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The necessity of storing corked bottles on their side a busted myth?

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Jim Welch

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I just read an article that quotes a Dr. Miguel Cabral, Amorim’s director of R&D,
as saying that corked wines do not have to be stored on their sides. He says it is a myth the corks will dry out due to the nearly 100% humidity present in the headspace! The article goes so far as quoting him as saying this common belief is “bulls**t”!!

Amorim is one of the biggest manufacturers of corks btw, according to my not extensive research.

Has anyone heard this?
What say ye?

It seems to make perfect sense to me, if true it would make storing wines for me much simpler since I went on, for me at least, a wine making bender this year! And I live in a relatively small house.
 

Jim Welch

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Yes, I read many of those comments but it seems to me they are almost all, if not completely all, anecdotal! I am presuming a person that holds a PhD. would only cite scientific, controlled experiments. As at lest one of those comments mentions cork size and quality MUST (emphasis added) be taken into account. Now I’m not saying one side or the other of this issue is correct but this practice of storing bottles on their side surely dates to far before the scientific age of rigorously controlled experiments.
 

1d10t

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Yes, I read many of those comments but it seems to me they are almost all, if not completely all, anecdotal! I am presuming a person that holds a PhD. would only cite scientific, controlled experiments. As at lest one of those comments mentions cork size and quality MUST (emphasis added) be taken into account. Now I’m not saying one side or the other of this issue is correct but this practice of storing bottles on their side surely dates to far before the scientific age of rigorously controlled experiments.
The most complete answer did site another study that I didn't bother to look up though. The thing is that some of the anecdotal stuff involved time periods longer than the study. PhD's can be bought and sold by industry. Happens all the time. The courts are full of examples.
 

Rocky

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I will continue to store my wine on its side and I am unimpressed by Dr. Cabral's non-rigorous study and hasty conclusions. Firstly, I would concede that the relative humidity in the bottle is something near 100% if he would concede that only effects the surface of the cork that is inside the bottle. The surface at the other end, the cork would be exposed to ambient RH. If this were low, the cork would dry from the outside and that last micron of cork inside the bottle would not protect the wine. Secondly, I have always believed that the main reason for storing wine on its side was to eliminate air space at the cork and making oxygen penetration into the wine difficult if not impossible. The airspace that remains in the bottle is at the far end isolated by liquid and glass, both of which are essentially impervious to oxygen penetration.

Besides, what am I to do with all these wine racks?!
 

jpwatkins9

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I have seen enough evidence on this to conclude that my wine (if it has Cork) is going to be laid down, not upright. I use grade 2 or 3 corks as I sometimes forget a bottle or 2 and it stays in the closet or cooler for a few extra years. I had a case of French wine that was mistakenly set upright that 10 out of 12 bottles with bad corks. Another case of the same wine that was on top of the other case, but laid down had no bad bottles (sample size 24 bottles). My own experience in the Middle East and in Texas says lay the wine down the wine. Perhaps if you live in a very damp climate you can get away with leaving the upright, but why take the chance?
 

jpwatkins9

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Forgot to say that the time period for that wine was 2 years. I also am a Geologist, so deal with statistics and risk all the time. 24 bottles is not really a valid sample size, and I have no anecdotal data on temperature and humidity levels in that closet, except that we keep the house at 78F during the Summer and 68F during the Winter here in Texas. Sure hated finding those 10 bad bottles.
 

Rice_Guy

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* The historical evidence is that the best storage is in a humid cave/ wine cellar, in flat racks or cases. , , , are we going to say centuries of experimental observation is wrong in 2019? . . I would like to see a few grad students reproduce the test as with all journal articles.
* I can pull out data which quantifies the oxygen transmission rate with various plastics, metalized film bags, oak barrels, aluminum screw caps, nomic corks and even cork corks. We know that there is a risk for gas diffusion and water vapor is a gas. Logically if I can measure it with a solid looking material as LDPE I will also measure it in a material where I can see the pores.
 

JoP

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I will continue to store my wine on its side and I am unimpressed by Dr. Cabral's non-rigorous study and hasty conclusions. Firstly, I would concede that the relative humidity in the bottle is something near 100% if he would concede that only effects the surface of the cork that is inside the bottle. The surface at the other end, the cork would be exposed to ambient RH. If this were low, the cork would dry from the outside and that last micron of cork inside the bottle would not protect the wine. Secondly, I have always believed that the main reason for storing wine on its side was to eliminate air space at the cork and making oxygen penetration into the wine difficult if not impossible. The airspace that remains in the bottle is at the far end isolated by liquid and glass, both of which are essentially impervious to oxygen penetration.

Besides, what am I to do with all these wine racks?!
I totally agree and cellar humidity along with quality corks is very important
I had some bad corks and even though I kept the wine on the side, due to low humidity, I had some leaking bottles
 

skyfire322

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The one thing that will really ruin your day is buying a 5 year old bottle of wine that has been stored upright, only to find the cork has dried out and crumbles upon opening. The wine won't be so good.
That has happened to me way too many times, lol.
 

winemanden

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The thing is with some scientific studies, is that if they are commissioned by an interested party ( Butter, Tobacco, Corks?) to write a study on their product, well they're not going to send in a negative report are they? After all even scientists need funding. Or is that just me being cynical?
 

Rice_Guy

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In every company I have been in I have experienced someone with a hidden bias and they will try to manipulate an outcome. Unfortunately the rules that make the system operate don’t change, so truth seems to come out eventually. It sometimes took years.
The thing is with some scientific studies, is that if they are commissioned by an interested party ( Butter, Tobacco, Corks?) to write a study on their product, well they're not going to send in a negative report are they? After all even scientists need funding. Or is that just me being cynical?
Yes our jobs/ my job was to help customers with how to use the set of products we sold. It was up to the customer to try the product in his environment, , , the and make product with a repetitive customer base.
One time sales don’t survive in the food industry. Margins are small per unit sold.
 

Scooter68

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Yeah, this probably counts as bragging but it's comforting when you move from one job to another in retails sales - then return and find out that 2,3,4 years later your customers are still coming in and asking for you. Ya know you did something right. Treat them right, coach them a little and you gain a lot of loyalty. What that has to do with wine making....I dunno. :d
 
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