an extra minute or so to fully re-seal after the needle is removed from a chilled bottle.

As you mention, the Coravin replaces the wine removed from the bottle with inert argon gas, which helps pressurize the inside of the bottle and, because it is heavier than oxygen, provides a protective blanket that prevents the wine from oxidizing. Even though the surface area of the wine in the bottle changes if the bottle is upright or on its side (or even at an angle) the liquid in the bottle and the argon gas will both settle to their lowest points as gravity dictates, so while the layer of argon gas blanketing the larger surface area of wine inside a bottle on its side may be thinner than the layer protecting an upright bottle, the layer will still be evenly distributed across the surface of the wine.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny Corks Storage

More In Dr. Vinny

Is it true that Madeira never goes bad? Why?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why Madeira is immune to many of the hazards of …

Jul 10, 2020

Can I keep a half-full bottle of wine and serve it a few weeks later?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how wine changes once the cork comes out of the …

Jul 8, 2020

In what ways do old and new wines smell and taste differently?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how wines change in flavor and aroma as they age.

Jul 6, 2020

Is it possible to “fix” cork-tainted wine with plastic wrap? How does that work?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains where cork taint comes from, and why PVC wrap …

Jul 3, 2020

If most vines are grafted onto rootstocks, why do some grapevines thrive in soils where others struggle?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny, with an assist from U.C. Davis' viticulture department, …

Jul 1, 2020

What does “buttery” mean when talking about Chardonnay?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains where "buttery" flavors come from in wine.

Jun 29, 2020