Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

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David_K
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#1 Post by David_K » May 4th, 2017, 6:11 pm

Due to a lack of storage space, I have several cases of wine - wines I want to age - in my cool, damp New England basement in the boxes they came in from the store, standing up. I don't have the capacity to put in more shelves at the moment. I understand short-term vertical storage is unlikely to harm the bottles or dry out the corks, but how long is short-term, really? Realistically, we have another 2-3 years in this place before moving and either getting a larger cellar or switching to offsite storage.

Should I go out of my way to buy boxes that will store the wines horizontally until a better solution comes around, or will they be ok for the next couple of years?
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#2 Post by Charlie Carnes » May 4th, 2017, 6:22 pm

Go check wine a couple of local wine stores. They usually have tons of horizontal stackers that they end up throwing away. Plus, that style of box usually stacks a little better.
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#3 Post by Brian Tuite » May 4th, 2017, 6:24 pm

Turn the boxes over so the corks are down. I did that for 5-10 years without issue other than sediment collecting at the cork.
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#4 Post by Bdklein » May 4th, 2017, 6:49 pm

Why can't you just turn the boxes sideways/horizontal . That's what i do, after taping up the tops of the boxes a bit.
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#5 Post by David_K » May 4th, 2017, 6:54 pm

Bdklein wrote:Why can't you just turn the boxes sideways/horizontal . That's what i do, after taping up the tops of the boxes a bit.
I could, but I always think what if I want to get something out of one of them? Then I'd have to put it right-side up, slice it open, take the bottle out, tape it up again, etc. Yes, I know, first-world problems...
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#6 Post by James Billy » May 4th, 2017, 7:54 pm

Horizontal boxes for wine that needs more ageing. Vertical boxes for wine for current drinking.

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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#7 Post by Nolan E » May 4th, 2017, 9:07 pm

I store all my wine standing up all the time and have no issue.
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#8 Post by GregT » May 4th, 2017, 11:50 pm

I've stored wine upright for years with no problem. I no longer worry about it. The more I think about it, I don't know why we need to store sideways, other than because you can stack the bottles that way. If your cork is so seriously compromised that touching liquid at one end is required to keep the other end plump, sideways or upright isn't likely to matter.
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#9 Post by Alan Rath » May 5th, 2017, 12:00 am

What Greg said. I'll take it a step further: I've come to believe that storing wines standing up is actually better for the cork. The conventional wisdom is that the inner end of the cork needs to be kept moist for the cork to retain its flexibility and keep a good seal. But a proper cork should be such a good seal that none of that moisture it's in contact with gets very far down the cork anyway. Kind of defeats the purpose, if the cork is meant to be wicking moisture along its length to keep it from "drying out".
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#10 Post by James Billy » May 5th, 2017, 4:59 am

Right! You aren't going to get any leaks if the bottle is stored upright.

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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#11 Post by Paul Flynn » May 5th, 2017, 5:43 am

The interior of a wine bottle is 100% humidity. There's no need for the wine to come into contact with the cork to keep it from drying out.
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#12 Post by Brian Tuite » May 5th, 2017, 5:52 am

When wine is bottled the boxes are filled, turned upsidedown and labeled. They are then put on pallets and stored with the bottles inverted. The cork is a seal, the wine does not leak past it. The bottles are not stored upright or on their sides until they reach the retail shelf or the consumer. I would think that the industry knows what's best for their product but what do I know. You guys are just way too intelligent for the rest of us. pileon
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#13 Post by Ian Sutton » May 5th, 2017, 6:38 am

There are certainly people who believe upright is better than horizontal, but I know of no study that has attempted to settle that debate.
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#14 Post by David_S » May 5th, 2017, 10:09 pm

I did the tops down thing, but just put them in the the boxes that way. So I didn't have to seal the boxes and it was simple to find the right box and pull one out.
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#15 Post by GregT » May 5th, 2017, 10:19 pm

Brian - that's a little different. Actually, you don't want to put the bottles upside down immediately. At least most of the producers I've dealt with don't do that. The reason is that the corks are compressed when installed and it takes a little while for them to completely expand. Storing upside down later is common but maybe that's just old school thinking. I don't think it is necessary.
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#16 Post by Andrew Morris » May 5th, 2017, 11:50 pm

GregT wrote:Brian - that's a little different. Actually, you don't want to put the bottles upside down immediately. At least most of the producers I've dealt with don't do that. The reason is that the corks are compressed when installed and it takes a little while for them to completely expand. Storing upside down later is common but maybe that's just old school thinking. I don't think it is necessary.
It also depends on if the line has vacuum or how effective the vacuum is. Our line has no vacuum, so we stand upright for 24 hours so that pressure from corking can equalize. If we stand them head down right away, some wine comes out.
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#17 Post by John O' » May 6th, 2017, 3:21 am

Brian Tuite wrote:Turn the boxes over so the corks are down. I did that for 5-10 years without issue other than sediment collecting at the cork.
This.
I've been storing many this way due to a lack of rack space and have never had a problem aside from the aforementioned sediment at the cork. A quick turn with a paper towel solves that problem.
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#18 Post by Ian Sutton » May 6th, 2017, 5:47 am

John O' wrote:
Brian Tuite wrote:Turn the boxes over so the corks are down. I did that for 5-10 years without issue other than sediment collecting at the cork.
This.
I've been storing many this way due to a lack of rack space and have never had a problem aside from the aforementioned sediment at the cork. A quick turn with a paper towel solves that problem.
Easy solution, flash freeze the wine and sabre the neck off. [berserker.gif] [wink.gif]
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#19 Post by Brian Tuite » May 6th, 2017, 6:05 am

GregT wrote:Brian - that's a little different. Actually, you don't want to put the bottles upside down immediately. At least most of the producers I've dealt with don't do that. The reason is that the corks are compressed when installed and it takes a little while for them to completely expand. Storing upside down later is common but maybe that's just old school thinking. I don't think it is necessary.
On the bottling lines I've worked on the cases roll off the line, the labels are put on upside down and the next guy takes the box, turns it over and puts it on the pallet. Or is it pallete or palate? [wink.gif] Of course YMMV.
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#20 Post by Dennis Borczon » May 6th, 2017, 6:06 am

How long are you planning to live? I suppose if these wines are going to your decendants in Galmis Castle you might want to take the precaution of storing them sideways. But for a few years, doubt there will be any issue. What's more humid than the inside of a wine bottle?

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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#21 Post by Mel Knox » May 6th, 2017, 5:22 pm

A friend of mine worked at Mondavi where they did an experiment along these lines. They concluded that as long as the humidity is OK, no worries.
I would add that if the humidity is too low, nothing will save you.
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#22 Post by David_K » May 6th, 2017, 7:30 pm

Glad to see this generated a spirited debate. I will probably keep things the way they currently are for now (out of sheer laziness), but I'll be on the lookout for any horizontal boxes if I come across any empties at stores.
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#23 Post by GregT » May 6th, 2017, 8:12 pm

Brian - Do they actually bottle, box, and turn upside down immediately? And never any leaks? Now that I think about it, I never actually watched it in the US.
It also depends on if the line has vacuum or how effective the vacuum is. Our line has no vacuum, so we stand upright for 24 hours so that pressure from corking can equalize. If we stand them head down right away, some wine comes out.
Andrew - do you use any gas?
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#24 Post by Andrew Morris » May 6th, 2017, 9:09 pm

GregT wrote:Brian - Do they actually bottle, box, and turn upside down immediately? And never any leaks? Now that I think about it, I never actually watched it in the US.
It also depends on if the line has vacuum or how effective the vacuum is. Our line has no vacuum, so we stand upright for 24 hours so that pressure from corking can equalize. If we stand them head down right away, some wine comes out.
Andrew - do you use any gas?
Yes. We sparge with N.
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#25 Post by Andrew Morris » May 6th, 2017, 9:10 pm

Mel Knox wrote:A friend of mine worked at Mondavi where they did an experiment along these lines. They concluded that as long as the humidity is OK, no worries.
I would add that if the humidity is too low, nothing will save you.
I have heard that they never flip. As policy, they the all the wines top up.
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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#26 Post by john stimson » May 6th, 2017, 10:43 pm

Nice thing, if you want to try a bottle, you don't have to think to stand it up for a week (or a month for a barolo).

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Storing wine vertically/standing up -- OK for how long?

#27 Post by Sanjay Nandurkar » May 7th, 2017, 3:37 am

All cellars need to be redesigned now with vertical storage.

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