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Dear Dr. Vinny,

What if wine bottles were filled completely, so that there were no ullage? Would you be able to store bottles upright without risk of the cork drying out?

—Drago B., Slovenia

Dear Drago,

I see how you’re thinking, but I don’t think it would work. Ullage is the unfilled space inside the top of a bottle of wine. It’s not there by accident—ullage allows for the expansion of the wine as its temperature changes, just in case it needs it. And even with that extra space, you will still on occasion encounter corks that have leaked because the wine got too hot. Opening a bottle of wine that was filled all the way to the top would also probably be a pretty messy undertaking! I think we'll still be storing wine bottles on their sides for a long time to come.

—Dr. Vinny

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