Should wines topped with screwcaps be stored on their sides? What about sparkling wines?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

Should wines topped with screwcaps be stored on their sides? What about sparkling wines?

—Stan, Auburn, N.Y.

Dear Stan,

As you know, wines topped with cork should be stored on their sides, to ensure that the cork remains in contact with the wine so that it won’t dry out, which can result in premature aging.

Champagnes and most other sparkling wines are sealed with cork, but some experts say that the high pressure inside the bottle eliminates the need to store them on their side. However, we store sparkling wine on its side anyway because that’s how all the other bottles in the cellar are stored, and we think it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Wines topped with screwcaps obviously don’t have corks that are at risk of drying out, so it’s fine to store them upright, but again, the rest of the wines in the cellar are stored on their sides, so we store screwcap-topped wines that way as well.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny aging-wine cellars storage

More In Dr. Vinny

What does "père et fils" indicate on a wine label?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains a few of the French terms you might see on a …

Jul 5, 2022

Once chilled, must a wine stay chilled? Is it ruined if it warms up again?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny debunks the myth that wine shouldn't be chilled and then …

Jun 27, 2022

Does Pinot Noir come in both red and white versions? Are they the same grape?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how red wines get their color. (Hint: It's not …

Jun 22, 2022

If you're supposed to hold a wineglass by the stem, why are stemless glasses so popular?

Wine Spectator's resident wine expert Dr. Vinny explains the pros and cons of stemless …

Jun 13, 2022

How much do our taste buds influence our perception of wine?

Wine Spectator's resident wine expert Dr. Vinny explains how taste sensitivity impacts our …

Jun 6, 2022

What's the shelf life of a box of wine?

Wine Spectator's resident wine expert, Dr. Vinny, explains why box wines aren't meant to …

May 31, 2022