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Dear Dr. Vinny,
Is it OK to store Cabernets in a riddling rack?
—David S., Powell, Ohio
Riddling racks are pretty cool. Developed by Madame Clicquot of the Veuve Clicquot Champagne house in the early 1800s, they are a way to hold bottles of wine during the process of making sparkling wine in the méthode traditionelle. The rack can hold the wine bottle in a variety of positions, depending on how you tilt them. During the riddling process, the bottles are rotated from horizontal to vertical over days, working the sediment into the bottle neck so it’s easier to remove during disgorgement.
The racks are really handsome, and I’ve seen versions that are free-standing as well as ones that can be mounted to a wall. They can be quite a statement piece, and there’s nothing wrong with storing wine in them, it’s a good way to keep the bottles horizontal, which will be helpful if the wine is bottled with a cork. Of course, storing bottles on their sides is only one piece of the proper wine storage puzzle. Keeping that at proper temperature and away from light and vibration are also key.
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