Having a tracking system for your growing wine collection can be very handy. It can help you keep tabs on which wine is ready to drink, what’s in stock for the dinner party, and where each wine is stored. Whether you use a wine cellar, wine cooler or wine racks, you won’t need to be pull out bottle after bottle searching for the right one. A simple tracking system will make it easy to have the bottle you want when you need it.
Wine Storage Options
Whatever tracking system you decide to use, your wine storage system will become central to finding that particular wine. While the casual wine drinker can usually get by with a basic wine rack, when you seriously begin to gather and collect wines, you will probably want to go to a more advanced storage system. Wine cellars and wine fridges are two of the more common choices.
This term originally referred to an actual room that was built, usually in the basement of a home where things are cooler, that was climate controlled and humidity controlled and fitted with walls of wine storage. Today, you don’t need to have an entire room specifically for wine, as there are wine cellars that can fit into any home. The larger systems require some space dedicated to their placement, however, so be sure you have room for the one you choose.
Also called wine coolers, these differ from the fridge in your kitchen in that they are designed to maintain a specific temperature and may even have dual zones that allow you to set temperatures for both red wine and white wine. If you have a large wine collection, you might want to purchase more than one fridge and separate white and red wines.
Keeping Track and Organize Your Wine Storage
There are several ways to organize your wine storage to make it easier to find the desired bottle. The first and most basic separation is bycool white androbust red wines as well as sparkling, bubbly wine and rose. Beyond that, you can make things even more organized by combining your storage organization with your tracking method so that you are able to find the right bottle easily, even if you have a lot of wines from which to choose.
Why You Need Wine Tracking and Organization
One of the things that can affect the way a wine ages in the bottle is movement; another is exposure to temperature changes. Going through bottles of wine trying to find the right one will agitate your wine and also move it out of its optimal temperature setting if you have to remove it from a fridge. A wine-tracking system lets you know exactly what you have on hand, and where it’s located to avoid these issues.
Wine Tracking and Categorization
There are several good ways to keep track of your wine, depending on how long you plan to store the bottles and what reason you have for keeping track. If you’re concerned with opening a bottle after optimum aging time, you will want a dating method. If you want to have the right bottle on hand for a particular meal, wine type is more important. It’s also possible to cross-reference your wine by several tracking methods so that you can find the perfectly aged Bordeaux right when you need it for the right occasion.
Most wines have a specific window during which they are ready for drinking. Some are aged for only a few years, while some wines benefit from aging for 10 years or more. After several years, it can be easy to forget how long a wine has been there or when it will be ready to drink. Tracking your wine by the date window during which you should open and drink the wine will help you to drink it at its best.
By Wine Type
Different seasons and events call for different wines. Tracking wines by the type makes it easy to find a bold red or a sweet white when you are ready. You can separate your wines into as many categories as you like; the more you narrow it down, the easier it is to locate.
Wine Tracking Methods
Choose the method that works best for you, makes the most sense for your needs, and is easy to track. You’ll find labels and stickers readily available both locally and online, including many choices on eBay.
Buy color-coded stickers and attach them to the top of the wine bottle. Colors can indicate wine type, age, and more.
Keep a spreadsheet on your computer of all your wines, where they are located, and when they will be ready to drink. A spreadsheet is easy to update and allows cross-referencing.
- Alphabetical Order
Alphabetize your wine either by varietal or by winery; either way you’ll be able to find it quickly.
- Numerical Order
Number each wine, start with number 1 at the top left slot of your storage, and work left to right. Keep a list of which wine holds which numbered slot.
- Labeled Sections
Divide your wine storage into labeled sections. Labels can be wine type or by the date when those wines will be ready to drink.
- Drink-By Date
Create “best before” labels for your wine bottles; a label maker is good for this task. You can label the shelf right under each bottle if you prefer not to put anything on the bottle. Your dates may in fact be a date range during which you should drink the wine. Be sure that the wines are shelved in order of drink-by date, or you’ll still spend a lot of time looking.
Combining Tracking Methods
In many cases, you will want to combine the tracking method you choose with another to make it as easy as possible to find the wine you are seeking. You can combine the color-coded method for wine type with the drink-by date method by adding a date onto your color-coded labels. This will allow you to find quickly the right type of wine that is currently ready to drink.
Both of these methods can be combined with a spreadsheet you can keep on your computer that lists which wines are found under that color label as well as what the optimal date for drinking that wine will be. This will allow quick and simple reference and a quick access to the proper wine in your storage unit.