Is it harmful to occasionally move wine bottles around in my cellar?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I have to move the wine in my cellar around a few times a year due to new wine shipments. Is it very harmful to move a bottle occasionally?

—Daniel, Tacoma, Wash.

Dear Daniel,

Moving around wine to organize it should be fine—that’s what I’d consider normal handing. Excessive regular vibrations and disturbances—like if your cellar is over a subway line or next to an airport runway—might cause sediment to be disturbed more frequently than would be advised and could potentially negatively impact the chemical reactions of aging wine and the aging process, but there's not really any scientific evidence of this. Vibration is really the least of your worries when it comes to proper wine storage.

Just be mindful when moving around older wines—say, 10 years or more, especially if you’re planning on drinking them soon—because the sediment will get disturbed and can cause the wine to become cloudy or even gritty. With older bottles with lots of sediment, it's advisable to stand them upright a few days before you want to open them, to let the loose sediment collect at the bottom of the bottle.

—Dr. Vinny

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