The “program” I use is CellarTracker, which is the brainchild of Eric LeVine ( Le Vine, not Le Veen) who thought it would be a great way to track his own collection and that of his friends. He was persuaded to make it available to more people, and his simple idea turned huge!
All of these years CellarTracker has had an Excel spreadsheet look (kinda), with few bells and whistles. But over the course of the last couple of years, Eric and Dan Polivy have been working to update the look, feel, and function of CellarTracker, and they have succeeded. The new site is absolutely beautiful, with a lot of new user-friendly features.
Now, I don’t have nearly the number of bottles of wine that I had, say, five years ago. But that’s okay. Because the bottles I have are extraordinary, and I don’t enter my “drinker” wines in the system unless they’re a great find.
For the noobs out there, the “drinkers” are those low-cost wines that I experiment with in order to find something that I can pop and pour while I’m working at the computer, having dinner, watching TV, ironing, etc. Yes, I iron. So?
Sometimes you just want to have a simple wine to pair with dinner. “Well now. What pairs well with bagged salad?” You get it. Sometimes you just want to watch something you’ve DVR‘d (yay to Duck Dynasty!), and while ironing, want to drink a nice wine that in the outside chance that you knock over the glass, there will be no weeping. Ever since I dropped and broke a bottle of Williams-Selyem Peay Vineyard Pinot Noir, I’ve been especially vigilant. So I look for specials at Total Wine, Khoury’s, Trader Joe’s, Lee’s, and – believe it or not – Whole
Paycheck Foods, in order to find these drinkers. They are not always finished – even with the Vacu-Vin, they rarely retain any quality for more than a day or two – but because they’re cheap it’s not a great loss, and I have a couple of Mason jars of wine in the fridge waiting for recipes!
CellarTracker now has a great new interface, and I’ve found it to be very valuable in ways that I hadn’t imagined. We (meaning those of us who fancy ourselves to be “collectors” (more or less) of wine) often drink bottles of wine with friends and forget to mark it in the database. CellarTracker’s new site lets me remove wines that have been gone for years, but for whatever reason, I never recorded in my list. I can now remove many wines at
one time, and do it almost instantly.
I highly recommend CellarTracker to anyone who has more than, say, a dozen or so bottles of wine. This is especially valuable if you’ve run across a bottle and you don’t know whether to keep it or drink it. Now that I’ve matured in my wine drinking, I only enter those that I know I’ll be keeping for some time or that are club receipts; sometimes I’ll record those that I know I won’t be drinking for a couple of weeks even if I wouldn’t ordinarily record them. That’s called “wine sale and grab a lot.” If I find something on sale that looks promising, it goes into CellarTracker.
Just so you know – I’m a paid member and I have zero financial interest in CellarTracker. I just found that it’s so much better than my Excel spreadsheet. Not only do I get a place to record my wines, but I also get to read other members’ tasting notes. Sometimes I agree, and sometimes I don’t, but with that being said, it’s such a great valuable resource. It also keeps you humble!
Collectors, check out CellarTracker. And experience it for yourself.
I forgot to mention. Joining is free, but it’s worth it to pay for a membership. Mainly because you get more features and stuff. I’ll leave it at that. FYI – although they have nearly 240,000 members, my number is just above 3,000. So I’m a tenured member. I love it!