Should Wine Racks Be Tilted?

Horizontal wine racks by Vinotemp

Learning about wine racks will help you make an informed wine rack purchase while also discovering the best way to store your wine.

Did you know that the position in which wine is stored long-term can affect the way it tastes once it is uncorked? By storing your wine in the optimal orientation, you will ensure your wine has the flavors and aromas designed by the winemaker. There are three positions in which to store your wine; horizontal, tilted, and vertical. There are advantages and disadvantages to each orientation.

The ideal way to store wine is on a horizontal wine rack. When wine is stored on its side, the liquid inside the bottle is wetting the cork. When the cork is consistently moist, it maintains its seal and prevents any unwanted seepage. If the cork dries out, oxidization may occur, causing the wine to spoil. Storing wine on a horizontal wine rack also allows the sediment to settle and fall to the side of the bottle, which prevents spoilage. In addition to helping wine age gracefully, a horizontal wine rack looks beautiful. Many horizontal wine racks position the bottle so that its label faces out, showing off various vineyards’ different colors and designs. Horizontal wine racks are an attractive addition to any space and are available for a variety of installation methods including wall-mounted, tabletop, countertop, or floor installation.

wine bottles attached to piece of wood by bottle neck
Tilted wine racks by Epicureanist

An alternative to horizontal wine racks is tilted racks. Tilted wine racks are not recommended as highly as horizontal wine racks, but they are still okay for use. The key is to purchase a tilted wine rack with a slight tilt so that the cork remains moist, but sediment does not begin to settle in the bottle’s neck.

Vertical wine racks are another alternative to horizontal wine racks. When stored vertically, the wine sits upright with the neck of the bottle pointed towards the ceiling. Vertical racks are acceptable for short-term storage but not ideal as a long-term solution. In the vertical position, no liquid is touching the cork, which may cause it to dry out, leading to oxidization. Still, vertical wine racks are perfect for showing off a few bottles for your next party or to merchandise wine in a restaurant, bar, or store. Vertical wine racking may also be used for wine with screw caps. Since wines with screw caps do not technically have corks, there is no worry about oxidization.

The position you store your wine is important, but so are the other conditions necessary for proper wine storage. In addition to storing wine in the horizontal position, wine should be kept in a consistently cool environment around 55℉ with good relative humidity, away from UV rays, and in a place where it is not subject to unnecessary vibrations. A wine cellar, wine cabinet, or wine refrigerator are all perfect wine storage options that will create the best environment for wine while keeping it secure in the best position.

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