What's Better... A Book Or Software?
Wine cellar management can be carried out in one of two ways.
Some of us are just not software geeks.
Sitting in front of a laptop, smartphone or PDA (personal digital assistant) is not everyone's cup of tea...
Instead, by simply jotting the information down into a wine cellar journal by hand, you're good to go. It never goes out of style. Never crashes, with a loss of information. And, can be handed down to the next generation or two when the time comes.
The best wine cellar books have high quality covers and bindings, so they will last for years. Within the cover, there should be a well thought-out spreadsheet for entering the data.
I like the wine journals that leave a space to place a wine label. They really help me remember the wine better. There's just something nostalgic about it. You'll need to get a label remover to get it cleanly off the bottle though.
It's a good idea to put the journal in a prominent and dedicated place just inside or outside the cellar, so that you can access it when coming or going. If you have to search for it each time, the information is just not going to get recorded.
Using software is easily the most popular wine cellar management tool.
But "popular" doesn't necessarily mean that it's the simplest, or the right system for you.
Having the ability to:
- track wine purchases
- see the price that you paid
- view it's current retail value
- know the wine's drinking window
- visit your consumption history
- check out the wine tasting notes
- read up on wine reviews
and more, is just sooo cool!
However, there is a learning curve...
This can be quite steep, depending on which app you go with. Be aware that it will suck up more of your valuable time. And not all of the above options are available in each brand of wine cellar software either.
Before purchasing, make sure the software has a help section or tutorial to guide you through it. Well-used forums and FAQ's can also be handy when you're just starting out.
Using barcode scanners to read a label that you first print, and then place on each bottle, is an active way to monitor your
Having the scanner set up right in the cellar makes it so efficient. With all the info about the wine printed on the label, this is an intelligent approach to doing inventory. You'll have to buy the barcode printer, labels and scanner, but using this system is pretty slick.
Some wine cellar software is free to use, with options that you pay for as you go along. With other brands, you download a
free trial for a short term (usually 14-30 days). At the end of the trial you can buy it if you like it.
Make sure you compare apples and oranges. Some wine cellar software you pay annually, while other brands have a one time fee with free or reduced price upgrades.
One of the most popular free ones is CellarTracker.
For an up-to-date list of other software companies and a rundown of their features, see my wine cellar software page.