January is National Get Organized Month so it's the perfect time to think about organizing your wines. Regardless of whether your wines are stored in a wine rack, wine fridge or wine cellar, a wine management system will help keep track of what vintages you have, where they are located and when to drink them.
The first step is to decide how you want your collection divided. It could be by brand or producer such as Penfolds, Estancia, Brennan Vineyards. Wine regions may include France, Spain, Argentina, or California, New York, Ohio. Varietals like Cabs, Merlots, and Chardonnays may make more sense for you, or simply arrange vino by vintage. If you’re just starting out, the type of wine such as dry, sem-dry, semi-sweet, sweet, sparkle, dessert may work better, or sort by color - reds, whites, roses.
You have several options to consider when organizing. Bottle tags that hang from the neck of the wine bottle work well to identify the brand, varietal and vintage. Tags are available in a variety of colors if you want to color code your collection.
There are numerous wine inventory programs that will help you keep track of your wine stock. The most popular include:
Cellar Tracker http://www.cellartracker.com
Manage Your Cellar http://manageyourcellar.com
The Personal Wine Curator http://www.thewinecurators.com
Cor.kz, Snooth Wine Pro, Hello Vino and AG Wine Guide are just a few available for the iPhone.
For the DIY types, you could create an Excel spreadsheet where the information on each wine is listed and the location noted.
Timing is every thing, especially with wine. Separating wine into categories that let you know at a glance when to consume is helpful, especially if you have a large wine collection. Categories could include, “drink now”, “drink in 5 years”, “drink in 10 years”, "Aging Investment".
It will also help if the older aging wines are kept near the bottom of your storage unit. That way they will not be handled as much and will be kept cool and dark. Place those “drink now” wines at eye level so you can grab and go when you need a bottle for dinner.
5) Adding Wines
Take your time when building a wine collection. Add what you like. When you find a bottle that resonates with you, buy 6 bottles or a case. Suggestions from wine critics and sommeliers are great when trying a wine, but only you know if you want several bottles of it in your collection.
Don’t just collect and never drink. Wines have a life span, find out what it is for each bottle. Ask the winemaker or wine shop owner where you purchased it, or check on line. You want to get maximum enjoyment from each bottle before it has reached its flavor peak.
It doesn’t matter if you have 24 bottles or 240 bottle - or more. If you drink wine regularly, organizing your collection will help you keep track of what to drink now, what to save for later, and where to find that special bottle quickly. After all, enjoyment is what it’s all about!