Before there is a problem? Most wines in shops are upright, so I assume it's not a big problem. My winerack has a row that allows bottles to be "shown" with the wine not touching the cork. How long can I leave them there without worrying?
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Originally posted by Cab Bernet:
Before there is a problem? Most wines in shops are upright, so I assume it's not a big problem.

Most wine in shops is drunk within a few hours of purchase.

Most decent wine shops that I know have the majority of their stock - especially the stuff meant for ageing - lying down.

There are no hard and fast rules. If it's something new that you plan to drink within a short period - a few weeks or even months - I wouldn't fret too much about it, but if it's a prized bottle that you plan to keep for a long time then personally I wouldn't risk it.
How long can a bottle stand upright?

Until something knocks it over.

Actually before I was into wine, I was given a bottle of 1988 Sterling Reserve. I left it next to the stove on the counter, upright, for probably three years. When I did drink it, it was quite good. I wouldn't count on this happening very often though. Lay them down.
I probably wouldn't worry too much about a few weeks or even a bit longer, but if there's even the possibility of storing something long term laying it down it probably the best policy.

As for wine shops - any good one should keep stock lying down, with maybe one bottle upright for display (don't take this bottle if you purchase that wine).
I remember the old store that I worked in, you would walk into the temp. control room and see the bottles sitting ontop to showcase. Wines like mags. of first growths, Petrus and dessert wines sitting upright for months...made me want to puke. I also remember my old boss having a bottle of 1869 Lafite that he bought and let it sit upright in his office baking as I watched the cork rise over the next 6 months! Confused
A FEW WEEKS??!! gimmee a break! You really think that the cork is going to dry out, shrink, leak and ruin the wine if it is upright for "a few weeks, maybe a bit more". Some of you worry too much about this stuff. If you have bottles that you don't plan to touch for "years" instead of "weeks", lay them down out of sight, out of light, preferably between 55-60 degrees or so and don't worry about it. I have a hard time believing you are damaging any wine that you plan to drink within the next year by storing it standing up as long as it is not exposed to extreme temperatures or fluctuations.

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