Why should I put my wine bottle down to preserve it?
If it is advisable to lay down your wine bottles, it is because it is important that the cork, when it is made of cork, remains in contact with the wine. The liquid thus moistens the cork and prevents it from drying out, shrinking and then crumbling. The cork would then lose its watertightness and allow too much air into the bottle. This entry of air, called oxidation, results in the oxidation of the wine. Nevertheless, very small particles of oxygen are necessary for the ageing of wine in the bottle, which is why only the cork stopper allows the wine to age, since it lets in minute quantities.
Keeping the bottles lying down does not favour the cork taste
The cork taste comes from a molecule, trichloroanisole (TCA). This molecule is present in some corks. It develops in the cork and then migrates into the wine when it comes into contact with the cork or via the air between the cork and the wine. If the cork has been attacked by the cork taint molecule, the wine will be altered, regardless of whether it is standing or lying down. The storage position of the bottle has no influence on the corky taste.
Do bottles with a screw cap need to lie down as well?
No. Other synthetic corks or screw caps do not need to be moistened by the wine to avoid drying out. These bottles can then be stored upright without any problem as this type of wine is meant to be consumed within a year and not to be kept for several years in the cellar.
Does this also work for other types of alcohol?
Spirits such as Port, Banyuls or Maury are the exceptions that prove the rule. It is not compulsory to put them down because they do not work like wine, they have been mutated by brandy. Champagne and other sparkling wines should also be stored vertically. Because the gas that slowly escapes from them is enough to moisten the cork.