Managing your cellar

If you are going to start keeping a cellar you need the right tools. It is important to keep information about the wines in your cellar. Tasting notes, when you bought it, how much you paid, when it should be drunk by etc. Trying to remember a couple years later the details is difficult at best, impossible as your cellar get’s larger. And having an expensive bottle of wine spoil because you didn’t drink it soon enough is a very disappointing occurrence. For a number of years I have managed my own cellar database. It was so time consuming that I didn’t do it often, leading to my database being inaccurate.

I found a good article on Five steps in deciding how long to age a wine. So I thought I would pass it along. Cellaring a wine can be done for convenience or ageing. Some wines are meant to be drank now, some will keep for a while and still others actually improve with time. With the LCBO controlling our wine market (we all know what the C in LCBO stands for) wines can come into our market and not return for quite some time. So when you find something you like you may want to grab some extra to have on hand. All this leads to the desire to have a wine cellar.

I have tried a few other wine cellar databases like Natalie MacClean’s but couldn’t find a way to import my existing cellar. I did like that she had all the (or most of) Ontario wines in her database. The Android app runs well but is a little slow to start. I also tried Vivino whose app is really well done. Again no way to import an existing cellar (that I could see). And of course there is no interoperability between these offerings that might allow you to take a cellar or an already entered wine from one to the other …

Then Mr CWG put me onto Cellar Tracker. Funny I’ve had an account on cellar tracker for forever and looked at it originally but since I had my own database discounted it. But given Brett’s recommendation I decided to take another look. They have a very good web site, and a great Android app. The app works well on my Android phone and Android tablet. It includes a bar code scanner to make adding new wine and consuming wine as trouble free as it can be. If the wine is already in the extensive database, then adding it is easy, otherwise it’s a bit time consuming. They will even (somewhat manually) import your existing cellar. You send them a excel or access data base and they do the import. Anywhere there are questions as to which wine matches your bottle you manually go through and decide which one is the best fit, or add your own. One of the things I found most impressive is that they will spend a lot of time with you all without any cash up front. You get to try it as long as you like and contribute when you see fit and how much you see fit. You will need to manually enter the amount you pay for a wine since they of course have no idea how much you paid when their customers can come from anywhere in the world. And you can even print labels for the bottle using this links instructions.

I was impressed with Cellar Tracker. So much so, I have migrated off my own database, and have given a payment to them. If you have a cellar give Cellar Tracker a look. (By the way, I am in no way associated with Cellar tracker, nor have they paid me in anyway, in case you wonder.)

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