Thanks PurpleHaze! For some reason I thought that because sparkling wine is under pressure and carbonated that it should not be stored on its side, but the more I thought about it, I could not remember actually reading that anywhere.
Carbon dioxide is heavier than oxygen and thus hinders oxygen to come into contact with the wine, should small amounts of oxygen leak into the bottle past the cork. Consequently you can store sparkling wine in upright position.
There is an argument that in an upright position the wine does not come into contact with the cork, and as such cork taint would not be transferred to the wine. I have however heard anecdotal evidence of TCA transferring without actual physical contact with the wine, so if that holds true, it would mean the argument is of no consequence.
But the fact remains that it is easier for me to store my bottles horizontally than vertically and that is the only factor that has any influence on my choice of positioning of my sparklers.
What you say is totally logical, PH, but conventional wisdom seems to be that upright storage, even if the cork becomes dry, is not injurious to Champagne. We visited a Napa wine maker where we saw his private (impressive) cellar and all his Champagnes were standing upright. He says the seal is made when the cork is put on, the pressure from the wire keeps it constant, and the layer of gas below the cork prevents oxidation. Ergo, upright storage. It seems to make sense.
We had a bit of discussion about Champagne corks here a while back, though I don't know that it sheds any more light on the issue.
I agree with Sequam but in addition to what Sequam said, I should point out that I'm not convinced by the entire keeping-the-cork-moist argument.
Modern corks are coated with a film of silicone and paraffin, both hydrophobic substances, and thus as far as I can understand a cork would not be affected by moisture unless that film is faulty.
The question is acedemic to me onlyI do store my wine bottles horizontally, as the headspace in an upright bottle allows for oxygen to gather there in case there is an ingress of air (except in the case of sparkling wine), as compared to a horizontal bottle where the wine is pressed firmly towards the cork.
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