Documenting a wine collection is not rocket science and it does not need to be tedious; it should be a fun and easy task. The process is simple, and anyone with a pen and paper, or a computer, can do it effectively. Proper documentation allows wine lovers to keep their inventory in proper order, so that when they need to find a particular bottle in the proverbial haystack, it is easy to do so.
This process is relatively easy whether you have fewer than a hundred bottles of wine to organize or if your wine collection is hundreds or thousands. The process of documenting wine involves the same principles whether the cellar is large or small. Think of it as organizing a library. Whether there are a few books or many racks, they should be arranged in order, using certain rows and certain aisles in order to facilitate finding what you need quickly and efficiently. This guide will assist in finding the best ways to document your wine collection.
Wine enthusiasts with large collections should always go for the most convenient method of documenting their wines. One popular method is using computer software that manages wine placement in the wine cellar. Software programs like WineBanq, The Wine Cellar Book, The Uncorked Cellar, Cellartracker make wine management relatively easy. Free trial versions of these software programs are usually available, but trial versions usually offer severely limited functionality and/or eventual expiration.
A low tech method of documentation is through the use of electronic spreadsheets. The most popular spreadsheet programs are Microsoft Excel, Google Docs Spreadsheets (free), OpenOffice Spreadsheets (free), and Zoho Sheets (free). Using a spreadsheet format, one populates the columns with descriptive labels for each wine. Mandatory columns include: Cellar row #, location # within each cellar row, vineyard, label description, vintage, grape variety, country, region, location, rating, drink from date, drink until date, class, source, cost, and estimated value. The most important columns for inventorying purposes are the first two: cellar row number and location number within each cellar row. These numbers will indicate the exact location of each wine bottle in the cellar (or other storage location). By meticulously numbering each physical row and each physical cell within each row, and then matching these physical locations in the spreadsheet, accounting for all bottles is fast and easy.
Which ever method you use to document your wine inventory, make a physical printout of all information for manual audit and a paper trail. Finding a system that works for and sticking to it meticulously is key to organizational success.