Spit Happens #34 What wine would you Buy ?

A recent post on the Vancouver Magazine website asked a former colleague of mine, Michaela Morris, what wines would you buy for $100 ? Link here . This got the wheels turning in my head and I thought it might be worth exploring the concept. I have some preconceived notions about the concept of price in wine and how it relates to quality and uniqueness. I have long stated that the biggest quality increase occur when you go from the 15$ range in BC to the $25 – $30 range. At 15$ you are buying what I call commodity wines. These are wines made to hit a specific price point, generally sound and exhibiting a degree of varietal character. At the next price point you have effectively doubled the amount of money the winery can spend on the things that materially effect the quality of the wine, IE better viticulture techniques, lower yields , better quality oak and perhaps some extra time in the bottle before release. When you are in the $50-$100 you are getting something that is also likely to have the ability to age a fair while and has received some recognition in the press so the price in some ways reflects the wines status and availability in the marketplace. With that in mind I would probably look at 1 bottle in the $50 range and 2 in the $25. My theory being I’m always looking for something to add to my cellar and something for more immediate consumption. There are more weekdays than there are Birthdays and special occasions. First something a bit more special. I really like Chablis. The Daniel Dampt Chablis Fourchaume 2015 is a brilliant white with texture and lovely depth that doesn’t rely on a ton of oak to build flavor . This is farming and wine-making at its best. Link . The following is a review from Alan Meadows Burghound Newsletter “There is good ripeness to the green fruit, oyster shell and iodine aromas that give way to rich and quite full-bodied flavors that also possess a textured mouth feel on the sappy, delicious and lingering finish that offers good if not truly special depth.” – The Burghound, Issue 64 89 points spit1 Next a visit to Spain where I think some of the best deals around can be found. Ribera Del Duero- Marta & Mate Pixide 2013 is an British Columbia Liquor Board exclusive. Link For $19 this wine is a steal. 90 Points Robert Parker Wine Advocate – “The 2013 Píxide was very perfumed, floral, open, clean and aromatic with very good freshness. The palate is medium to full-bodied with very fine, abundant tannins, good balance and persistence.” I’m so impressed by this. Tons of character and very expressive. This should be on every restaurant wine list in BC. I would go out more if it was. spit2 I have an ongoing love affair with Riesling and todays post is not going to be any different. My third choice would be St Urbans Hof Riesling Mosel Old Vines 2016 listed by the British Columbia Liquor Board for $26.49. Link Dang this is good wine ! This is built for near term drinking. Beautiful etched acidity with enough residual sweetness to make it a brilliant match with Spicy Thai roast porketta sandwiches or some fresh asparagus that we will start seeing shortly. spit3 Thanks for your time. If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ . Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers David Lancelot          

Spit Happens #33 The concept of lightstrike plus a wee joke

A woman was driving home in Northern BC, when she saw an elderly woman walking on the side of the  road. She stopped the car and asked the woman if she’d like a ride. The woman thanked her and got in the car. After a few minutes, the woman noticed a brown bag on the back seat and asked the driver what was in the bag. The driver said, “It’s a bottle of wine. I got it for my husband.” The woman thought for a moment, then said, “Good trade.” The topic of todays post is lightstrike . As the wine industry starts to deal with issues relating to corked bottles and temperature control in shipping/storage and retail we now have a new issue to deal with. Lightstrike is an issue related to wines that have been exposed to blue and ultraviolet light which eventually converts amino acids into unpleasant smelling compounds like dimethyl disulhpide. The fruit is initially muted in the glass and then finally becomes overwhelmed by flavors and aromas of cooked vegetables, wet cardboard ( which many times is then perceived as cork taint ) or an almost gamy animal poo smell. Sounds delicious doesn’t it. SpitHappens33 Conventional wisdom dictated that light was the enemy of wine. Which is why stand alone cellar units often have dark glass doors. The image of the dark dank subterranean wine cellar certainly comes to mind. There is a reason port is in a super dark glass bottle. Generally amber glass filters out most of the bad stuff ( ninety percent) green glass fifty percent and clear less than ten percent. Think about all the Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and rose in clear glass and it starts to become a bit more obvious where the risks are. It’s very likely that your wine can be damaged at a retailer on in a restaurant setting if they are not on their game. Sunlight and florescent bulbs are the worst offenders. Think back to the time you put your beer in the lake on a hot sunny day. The lake was cold but the sun made the beer taste skunky and nasty. LED bulbs can also cause some issues but it’s a more limited issue. I’m thinking a wine spending weeks on the shelf of a supermarket will result in a sub optimal performance. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that all wines in a case are exposed to this risk unlike cork taint which has a lower percentage risk. So what can you do ? In an ideal world you would buy full unopened cases and bring them home at night and place them in your dark cellar. This isn’t always the case but you can always ask a trustworthy employee how long a wine has been on display. Also don’t buy wines that have been displayed in direct sunlight. I stopped buying wine from a retailer in Seattle a number of years ago for exactly that reason, all the good stuff was in a south facing portion of the store exposed to direct sunlight. If you wish to display your collection in your fancy new cellar pick the dark bottles or those wrapped in tissue for the most exposed portions of your cellar. PS If you want to know the name of the Seattle retailer you can email me at davidlancelot71@gmail.com Thanks for your time. If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ . Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot

Beer that you can cellar

Today I would like to talk about other things you can put in your cellar . I love wine but have you thought about putting away some beer for a few years and see what happens ? What is the impact on beer when it ages ? Cellaring’s Effects on Taste and Flavor Aging can produce many changes in the flavors and tastes present in a beer. Here are some of effects you can expect, according to a presentation given by Dr.Charlie Bamforth, Tom Nielsen and Mitch Steele entitled “Keep It Fresh: Understanding How Time, Temperature and Oxygen Impact Your Beer, and What To Do About Them.” •Bitterness decreases •Harshness increases •Fruity and floral esters decrease •Ribes (catty/black currant character) increase •Wet paper/cardboard character increases •Bready character increases •Sweetness (toffee/honey) increases •Metallic character increases •Earthy character increases •Straw character increases •Woody character increases •Vinuous character (wine/sherry/stale fruit) increases •Meaty-like/brothy flavors can develop Probably ten years ago I started setting aside large bottles of Chimay Red label Trappist beers from Belgium. These beers have been made by Trappist Monks since 1850. They are unfiltered and develop a huge range of flavor profiles when aged 5-10 years. They are brilliant with long slow cooked meats and stews and super friendly with cheese. http://chimay.com/en/ Chimay
Next on my list of beers that can age is Unibroue Grande Reserve 17 . First produced in 2007 in Chambly Quebec this beer is brewed once a year and probably has as many fans in the wine world as it does in the beer world. It is a top fermented dark amber Belgian Ale , a little bit cloudy with lots of fine bubbles and medium weight hop character 33 IBU. Great with mole and other Mexican specialties also good with BBQ brisket. https://www.unibroue.com/en/our-beers/17-grande-reserve/11 Bottle1
I would also look for sour beers to age. After a career in wine I find highly hopped wine a challenge. Mainly because wine professionals are trained to consider bitterness a pejorative and that’s what hops brings to the table. Sour beers are all about acidity which wine lovers don’t seem to have a problem with. Sour in the Rye by Bruery Terreux in Orange County California would be another beer I would keep an eye out for http://www.brueryterreux.com/beer/sour-in-the-rye-2/? category=sour-ales Barrel aged and a significant amount of rye make this a super interesting 2-3 year aging project . Lots of fantastic comment on this beer on Ratebeer.com https://www.ratebeer.com/beer/bruery-terreux-sour-in-the-rye/108234/ Bottle2
Thanks for your time. If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ . Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot
Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers David Lancelot

Cheese, the low Road

“What is the difference between a winemaker and God ? God doesn’t think he is a winemaker….”

In blog post 27 I talked about some of the great cheeses made in the world that are wine friendly. The problem is those cheeses can be difficult to get once you are outside of Vancouver. Les Amis Du Fromage and Benton Brothers are great shops but what happens if you live in Kelowna or Prince Rupert ? I realize the choices for great cheese become limited and the options for unpasteurized import cheese are almost zero. With that in mind I thought I would come back and talk about my favorite options for higher production volume cheese that are more widely available. • Oka cheese from Quebec. This cheese has been in production since 1893. It started out being made by Trappist Monks at Oka Abbey in Deux-Montagnes, Quebec and was based on the recipe for Port Salut. Since 1981 it has been made by the manufacturer Agropur. Oka has a wide distribution in supermarket chains and is well suited for red wines. Generally I enjoy whites with cheese over red but this is my exception. http://www.pleasureandcheeses.ca/cheeses/family/oka
OKA
• Coastal Cheddar is made by Ford Farm Cheesemakers in Dorchester England. It is a white cheddar that has a distinctive distinctive crunch – a result of the calcium lactate crystals which form naturally in the cheese as it matures. This cheese is brilliant for the money. Widely available in North America and one of the top selling imported cheddar’s for a reason. The price at Costco is exceptional as well. Super thin slices on a cheese board with white burgundy are sublime. Grate the leftovers into a frittata and you are gold ! https://www.fordfarm.com/ Costal
• Here is my wild card pick .Le Cendrillon (“Cendrillon” means “Cinderella” in French) is a vegetable ash-covered, soft, surface-ripened goat cheese that was crowned the ‘Best Cheese in the World’ at the 2009 World Cheese Awards. It was the first cheese from Quebec to ever receive such a prestigious honour. Made by the big Canadian Cheese manufacturer Saputo. Worth a hunt to track this down. Fantastic with Loire Valley whites and Belgian Ales. https://www.alexisdeportneuf.com/en/Products/Goat-Cheese/le-cendrillon buttercheese
If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ . Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers David Lancelot

Wine Clubs

One of the many ways you can buy wine is to join/sign up for a wine club. There are tons of wineries that have a club or some sort of subscription service. The question is why do they do it and why would you want to join. Why do they do it ? Clearly having a wine club is a great way to guarantee an income stream for a winery. It also helps to create brand loyalty and brings a level of fairness to the distribution of scarce resources , IE wines made in very small amounts, wines not meant to be commercially released or wines that are in high demand due to high scores and good reviews in the press. The bigger issue is margin. If a winery can sell a wine to you off the mailing list it creates a higher % profit than selling it to a wholesale account like the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch. Wineries want you to sign up for the mailing lists and join the subscription clubs. That’s why they ask where you are from when you visit a tasting room. You are more likely to benefit from and subsequently sign up for a wine club if you are from the country the winery is in as foreign shipping of wine is cumbersome and inefficient . As for why you would want to join it’s only natural a wine lover will start to develop favorite wines and wineries. Either the flavors of the wines appeal to you or there is a particular memory or emotion that is evoked by the purchase or consumption of a wine. Whatever the reason being a member of a wine club insures that your interests take priority over more casual visitor to that winery. Wineries will often create a special bottling or format specifically for a club. Sometimes pricing is better too. In my experience just saving a few $ is not a compelling reason to join a club as many wineries and stores have opportunities to buy at a reduced price. Join because the wines are rare or because you love them. A couple clubs to consider. One in BC another in the US winebotles
Laughing Stock Winery , Link There are 3 options once you are in the Club Series A full cases of only a single wine and you get first choice when each wine is released $ depends on which wine you buy. Series B Red and White wines 6 bottles in total 3 times a year. $ fluctuates. Series B Red only 12 bottles 1 shipment a year in the fall. Benefits of joining Free shipping direct to your door – in most provinces •Free shipping on any additional wine orders of 1 case (12 bottles) or more •Preferred access to newly released wines and Small Cap, limited production wines •Preferred access to rare library wines and large format bottlings (ie Magnums) •Invitation to winery events, including some Shareholder only events •Complimentary tasting room tastings and private winery tour- with advance notice •Option to stay in the winemakers residence a weekly vacation rental for Preferred Shareholders only. •No membership fees and no cost to join zinfandel
Ridge Vineyards Winery in California Link
If I lived in the US or had a US mailing address this would likely be my personal choice of a wine club. The range of wines offered in the Ridge ATP ( Advanced Tasting Program) program is fantastic , the quality is first rate and the availability of the wines outside of the winery is virtually zero. They also offer a Z lovers membership if you are into Zinfandel and a Montebello Collectors Club if you are looking for the flagship wines. Membership includes the following Exclusive members-only offers and discounts on limited production wines Complimentary tastings for up to 4 guests, members included, at our wineries 20% off tours and private tastings Complimentary admission to annual winery events Member Discount on all purchases of current release wines: 10% on 1-11 750 mL bottles/equivalent volume 15% on 12 – 750 mL bottles/equivalent volume or more Discount applies to all club shipments as well
If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ . Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers David Lancelot

Cheese, the high road

It’s confession time folks. If you give me the choice between a dessert and a cheese course at the end of a meal I will pick the cheese every time. I really enjoy the interplay between cheese and wine ( sweet or dry) and the cultural connection between wines and cheese from specific regions. There is a reason why cheese and wines from the Loire Valley (for example ) work with each other. This is the first in a two part post on my favorite cheeses and wines that are complimentary to them. The next post , The Low Road will have some recommendations that are a little easier to find . For the advanced cheese lover store like Les Amis du Fromage and Benton Brothers are a gold mine. Both have amazing selection and super smart staff. If they don’t have the exact cheese I mention they will have 2 or 3 other options that will work just as well.
Cheese1
One of my all time favorites is a cheese called Brillat-Savarin ( bree-YAH sah-vah-RAN. Brillat-Savarin is creamy dreamy soft Cows-milk triple cream brie produced year round in Burgundy and Normandy , plush and just a hint of sourness. This is my go to cheese with great Champagne . If you have an older bottle of blanc de blanc it will sing. The stuff that dreams are made of. Cheese2
Vacherin Mont d’Or (vasher-ANN-moan-DOR) is typically only available from fine cheese shops seasonally around Christmas. This cows milk unpasteurized washed rind cheese typically has a bumpy reddish brown rind and a big woodsy, mushroomy flavor with a slight bite and a strong aroma . The closest substitute is called Reblochon . This is your red burgundy cheese , the earthy mushroom character provide a flavor echo back and forth with Pinot Noir that will leave you captivated and speechless. My wild card pick is a goats milk cheese called Clos du Berry. A full wheel of it weighs about 12 kilograms and it’s aged a year. Taste is very rich and a slightly sharp finish. Not overtly goaty . A Les Amis du Fromage exclusive. Try this with a sweet wine from the Loire, Quart de Chaume Coteaux de Layon or sweet Vouvray. FYI to find out about this one I emailed Les Amis du Fromage and they replied in less than an hour, now that’s service. My advice is find a person at one of these stores and put yourself in their hands. Trust the experts. Explain your favorites and your budget and listen to their suggestions. You will more often than not have an amazing experience. Stretch your brain, try new things and step out of your comfort zone. Sometimes you have to swing for the fences !!!!  
If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ . Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers David Lancelot

By The Glass® wine dispenser

Wine Cellar Depot has a number of creative solutions for restaurants and bars for the display/storage and dispensation of wine. One of the most useful sales tools is a beautiful piece of engineering called the “ By The Glass® wine dispenser “. 8 bottle Stage 3Double sided 32 bottle dispenser1 This beautiful machine dispenses wine in preset measured amount at the correct temperature and preserves the wine remaining in the bottle for a minimum of two weeks. It can be integrated with a POS system and set up with a key card system for extra security. There are quite a few advantages to this machine. 1. The wines are displayed in an attractive manner that highlites them in a bar or restaurant setting and has a lot of eye appeal. 2. The wines are stored in a manner that allows them to be consumed under ideal conditions with regard to temperature . 3. Zero spillage and accurate portion control. 4. The ability to sample wines to a customer , thereby moving them up to a higher margin wine with certainty that your guest will like the wine. 5. Less waste when wines are open. 6. It allows you to offer a wider variety of wines by the glass than normal. 7. It will demonstrate your commitment to a quality wine by the glass program. In my former life as a sales consultant and supervisor at Marquis Wine Cellars in Vancouver I can personally vouch for the utility and effectiveness of the By The Glass® wine dispenser “. It was a powerful sales tool in moving customers towards wines they might not try under normal circumstances and also due to it’s high visibility it was great in guiding customers towards wine on sale . The installation was co-ordinated by James Drummond james@bytheglasscanada.com and the after sales service was fantastic. The largest units will hold up to 20 bottles and are stunning when installed . James had a very handy return on investment calculator that can walk you through the savings that can be achieved with this system. If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ . Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers David Lancelot

Mistakes… I’ve made a few

Over the years I have made some errors of judgment while starting a wine collection and thought it was time to confess my sins.
  • Not buying enough of a wine I really liked. As a wine lover and retail salesperson I had access to a lot of great wine on a daily basis. This caused me to be complacent and I often just bought single bottles of wine because I craved variety. This lead to a situation where I ended up with a lot of orphan bottles in my cellar and no frame of reference as to the wines suitability for aging and where it was on the aging curve. Solution is to buy ( a minimum) of three for any wine you want to follow over a number of years. Six or twelve bottles are even better.
  • Serving wines at the wrong temperature. I have adapted my rules for wine service and now like to put reds in the fridge for approximately 20 minutes before serving and take whites out approximately 20 before serving. Traditional wisdom for red wine service is/was room temperature. Most rooms in North America are warmer than room temps in Europe so this temperature adaptation accounts for the difference. I find I enjoy the wines much more now.
  • Not having sacrificial bottles. There have been more than a few times when I woke up the next morning and realized that some really good bottles had been open far too late in the evening when I didn’t have the capacity to properly enjoy them. IE no need to open that special bottle of Super Tuscan at 3am . Solution have a selection of good quality reasonably priced wines and keep them in the most accessible spot in your cellar ( this is especially helpful in a household where there are people who don’t have the same passion for wine that you might have). If you love Cabernet Sauvignon maybe 6 or 12 bottles of something like Wynns Coonawara Cabernet (link) or Edge Cabernet from Napa Valley (link)
wynns cab98subpicture label
  • Not trusting my own palate. I have had the rare opportunity to try a LOT of wine during my career. There have been a few times when I tried wines at public tastings and the sales person told me a great story about the wine or mentioned it would be receiving a glowing review from ( insert wine writers name here) . Sometimes I liked the wines sometimes I didn’t but nevertheless I bought the wine anyway . Years later the wine would be opened and the disappointment would be palpable. Solution , trust your judgment. You only have to make yourself happy when it’s your money on the line.
  • Keeping wine too long. This is a painful lesson. There is a tendency among wine lovers to keep wines in your cellar for a special occasion. Then the special occasion comes along and it not as special as you might like so you keep the wine longer. Resist the temptation to keep bottles forever. It’s bad to drink a wine too soon, but it’s worse to keep them too long. Better to project in your mind a wines potential than to lament it’s demise.If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ .
Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers David Lancelot

Tasting tips and winery visits

Starting and maintaining a wine collection is a lot of work. Also a lot of fun. Part of the process is evaluating  the wines you would like to add to your collection and periodically revisiting  the ones you already own. This can be accomplished by attending tastings with friends or on a more formal basis as a member of various food and wine clubs. Another way to keep up with the annual releases of your favorite wines is to visit the producers directly . This will allow you to see new wine releases , occasionally buy older wines directly from the producer and ask them questions about the suitability of their wines for aging. I would like to offer you some advice on making this process entertaining and valuable. I’m going to structure my advice around traveling in the Okanagan but the information translates well to other regions.
  • Start out on a positive note. Get plenty of rest the night before , eat a good breakfast and bring water with you when you start your day.
  • Brush your teeth in the morning but don’t use toothpaste and the wines right after will taste like your toothpaste.
  • Have a plan. Double check which wineries need/require appointments . IE Laughing Stock Winery in Naramata is appointment only. Nichol Vineyards doesn’t require appointments. Some wineries are very small and close 1 or 2 days a week to allow owners/staff to rest and do other things.
  • Have all your wineries you want to visit in your phone contacts should you need to call for directions that way you will use less data.
  • Bring a map. Most wine lovers only visit a winery 1 or 2 wines a year max. There is a good chance that you will get disoriented in unfamiliar territory at some point.
  • If you are flying you will need some way to transport your wine shippers can be purchased from wineries however I like to go in style so I bought a Wine Check.  See above. This fantastic case has wheels on it and a strap so you don’t need to carry it through the airport. You can put a 12 bottle cardboard shipper or a 12 bottle Styrofoam shipper for better thermal protection.   If you order one from the website  http://wineopulencecanada.com/ please let them know you heard about it from Spit Happens
  • If it’s warm make sure you keep the wine inside the car and the AC on as much as possible. The temperature in the trunk can get insanely hot . Your wine will be compromised before you even get home.
  • If you want to leave it in the hands of someone else  hire a guide and let someone else do the driving. You could even take an Okanagan tour with me ! I drive for Experience Wine Tours http://experiencewinetours.ca/ . We are very highly rated on Trip Advisor  and offer day long tours of many parts of the Okanagan with pick up and drop off at your Kelowna based hotel/motel/B&B plus a fantastic picnic lunch. If you are staying in the south then you need to check out Ron Rocher at Vine to Wine Tours http://vinetowinetours.ca/
If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ . Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers David Lancelot

Keeping wine organized follow up to #6

Having a wine collection is a luxury. It’s also a major pain in the posterior keeping wine organized and under control. You may have multiple vintages of the same wine in different sizes, wine purchased from different retailers, some might be stored offsite and auction purchases  too. It’s a challenge to keep up with drinking windows  and wine valuations. As the value of your collection increases the need to have  a proper inventory  for insurance purposes . In an earlier blog post I mentioned Cellar Tracker , it’s important enough that I feel compelled to mention it again. Cellar Tracker ( LINK)  was created by Microsoft employee Eric Levine in early 2003. Originally it was designed to keep track of his personal cellar as well as cellars of a couple of buddies. Later in the year it was expanded to a Beta test involving 100 participants and a database of 60,000 bottles. With constant feedback from members Eric added features and functionality and it currently  has a collection of almost 6 million tasting notes and helps  the subscribers  keep track of 75 million bottles. The site is divided into a couple different sections. Home , Links to wine news, popular wines and most active users. Wines,  This section is the meat and potatoes of the tasting notes. One section indexes the notes by Valuation, Type,Vintage, Variety,Country, Region, Producer and a couple other categories. Next section is Popular Wines and has several sub headings  sorted by Price, Recent Reviews or Most Popular All Time. There is a third very interesting category called Tasting Stories. Members post the results/notes from tastings and dinners they have attended. Since many wine dinners have themes  this can be an invaluable resource to see how you favorite producers wines are evolving or assess the quality of a specific vintage . Lots of really good stuff here. People, This section provides profiles on each member and highlights the most prolific contributors to the site. Discussions: This section is subdivided into General Discussion , Cellar Tracker Support , Wine Data Errors and Correction and Release Notes.  I particularly recommend the General Discussion  section with topics such as “What are you buying now ?” “ What are you going to drink tonite” “ What did you drink last night?” plus a wide ranging discussion of food travel and many other wine related issues. Generally a pretty civil bunch and a lack of trollish behavior. Articles: This is one of my favorite sections it has extensive articles on wine sorted by producer, region , grape variety plus many other categories. Cellar Tracker is the most sophisticated online inventory management system I know. It has integration with your subscriptions to Burghound, For The Love of Port, Purple Pages, Vinous and many more. When you enter a wine in your inventory if another user has entered its information the program auto fills all the relevant info with you having to retype the entries over and over. It can give you reports on value, as well as the years suggested for drinking and many more metrics. The system supports multiple cellars as well as futures purchases, bar code creation and restaurant use as well. You can export a copy of your inventory to an Excel spreadsheet for offline access and Eric does super regular backups off all the data entered in the program. The site founder Eric Levine is a former Microsoft employee and is amazingly responsive to suggestions for improving the program. This multi-platform system currently is the defacto tool for all your cellar organizing needs. Suggested payment for use of the Cellar Tracker Program is $40 per year for under 500 bottle, $80 for 500-1000 bottles and $160 for a 1000 bottles or more. You might needs some racks for your collection at some point. Follow the link to see what we offer.  http://winecellardepot.com/wine-racks/ If you have any feedback we would love to hear from you on our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/winecellardepot/ . Also check out our Houzz Page for design ideas and planning. http://www.houzz.com/pro/winecellardepot/wine-cellar-depot Remember Spit Happens, tell your friends, drink great wine and eat great food. Cheers David Lancelot