Wine Cellar Organization
“Cellar organization”. Two words that can put a smile or a frown on your face depending on the type of person you are. There are a few compelling reasons to keep your collection documented and organized. When you have a plan for your collection you might as well stay organized so you know which vintages you have and which ones you want to purchase. It will also help you avoid keeping wines past their “ best before date “. Having an inventory will also help you plan tastings and make it very easy to insure your collection. One of the best ways to keep track of your collection is www.cellartracker.com . 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 multiplatform 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.
The next best way to organize your system is to simply take pictures of your racks and shelving with a smart phone. This is by no means a substitute for a full inventory nor would it be acceptable to an insurance company to document your collection. However a full set of pictures plus a folder with all your receipts might do the trick. The advantage of this system is that it requires very little effort and can be managed as long as you don’t have too many bottles. The downside is you may have a hard time finding specific bottles and you may occasionally keep a bottle too long. One way to reduce the risk of keeping a wine too long is to indicate that a wine is ready to drink on the end of the capsule. I use these to indicate wines ready to drink http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/112912/Avery-Removable-Round-Color-Coding-Labels/
The last method is no organization or inventory at all. Upside is you save all the time and energy spent cataloguing your cellar and you have the serendipity of finding wines you have forgotten about. This is not the best option if you have a poor memory or are a completely type A personality but does allow for a certain flow to your collection. You will likely keep wines too long and suffer the disappointment of wine that is over the hill. You might even end up with this. But think of all the time you will save.