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Howard

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How do you organize your cellar

by Howard » Thu Jun 14, 2007 9:48 pm

As we speak, my wine closet shelves are being installed. How do you organize your cellar? By region, country, hemisphere, varietal, some other way? Just curious.
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Redwinger

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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by Redwinger » Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:08 pm

How do I organize my cellar?
Is that some kind of trick question? :P
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Bob Ross

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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by Bob Ross » Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:27 pm

Howard, I follow the Hugh Johnson approach: organize by location and then keep an accurate inventory. This system maximizes the number of bottles you can keep in a cellar.

Works fine, so long as you are can accurately maintain the inventory. And, I love having a fancy Bordeaux right next to a 2005 CdR.

Here's my personal descriptor from my wine diary when I set up my first cellar:

Created an inventory of the wine cellar using the column and row grid idea, where bottles are stored arbitrarily, say in location B17 while another bottle of the same wine may be stored in N27. “No other system will avoid wasting storage space”, according to Johnson. Excel can then be used to sort by types, etc.

Details on request. Regards, Bob
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Gary Barlettano

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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by Gary Barlettano » Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:04 pm

I have two unfinished pine wine racks which I got for $15.00 each at CostPlus World Market. (I've taken a third under advisement.) They each hold 36 bottles. One is for whites and rosés; one is for reds. They reach just to the bottom of my shirttails in my bedroom closet, a centrally located hiding place. The only real downside besides the primitiveness of the whole arrangement is that fat bottles do not fit well and I have to keep some of them up top between the bath towels and winter sweaters. If I exceed my storage capacity, I flip a wine case on its side and use it to hold the overage.

I keep a clipboard with a manual inventory and comments, although my inventory moves rather quickly and my comments are seldom helpful. Within the red and white categories I arrange first by winery and second by variety or blend.

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Robert Reynolds

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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by Robert Reynolds » Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:34 pm

As my entire inventory consists of under 25 bottles, I use a couple of wine boxes on their sides in the coolest spot in the house, which probably isn't really cool enough, but I am low on options right now.
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Carl Eppig

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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by Carl Eppig » Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:54 pm

The three or four cases that are aging are filed in the order we plan to drink them on our wp. This doesn't mean we HAVE to drink them in that order buy try to keep things within a year or two.

Rotation is organized initially by color. Most is devoted to red and these are broken into informal categories of Cab, Zin, Pinot, Italian, Spanish, etc.
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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by Mark Lipton » Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:17 am

Howard wrote:As we speak, my wine closet shelves are being installed. How do you organize your cellar? By region, country, hemisphere, varietal, some other way? Just curious.


I have separate racks for each of the major categories of wines we cellar: Bordeaux, S. Rhone, N. Rhone, Burgundy, Zinfandel, CalCabs and CalRhones. Then, I have a diamond rack that I subdivide into our minor holdings: New World Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Bandol, Loire, Austria, Languedoc, Spain, Chianti, Australia and Germany. Unfortunately, the trend toward oversize bottles has forced me to devote a small rack for them, regardless of the wine inside.

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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by Bill Hooper » Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:35 am

Region.
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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by Howie Hart » Fri Jun 15, 2007 7:19 am

I have 10 bins which hold 2 cases each, which is just about right for storing the contents of one 5-gallon carboy of home made. I label the bin and when it get low and I need the space for another bottling, I label the remaining bottles and move them to a rack. The "store-bought" part of my cellar isn't that large, only about 3-4 cases.
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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by David M. Bueker » Fri Jun 15, 2007 7:48 am

Random locations, but I try to keep everything from a producer in the same area. Then I keep I detailed locational inventory.
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Dick Bueker

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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by Dick Bueker » Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:20 am

Like father like son. Mine is random with the locations in a data base.
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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by Dale Williams » Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:42 am

I have mostly the black grid racking, plus some homemade bins and stacks of OWCs (though in my case they are mixed, not all the orginal wine), plus some "milk crates" with overflows of stuff I don'tplan on drinking for a while. When I first built cellar,I divided into regions. In some case subregions (I have a lot of Bordeaux, so sections for Left, Right, Graves), in other cases I count a whole country (Spain ) as a region. As cellar (predictably) expanded to full capacity and beyond, it is inevitable that boundaries have shifted a little.

I also keep a couple hundred bottles of ones I know I won't be drinking for a bit in my office basement, in cases. Quite mixed, but I keep a very careful list of what is where.

Once again I'll put in a plug for Cellartracker, fantastic for keeping inventory.
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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by James Roscoe » Fri Jun 15, 2007 9:30 am

Dick Bueker wrote:Like father like son. Mine is random with the locations in a data base.


Welcome Dick. Don't forget all that stash at dad's that he is NEVER going to drink. It's all yours my friend.
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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by David M. Bueker » Fri Jun 15, 2007 9:37 am

James Roscoe wrote:
Dick Bueker wrote:Like father like son. Mine is random with the locations in a data base.


Welcome Dick. Don't forget all that stash at dad's that he is NEVER going to drink. It's all yours my friend.


He's Dad. I'm son. He is drinking it all. :cry: :wink:
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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by Bruce K » Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:30 am

I have nine pine racks that hold 36 bottles each. Two are for Loires, one for Burgundy, one for Beaujolais, one for Bordeaux, one for Rhone and Languedoc, one for Spain, one for Italy and one for USA. I've also got a couple of smaller racks for miscellaneous wines or overruns. It doesn't always work out evenly and occasionally bottles from one category will go to a neighboring rack but this at least limits the amount of time I have to spend searching for a particular bottle.
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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by ClarkDGigHbr » Sat Jun 16, 2007 2:52 pm

Bruce K wrote:... but this at least limits the amount of time I have to spend searching for a particular bottle.


I started out with a similar arrangement, but bottles tend to randomize over time. So, I don't worry about that any more.

Finding bottles is made easy by a freebie wine database program I was given years ago. I also created a process for exporting the data into a multi-page Excel spreadsheet that displays the physical arrangement of wine in my VinoTemp. This includes visual clues, like colored cells for wines that are marked for near term consumption, or for wines that I am reserving (like for a tasting, a party or donation). This has worked well for me for the past 5-6 years.

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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by Ian Sutton » Sat Jun 16, 2007 3:41 pm

Random locations, with an inventory I try to keep up to date. There is a vague plan to keep the ones that need more aged buried in the recesses and a dozen or so 'ready to drink' stood up in a 12 bottle box.
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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by Jenise » Sat Jun 16, 2007 4:01 pm

Howard, I once tried to organize by country, but I wasn't happy mixing long term agers with short term wines, and then I refiled everything by grape, and then I wasn't entirely happy with that either. I don't choose wine from my paper inventory, I instead tend to stand in the cellar look around for inspiration. So when I go into the cellar to choose a wine, I probably have a specific purpose in mind and I'm probably thinking "something Italian" or "Rhonish" or "a big cab" or "only Bordeaux will do tonight!", and sometimes I don't know what I want until I put my hand on the bottle. It's like it speaks through the glass to me.

So after struggling to conform to an all one way or all the other way approach, I've drifted into organizing by end purpose and the entirely unobjective and capricious way I select wine. My 2000 bottle cellar consists of: Everyday White, Germany, Austria, White Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhone, Bubbly, Dessert, Australia, South Africa, Italy, Spain, Loire Reds, California/Washington/BC Cabs and Merlots, Pinot Noir and Burgundy, All Other Syrah, Zin, and Sean Thackerays. Literally everything I own is one of the above. Within those categories, where I have a lot of something, I attempt to keep like vintages together but I don't bother separating neighborhoods. That is, I don't care whether a Rhone is Cote Rotie or CdP, but I try to keep all the 98's separate from the 99's separate from the '01s based on the presumption that vintage will be the leading criteria for selection.
Last edited by Jenise on Sun Jun 17, 2007 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Bruce K

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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by Bruce K » Sun Jun 17, 2007 3:09 pm

Very impressive! I have to get more technologically advanced.

The way I distinguish between long-term and short-term wines is I put the agers on the bottom shelves of the rack, the drink-nows on the top shelves and the middle-agers in the middle. Not perfect, but seems to work for me.
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Kristen B Caldwell

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Re: How do you organize your cellar

by Kristen B Caldwell » Fri Aug 24, 2007 7:51 pm

I have a Vinotheque 550 wine cellar, which (despite its name) holds about 450 bottles. That's with one column of magnum racking. I love being able to keep my wine at a constant 55 degrees F; my only real frustration with it is that the racks are suited for the typical Bordeaux-sized bottles, so I have trouble stowing my fatter Pinot Noirs, Syrahs, Turley Zinfandels, and champagnes (lower case "c" to indicate I'm being casual with the term, using it for sparkling wines from outside Champagne as well as true Champagnes).

Within the cellar, the basic organization is by type and year within type. I drink almost exclusively red wine, although I have some whites on hand for company--Chardonnay for my father, Sauvignon Blanc since I think it's generally tastier, and a few bottles of (on the dry side) Gerwurztraminer because it can work well with curries. White wines are relegated to the far left column of the cellar.

The space beneath the racking holds a surprising number of bottles, and right now it's full of Turley Zins, Erath Pinots, and a couple of Schramsberg sparkling wines. The magnum rack (on the far right) has six actual magnums (3 of them are Cabernet Sauvignons from 1987, my nephew's birth year, which I am trying very hard to retain) and I've jammed in Turleys in the rest of the space.

I have my list in a spreadsheet, with headings "Bottles" (quantity), "Size" (375ml, 500ml, 750ml, and 1.5L), "Wine" (winery, location, vineyard, and varietal), and "Area" (where the wines are within the cellar). And I see I was clever enough to add a comment to the Area cell in case I forgot how I set it up: 8)

M = magnum column
B = bottom (under racks)
1 - 12 start from the right (first column to the left of M)
M starts from the bottom up; B goes right to left on the bottom, then left to right on the top.
1 - 12 start from the top down.

I'm a bit of a geek in general, I suppose, wine- and otherwise. :lol:

In theory, I update a printout of the spreadsheet when I remove or add a bottle, and update the actual spreadsheet on my computer from time to time. In practice, that works nicely until I either get a large infusion of new wines or get a little carried away entertaining. At some point, I have to do a full physical inventory, which is quite a production. However, even if I were absolutely anal about keeping track (I used to be really hardcore), I'd still need to reshuffle the wines from time to time, since they're in by year within varietal--so when newer wines arrive, the spaces where the older wines were are the available spots.

My categories are a little loose--other than the mixture of fat-bottomed bottles :) below and in the magnum section--it goes (right to left) Pinot Noir, Syrah, Petite Syrah, Zinfandel, Petit Verdot (okay, I only have one bottle of that!), Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon (which includes Bordeaux and California Meritages), Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Port, and that takes us to the column of whites. Why don't I just stick the other Bordeaux varietals in with the Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, and Meritage? Good question, as I waffle on it from time to time, but I think my feeling is that I'll cellar the latter longer, and they're typically more expensive, so I'll open the Merlots, etc. for people who aren't as picky about what they imbibe.

There are a few extraneous bottles--sparkling wine and white wine in the refrigerator, and some drink-anytime reds in the coat closet, but I don't count those in my spreadsheet. Once a wine exits the cellar, I consider it gone.

All this because a friend of mine asked my advice on purchasing a small wine cooling unit--to hold maybe two cases--and I figured there might be some opinions here.

Cheers!
Kristen

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