Easily Track Your Tasty Wines Using Wine Cellar Software


What's the right wine cellar software for your cellar?

Some apps are simple and easy to use while others are more in-depth, with way more features and options.

That means a longer learning curve to get to the point where you feel comfortable using it. Of course, you can just use the basics within that program if that's all you need.

Luckily, some of the priced software out there offers a free trial period of between 14-30 days before you buy. So you can take advantage of that and take them for a test run to see if they're user-friendly.

There are also a few companies offering free cellar software. Usually, when you hear that something is free, then the
assumption is that it's not up to snuff. But in this case, some of them make great software, and they make their money in other ways.


What Your Software Should Do For You

Image of wine cellar software text filled with computer code.


As a minimum the wine cellar software should:

  • track wines going in and coming out of the cellar
  • give you the drinking window (eg. drink by 2019-2024)
  • show you the location of a particular bottle in your cellar
  • keep your inventory secure from prying eyes - unless you allow it


In fact many of the software brands do so much more than that, and include options like:

  • managing multiple cellars for those with vacation homes or an off-site cellar
  • check out the winery website of each wine
  • estimate the value of your wine collection (handy for insurance purposes)
  • show your purchase price for each wine
  • view the tasting notes you and others have made (refreshes your memory of your own notes, but also can aid you in buying wines)
  • the option to use barcode labels and scanner
  • popular food and wine pairings



How Easy Is It To Use?

If you are struggling right off the hop, that particular software likely isn't for you. It should be intuitive and user-friendly.

The program should be:

  • simple to navigate
  • efficient to accomplish tasks
  • secure
  • reliable (no crashes)
  • and flexible to your needs


Is There A Good Support System?

Whichever software you decide to use, make sure that it has some sort of troubleshooting help...

  • helpful videos
  • tutorials
  • and how-to's really come into their own here.

In this day and digital age, there is no excuse for leaving a customer out on a limb!

By viewing testimonials, wine cellar software reviews and wine forums, you can get a clearer picture of which software brands are recommended. However, I quickly found out that software can be rated very high for good quality software - but be next to useless for the wine collector or end-user.

Usability by the intended consumer is what really matters here. See below.


Which Brand Of Software Is The Best?

Hmmnn...

If you're a social media hound, you might lean more towards CellarTracker or Vincellar. Their free software is topnotch, and they have a vibrant community of wine worshipers who just can't wait for the next post. Tastings and personal opinions abound.

But, if you simply need the software to catalog and track your collection through the ebb and flow of your acquisitions and consumings without any background noise, one of the other wine cellar systems might make more sense.

See my 2018 review below.


Wine cellar software table.

Tip: Note that some of these companies charge an extra fee for updates every year or two. Make sure you check into that to avoid unwanted charges.



What The Heck Is Barcoding?

If you're building a wine cellar, I would seriously consider barcoding all of your wines. 

This is the ultimate in wine cellar management...

Having the ability to print and scan your own labels makes wine migration to and from your cellar a breeze! Initially though, it takes a while to get all of your current wine's information entered in and the barcodes on.

The barcode contains all the information about each bottle of wine:

  • vintage/varietal
  • date purchased and what you paid for it
  • current value
  • when to drink window
  • the bottle's exact location within your cellar etc

You can stick the newly printed label right on the bottle or on a bottle tag for easy viewing. Your barcode scanner can be left right in the cellar, so scanning becomes second nature after a while. It only takes a few seconds.

There is the need to make a small investment in the proper equipment though. Some wine cellar software companies offer their own barcode scanners, printers and labels. But you can also buy your own. One of the most reliable label printers in the business is the Dymo LabelWriter 450.


Here's what you'll need for barcoding:


Scanner (Barcode Reader)

You'll need a barcode scanner to read the barcode on the label. This is where all of the information on each wine gets collected. Most of them are handheld and portable so you can go directly to the bottle in the rack to scan the label on it.


Label printer

As you might have guessed, the printer spits out the barcode sticker that you simply place onto the bottle or bottle tag.

Previously mentioned, Dymo is one of the most reliable label printers and comes with a two-year warranty. You'll need to download their latest software and drivers here. Just enter the fields and click the download button for "LabelWriters", either Mac or Windows - (doesn't support iOS or Android yet). Using this software enables you to print in many different languages as well.


Labels

Labels come in different formats depending on what your needs are, and what you want printed on them. Dymo labels that come in a roll (qty.500) instead of sheets is a waste-free way to go! You print off only what you need.

Use the above labels for barcodes or other information related to each bottle of wine. Just print, peel and stick. 


Bottle Tags

Bottle tags simply hang on the neck of the bottle when at rest in the wine rack. You can simply write a note on the tag or stick a barcode label on it. They make it super easy to scan or view what that bottle of wine is all about, without pulling the bottle out of the rack.

You'll have to decide if putting the barcode on a bottle tag (which hangs on the neck of the bottle), is something you're going to want to live with visually. They can really take away from the look and feel of a beautiful wine cellar. The tags are very practical though, since you can scan the bottle without taking it out to get all of the information on it.


Does Wine Cellar Software Give You the Heebee Jeebees?

If you're like me, then I can relate...

Something else to learn in an already filled up day! Enter anxiety sounds here. ;-)

But trust me when I say - it's worth it for this. Knowing exactly where to find that succulent bottle of fruity CDR (Côtes-du-Rhône) that's been niggling at your brain all day while you're at work, easily makes the learning curve worthwhile.

And the drinking window? Well, who doesn't see the benefit of having that at your fingertips. Sigh...

Bring on the wine cellar software, and say hello to judicious collecting and..er..tastings!

Enjoy.



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