Friday, October 3, 2014 AT 12:35pm | ESOMMELIER BLOG

Five Worst Bits of Advice We’ve Heard About Wine Cellar Management


The expression that everyone is an expert, or thinks they are, applies to wine cellar management as much as anything else. People who are knowledgeable about wine don’t always have the best advice when it comes to collecting and storage and this applies to sommeliers and wine professionals as well. Of course there are many who have great tips but we’ve also heard our fair share of doozies. Here is the top (or bottom) five.

[1] “You don’t need to inventory, you’ll remember what’s in your collection.”

The reason why telephone numbers are seven numerals long is because this is the limit to what most people can remember, as least in order. Granted, our sequential memory is more restricted than our collective memory but very few of us can recall what we have in our cellars once the selection goes into triple digits, let alone what we paid for specific bottles, where we got it from, the current value or when we should drink our wine.

[2] “You’ll remember what you drank in the morning.”

Really? How many of us have grabbed bottles from our cellar, consumed them, chucked the empties into recycling that night and pretty much forgotten about it the next day when other concerns such as work, family and the playoffs came along. Unless you have a system to help you keep track easily, especially when you take out a bottle from your cellar – you will loose track of what you’ve got.

[3] “There’s an app for that.”

No, there isn’t. Well, not one that can also print bar codes and scan out wine when you’re ready to drink it.  Apps will often let you enter your wine, but they are not integrated into your cellar, where the wine is checked in and out of. They don’t allow you to scan your bottles so you know what you are putting in and taking out of your collection. An app does not know the location of your wine either.

[4] “You can get people to do it for you.”

Sure, there skilled people who professionally manage wine cellars. But, all too often we hear someone say they will get their nephew who is home from college for summer break or a personal assistant to log and manage the wines. This holds several perils.

First, someone who is just doing this as a job probably does not know that much about wine and is likely to misread the labels. For instance, each year, Kistler makes a number of Chardonnays and the only way to tell one wine from another is look for the vineyard name, as all of the labels are pretty much the same. This is true for wines made all over the world. European wines, especially those from Germany, can be very difficult to decipher if you do not know what you are doing. The last thing you want to do is to have to go back and fix mistakes.

Also, there is bound to a break in continuity. Let’s say Brandon gets a summer job in a law firm next year and is not available to update your cellar. Or after your assistant finally gets a handle on how to properly log Burgundy, he takes another job. Then you need to go through the training period with someone else and hope there is a seamless transition. In the meantime, your valuable collection might become disorganized, again causing you time you hoped to save by having someone do it for you.

[5] “You can just do it in Excel.”

Sure, you can but if you are not very disciplined about updating your inventory regularly you will lose track meaning that to get your cellar back in sync you’ll have to spend a lot of time doing a physical inventory of your wine. Wouldn’t you rather spend those moments casually drinking your wine instead?

We have no doubt that well-intentioned people have said these things. But, unless you have had personal experience managing a cellar, it is hard to see the issues that can come up. And that is the benefit of using wine cellar management software. We can anticipate these problems before they become your’s.


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