From intricate storage racks to humidified wine cellars, conventional wisdom tells us the key to storing wine is keeping the cork moist. We do this by storing bottles on their sides, preventing the corks from drying out at all cost. But according to scientist Dr. Miguel Cabral, none of this is true.
As reported in the Drinks Business, Cabral, who is the director of R&D for Portuguese cork company Amorim, says the belief that wine should be in contact with cork at all times — and hence, stored on its side — is apparently “bullshit.”
“The cork will never dry out with almost 100 percent humidity in the headspace, so it is a myth that you need to store a bottle on its side,” Cabral said during a discussion in Portugal last week. He went on to dispel the “myth” that wine needs to be stored in a damp cellar.
“The humidity of the environment around the bottle won’t have any influence, because the cork is influenced by the humidity inside the bottle,” he said.
Cabral claims his theory is backed by a study published by the Australian Wine Research Institute 13 years ago.
The abstract to the 2005 paper says that “bottle orientation during storage under the conditions of this study had little effect on the composition and sensory properties of the wines examined.”
Even if Cabral’s theory is true, storing wine on its side has numerous benefits when it comes to saving space and accessibility. We don’t see his claims stacking up to wine cellars worldwide.