Years back I realized… once the number of bottles you lay down exceeds your ability to remember them, one of two things will happen:
Curse your aging brain and struggle on
Give in and realize there must be a better way
WHY Manage Stored Wine?
Initially, I was too proud to give-in and track my wine. After the issue bubbled to the surface (added sparkling to my cellar 🙂 ) it became clear, not having the ability to generate a list, or establish drinking windows, significantly affected our enjoyment of the wine. It doesn’t matter whether you drink wine daily, or just on the weekend. You will begin to realize (as I did), managing your wine inventory is a key component to maximizing your investment and enhancing your wine experience. So, the next step is to go totally overboard (like the crazy person I am) and put the program together.
Pick Your App/Software
I settled on CellarTracker. That has turned out to be a good decision. I highly recommend this cloud-based app, not just for cellar management, but for the tasting notes and the community too.
Separate the Inventory to be Bottle-Aged
So you disturb this wine as little as possible.
Identify the lower-priced daily-drinkers and rack separately
You will go through this wine quickly enough. It will not require a controlled environment.
Calculate your annual consumption of bottle-aged wines
Let’s round your hypothetical collection to 100 bottles (insert your own quantity). One possibility – assume you drink a nice bottle every other weekend, or round to 25 btls/yr. Purchase your wines to be bottle aged separately from those for drinking now. In this scenario, simply buy 25 bottles for aging every year… this assumes that every wine has the same aging capacity. The annual number of bottles is important. Knowing your number will save you money down the road, when competitively shopping your purchases. Don’t forget to add wine to your calculation and include a party, or two and a few dinners with friends and wine…
Wine Purchases Should be Planned
Plan Purchases so groupings of your aged wine will be constantly maturing and ready to drink
I can’t think of a better reason to diversify your cellar with Red Blends, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, etc. These varietals (depending on winemaker’s style) typically bottle age at different rates. If you can’t wait the 3-4 years it takes to develop your own collection of 5+ year old aged wines, supplement your buying with older vintages from auction sites (like WinBid.com, WineCommune.com, Hart-Davis Hart), or you can ensure provenance by buying from well-known brokers (like Benchmark).
OK, I am outed. I am a real wine geek.
Just to let you know, these are some of the same basic strategies needed for managing a commercial wine cellar. Coming down the pike… more posts on: Why cellar wine? and Wine Buying Strategies (in states where laws allow).