You’ve taken the first step in proper wine storage by deciding to invest in a home wine cellar, or store your wine at an offsite self-storage facility. Once you have the infrastructure in place and set the right temperature and humidity, you should arrange your collection in a manner that enables easy access to the right wines, at the right time.
Below we provide a few tips to keep your wine cellar organized.
1. Establish a Logical Organization System
There is no right or wrong method for categorizing your wine; however, some options might be more logical for you than others. Some options to consider, include:
Brand – If you prefer purchasing your wine in bulk, storing by brand is particularly useful. This will allow you to break down each brand by varietal, vintage, etc. for easier categorization.
Varietal – Consider storing your Cabs together, your Chardonnays together, and so on. When you’re looking for the perfect food pairing, you’ll know exactly where to find the wine you need.
Price – Typically, price point can signify how long a wine should be aged. Wines in similar price ranges can often be stored together. This will make it easier for you to keep track of when each segment of your collection should be consumed.
Region – Because region can greatly influence the taste of wine, storing wines from similar parts of the world together can make it easy to select a bottle for the specific meal or occasion.
Color – Organizing by color is a good option for beginner collectors, who may only require a simple method to keep track of their wines
2. Consider Wine Bottle Tags
Wine bottle tags are hung on the neck of the wine bottle, and can help you locate the specific bottle you’re looking for quickly. Simply label the tag by region, brand, vintage or varietal to quickly locate the bottle you need.
Most wine bottle tags are reusable and can be re-labeled with a dry erase marker. Color-coded tags are also available, which can help you better categorize.
3. Position Everyday Wines in Accessible Areas
As mentioned above, price point can often help to determine if a wine should be consumed right away, or aged for several years to achieve optimum flavor. Consider storing more expensive wines out of sight to avoid opening them by accident. Keep everyday wines on:
The floor of your storage area
The door of your cellar
An eye-level shelf for easy access.
4. Document Your Inventory
Once your wine collection is organized and put away, maintain an Excel spreadsheet of your inventory, and cross off bottles as they are opened. Be sure to document region, brand, varietal, vintage, price and quantity. You can even specify the shelf or location in your storage area for quick retrieval.
There are also computer programs and mobile apps available to specifically keep track of your wine collection. Here are some options to consider:
The Personal Wine Curator
Snooth Wine Pro (iPhone App)
Cor.kz Wine Info (iPhone App)
Drync (also available as iPhone App)
VinoCell (iPhone and iPad App)
There is not a universal organization system that will work for everyone. By considering how you select and pair wines, you can create a wine storage methodology that addresses your personal preferences. Over time, and as your collection evolves, you can update your system as needed, giving you easy access to the perfect bottle of wine for any occasion.