And how you can stop it.
This Is Why You Should Never Store Your Wine Standing Up
Keep your wine in peak condition.
By Katie Frost
There’s nothing worse than sitting down to enjoy a glass of your favorite wine, only to have the cork break or crumble in the bottle, creating a devastating scene as you try to rescue the bottle from dry cork fragments. Turns out, it’s not the cork’s fault — but the way you stored your wine in the first place.
“Bottles of wine should be stored horizontally to keep the wine in contact with the cork and help prevent the cork from drying out,” wine critic and writer Joanna Simon told Cosmopolitan UK.
If the cork is left to go dry, it can become brittle, leading to those little pieces of cork floating around in your wine glass.
“Corks can become crumbly and friable with age — it being a natural product,” Simon added, noting that the tools you use to crack open a bottle can be crucial. “Poor corkscrews, with a sharp bevelled edge, rather than a smooth, rounded one, are more likely to break corks.”
Corked wine is often used to describe wine that smells or tastes bad, but the term relates to the cork itself. “Most corked wines, including most of the worst, most musty, dank smelling wines, are the result of the cork being tainted with a very powerful chemical compound known as TCA,” Simon explained.
“This transfers from the cork to the wine. The main way it gets into the cork is when the cork is being processed and is treated with chlorinated anti-fungal products.”
Sadly, it’s not an easy problem to solve. “A corked wine can’t be ‘cured,’ so there is nothing the poor wine drinker can do about it,” Simon said.
The best way to avoid any cork-related wine issues? Stick to screwcaps. And if you are saving that special bottle of red with a cork top, keep it horizontal.