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How To Organize A Wine Cellar

How to organize a wine cellar

Organizing anything can be daunting and we might as well spend that time chilling and drinking our favorite bottle of Chardonnay. But the thing is, it will be hard to look for that bottle if you have a wide range of wine collections in your cellar. 

Organizing Your Wine Cellar

Table of Contents

So, why not organize everything now? Less hassle for you in the future.

Let's start!

Keeping Track Of Your Wine

You thought you need to organize first? No. You need to choose how you are going to track your wine FIRST. This way you can update your tracking as you organize.

You do not have to go back and check again where your wine is located and mess it up all over again. Also, you can check your inventory and make sure you are not running out of your favorite wine.

Wine Tags

Placing one on each bottle will help you locate and make sure each bottle is placed in its proper location. Just don't forget to write the right information on each tag and place them on the right bottle. You can include the year it was produced, its type, and or varietal.

This way, locating a specific bottle of wine will be easy and there is no need for you to remove the bottle from its rack. Less disturbance and shaking.

Another advantage of placing wine tags is you can write the date when that specific wine was made. This is very helpful when you are planning to age your reds. 

You can purchase wine bottle tags or you can do them yourself. 

Apps

You might be surprised to know this, but there are applications available to help you keep track of your wine collection. Apps are really great for techy people. This can be very helpful but these apps might NOT be free. Also, you still need to input or scan the QR code of each and every bottle on these apps. 

Wine tracking apps are very helpful when you have big wine collections which can be hard to check every time. With apps, you can check them any time you want, no need to go to your wine cellars. The drawback of using apps is at first, just like in starting any inventory, it can be very time-consuming. But after the initial entering of all the data, it will be easy.

Here are some of the best wine trackers we can find:

  • Vivino
  • VinoCell
  • Wine Cellar Database
  • Vinfolio
  • CellarTracker
  • Hello Vino

Depending on your preference, the format, scanning options, or the user-friendliness of each app, these are great choices. Just remember, when choosing the app to use, some wines do not have a QR code which some apps need to scan in order to keep track of your collection.

Also, if you are someone who enjoys seeing your collections all the time, just having apps won't always satisfy that. You might need to physically check them yourself.

Spreadsheet

Old fashioned, we know. But there is a saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Keep Track By Spreadsheet

Creating a spreadsheet to keep track of your wine collection can be a daunting task. It takes a lot of effort, time, maintenance, and a lot of patience. In order to make a comprehensive and detailed inventory, you have to have a great and vast knowledge regarding your collection and wines, in general. Again, more research on your part and time.

The advantage of using a spreadsheet is you can personalize it, just how you like it. You can add notes on every wine bottle or varietal you tasted and make sure you will always have them in stock if you like them. By having your own spreadsheet, you will not only expand your knowledge but also, if you really enjoy collecting, have the satisfaction of checking each wine yourself.

Ways To Organize Your Wine Cellar

Did you choose how to keep track of your wine? Yes? Now, let's organize. There are various ways you can organize your collection, just keep in mind that whichever you choose, it is really important that it works for you.

Region

Not a lot of wine drinkers notice this, but wines made in the same region have similar characteristics. Those seasoned and expert wine tasters and sommeliers can identify these similarities. The aroma, sweetness, and acidity of each wine depend on the soil and climate where it grew. Therefore, wines made in the same region might smell and taste similar.

This might seem very hard to do. But in order to actually taste and notice the difference between wines made from various regions, you need to group together bottles made from the same regions in your wine cellar. This is a great way for beginners not only to expand their knowledge and taste buds but also to familiarize themselves with wine regions. 

So next time you enjoy a glass of wine, check what region it came from. Maybe you can discover more wines made from the same region.

Wine Producer

In this day and age, wine producers are making extra efforts in building their brands on the internet. Each bottler produces particular wine tastes depending on the terroir their grapes grew. 

This organizing system is a great way to keep track of specific bottlers and their production. Just remember, wine producers, make different types of wine but the same varieties.

Drink-By Date

It's a common misconception that wines should be aged before you open and drink them. This is not true for all wines. Some wines are made to be enjoyed at once while some bottles are best enjoyed after aging them. 

In order not to accidentally drink bottles that need to age, you can organize your collection into "drink now" and "drink later" or "to age" and "not to age".

Type: Red, White, or Sparkling 

If you have a small cellar or just starting your collection, this is the best and ideal organizing system for you. It doesn't need too much effort, time, or research.

You can allocate rows for each type. This way you can also monitor which type is getting low. But before you choose which type gets the top part, you should first consider the position of your cooling units.

For example, there are WhisperKOOL ceiling mounted cooling units that are installed in your ceiling making the top part of your racks cooler than the bottom. Also, the temperature at the top part of your cellar tends to have less fluctuation. 

Varietal: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, etc

This is just an extension of the previous one. Instead of just organizing your wine per color, you can group together your Chardonnay and separate them to your Sauvignon Blanc. Make sure each varietal is properly grouped together.

If you have vintage bottles of wine, you can also group them together with your other vintage away from the bottles you usually drink every day or on any occasion. This way, there will be less disturbance to your vintages.

Additional: Organize by Grape

Organize By Grape

This type of organizing system is not for beginners. You will need a lot of research and knowledge with this.

There are various types of grapes and each type has different characteristics. The type of grape used in wines gives the uniqueness in flavor, aroma, and acidity. For example, Sauvignon Blanc grapes give off bright fruity flavors while Cabernet Sauvignon grapes give off dark fruity savory essence.

In order to organize your wine cellar by the type of grape, you will need to research what grape is used for each bottle.

Why Do You Need To Organize Your Wine Cellar

There is nothing better than to spend time in your wine cellar looking at your collection, admiring each bottle, then you suddenly stop on your tracks. Where are your Château des Jacques 2017 Clos de Rochegrès, Lail Vineyards J. Daniel Cuvée, and your Keplinger Cabernet Sauvignon? Panic sets in. Your body starts producing cold sweat. 

Your precious vintage wines are lost inside your wine cellar. Your beautiful day turned into a nightmare.

This is what we do not want to happen to you.

Keeping your wine cellar well-organized will help you monitor which bottle is running out and it will make it easier for you to locate your favorite bottles and your precious vintages.

You also have to keep in mind, there are certain locations or corners in your wine cellar that are colder than most and vise versa. Spaces close to the door or if you have a window tend to be warmer compared to the ones closer to your cooling units.

For example, when you open the door and enter your wine cellar, hot air flows inside causing a change in temperature. This can affect the aging process and turn your wine into a prune juice if it happens all the time or if the change in temperature is really drastic.

Remember, certain types of wines need different and very specific temperatures and changes or uneven temperatures can greatly affect wine's flavor and aroma. When you are organizing your wine cellar, you have to make sure each bottle is placed in its right place with a stable temperature and the best location possible.

In order to keep your wine collection properly stored, you will need a perfect wine cooling unit for the size of your wine cellar. These 2 brands are the best ones we can find in the market:

There are various installation types for cooling units, like:

These installation types can affect the temperature distribution and humidity control inside your wine cellar. So, you have to keep in mind which type you want and organize your wine collection depending on where your cooling unit is located. Get a cooling unit that will fit the size of your cellar and its installation type.

We are sure you do not want to disturb that bottle of Gattinara you're planning to drink for your first day in retirement whenever you get a bottle of wine to drink every day. So, make sure it is out of reach and away from your usual everyday wines by organizing your collection properly.

Devise a Method that Works for You

Whichever tracking and organizing system you choose, keep in mind that it should work for you. Establish the method you want to use and stick with it. There is nothing wrong with trying various organizing systems out. 

Remember, there is no such thing as the "right" way. Experiment. Figure out which method works best for you and helps you find the right bottle in the least amount of time possible. 

Of course, we all want to drink wine as soon as possible, right?

 

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Comments

Jake - October 27, 2020

This is very helpful. Construction for my small wine cellar is about to start next month but I’m not really that organized. I have a wine cooler right now but it small. So, your tips are very welcome. Thanks

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