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 normal for old wine to be cloudy?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains where sediment comes from and strategies for …

May 27, 2020

I love screwcapped wines, but I had two stored on their sides that started leaking. Is that common?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains proper storage for wines with twist-off caps.

May 25, 2020

What are wine tasters trying to communicate when they describe “texture”?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the concept of "texture" in wine, and how …

May 22, 2020

Can I grow wine grapes in Ohio?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers advice and resources for anyone considering …

May 20, 2020

What’s the best way to keep an open bottle of wine at the ideal serving temp?

Wine Spectator 's expert Dr. Vinny offers some tried-and-true methods for cooling down a …

May 18, 2020

I think there's broken glass inside my wine bottle. How did that happen?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains tartrate crystals, a harmless and naturally …

May 15, 2020