The question: I'm planning a renovation that will include a wine cellar or storage area. What's the prevailing wisdom on storing wines – horizontal or vertical? Seems to me I've heard both lately.
The answer: Horizontal is still the way to go for wines sealed under cork.
If you've sensed some confusion about the horizontal-versus-vertical issue, I suspect it's because of screw caps. Bottles sealed with screw caps can be stored either way. The synthetic liner under the cap retains the same seal regardless of the bottle's position. Cork, on the other hand, is an elastic substance and will dry out over time unless kept in contact with the liquid, ensuring a plump, tight seal. If stored upright, you'll not only risk excess evaporation through the (dry) cork's porous fibres, you may also find that the cork will split or disintegrate when you attempt to remove it years down the road.
E-mail your wine and spirits questions to Beppi Crosariol. Look for answers to select questions to appear on The Globe and Mail website.