Taming a Wild Cellar Full of Filthy Good Vino! Cellar Layout + App’s to Help you Manage Your Collection

27 Jun

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Melissa, a follower on twitter recently asked a question that I haven’t thought about for a long time “How do you organise your cellar?”

From the cupboard to the cellar,  here’s one way to arrange your cellar & a couple of App’s to help you manage it, if you have enough Filthy Good Vino to need them!

Organising Your Cellar … One Option at Least!

So you’ve started to build a collection of Filthy Good Vino, found a cupboard to hide it in, the cupboard’s overflowed into the garage and eventually you establish a proper cellar.  The question still remain: How do you keep track of your prized possessions, find them easily and make sure you don’t let any liquid gold go over the hill before you can drink it.  I wonder how James Halliday manages his cellar of around 20,000 bottles of Filthy Good Vino.  Makes my 2,500 bottles look piddly by comparison. I actually have 2 cellars, a 300 bottle cellar built recently, for my on tap, day to day drinking, stocked from the main cellar.

My New 300 Bottle Wine Cellar just after completion with the first few cases on the racks

My New 300 Bottle Wine Cellar Just After Completion

Imagine having 2,000 … 5,000 even 10,000 different wines and multiple cases of each to manage.  This is the very scenario a wine merchant faces. I’ve been extremely frustrated with experiences trying to buy wine online, the user interface and experience is often impossible and you can be left trolling through page after page of wines unable to find what your looking for.

Wine cellar in Chvalovice near Znojmo by Petr Novák Wikipedia

Funky Wine cellar in Chvalovice near Znojmo by Petr Novák Wikipedia

The best merchant mirror the same kind of approach online as I take to the physical challenge of arranging my cellar.  They break up the wine by key criteria and allow you to filter it.  The solution you chose depends a little on the structure of your cellar.  My approach is based on having individual spots for each bottle, a custom Magnum rack and space for a few boxes.  You might have to group things a bit if your using ‘bins’ that store multiple bottles in the one hole. So, here’s how it works for me. My criteria are:

  • Country
  • Style: Red, White, Stickies, Fortifieds, Bubbles Grouped together.
  • Region
  • Winery
  • Specific Wine
  • Vintage

My Aussie Reds are Grouped:

  1. Roughly by Region.
  2. Then Winery – for Wineries that make wines from several regions, I group by Winery in preference to Region.
  3. Specific Wine or Label for that Winery.
  4. Finally within a Label in Chronological Order.

Having several bays of Aussie Red makes it more important to keep these organised. You might of noticed the lack of variety as a criteria, personally, I kinda know, which wineries or regions produce each variety or blend and rely on that to find what I’m after.  Burgundy, Yarra Yering, Bass Phillip, Serrat etc for Pinot. Like everything there’s always an exception, sometimes I’ll just cluster different wines from one producer together by Vintage.  Saves doing a lot of bottle shuffling to get the next vintage of a particular label in.  If you’ve got heaps of space and know you’re going to continue to buy wines of specific labels you can always leave a few spare slots ready for the future.

The smaller the amount of wine from a particular Country or Style the slacker I get, but still follow roughly the same methodology. With less than 10 dozen bottles of bubbles, they’re all kind of in  one section that I can easily see in one field of vision and quickly scan for what I want. I’ve got sections for Stickies, Fortifieds, Bordeaux Red, Burgundy White, Burgundy Red, Italian Red (split by region), German Riesling with Alsacian’s Riesling next to those.

How obsessive compulsive you are in arranging your cellar is up to you. One of the pleasures of having a cellar is in “The Hunt” searching through your cellar and stumbling across something you’d forgotten you had. Personally I tend not to be to anal for this very reason. I guess my love for Filthy Good Vino helps ingrain somewhere in my brain where each and every bottle is stashed. I’m screwed when “Mad Cow” disease sets in!

Managing Your Cellar: Wine In the Cloud & a Couple of Cool Wine App’s

When it comes to managing your cellar there are a heap of different software packages from your basic spreadsheet to purpose built software and cloud solutions that allow you to journal your entries, consumption, add tasting notes and set suggested drinking windows. The software I once used required you to enter a reason for drinking. My answer was always the same: THIRSTY.  I stopped using it some time ago. I reckon I spend enough time in the cellar to wing it.

Update 30 Dec 2013 The latest Wine App to hit the market, Delectable (download it and follow me here), like ViVino, is a wine journaling app. It seems to ID wines more accurately than ViVino and allow non-wine drinks like beer & spirits. It offers a better user experience and is much more social with a  feed displaying new wines from people you are following and two new streams, one showing what your community has liked or commented on and another display your new followers and likes / comments on wines you’ve posted. If you’re in the US, there’s an option to buy wines you’ve enjoyed direct from the app. It’s only available for iPhone / iPad with an Android version on expected early 2014. If you’re a winery and want to know how you might integrate this platform into your Digital/Social efforts, get in touch for a chat. There are a couple of heavy hitters in the Digital World behind this one, so I’m expecting big things!

The Wine App’s market is still developing. One of the better combinations I’ve seen is using Cellar Tracker (Free) on your desktop, which by itself seems pretty good.  You can then access the data on your iPhone / iPad through the Cor.kz App ($2.99 or half a glass of wine) or on Android.  It’s a very user focused community with over 1,000,000 bottles registered 2,000,000 tasting notes, the ability to barcode scan and a solid social element with sharing via Twitter and Facebook.

The other App I’m liking for wine journaling .. not really for cellar management is ViVino. You simply take a pic of a label, the App scans it, then ID’s the wine.  If it can’t ID it, the label is analysed by one of ViVino’s human scanners and the info uploaded in a day or two. I’ve tried it on a few bottles and it’s not bad.  Would be great at tastings.  You can add tasting notes and tips, rate and share on Twitter, FB and Email.  There’s some serious investment behind this one, so I would be surprised if it gets cellar functionality in the future. Update 30 Dec 2013: ViVino does now offer “Pro” features at a cost including Cellar Management,  jumping the queue for wine ID, and support.

I’ll be blogging a few tips on constructing your perfect cellar in future posts so stay tuned!

Have you got a preferred way to organise your cellar of Filthy Good Vino or have found an outstanding App to manage your collection, please leave a comment and let me know, so we can share the vinous love.

If there is anything you’d like me to blog about, leave a suggestion in the comments below.

Just one more tip: I recently acquired one of these to protect my Filthy Good Vino from wandering hands!

(Only Joking)

Wine Robot

This’ll Stop Anyone Stealing Your Filthy Good Vino

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