Which way up?
Store your table wines horizontally so the wine is in contact with their cork. Keeping the cork wet will prevent it from drying out and shrinking. If the cork were to shrink, oxygen will get into your wine. And oxygen is the greatest enemy to a good wine and will turn it into vinegar.
Store the bottle with the label up. This will benefit you in three ways:
- You can easily see what the wine is. You don’t have to disturb the bottle to see what you’ve got in the cellar.
- The sediment that forms in a good wine will form on the opposite side of the label. You can see how heavy it is when the time comes to open the bottle and you decide to decant it or serve it from the bottle.
- The label is less likely to be damaged. If you’re storing the wine as an investment, a damaged label will reduce the value. If you’re cellaring your wines because you want to enjoy good wines, a damaged label could disrupt your enjoyment of this wine.
Keep wines in their original wooden cases or original packaging. If you keep fine wines to enjoy, then the original packaging will add to the enjoyment however if you’re keeping your wines as an investment then you most certainly have to keep the original packaging; it will add significantly to the value of your collection.
Contrary to common belief, sparkling wines and champagnes can be stored standing up. The carbon dioxide naturally produced in the secondary fermentation of the wine will form a layer in the neck and protect the wine from contact with the air. Carbon dioxide is heavier than air and will sit on top of the wine. The oxygen (if there is any in there) will sit above the carbon dioxide.
Summary: Store your wine on its side.
Lay it on its side