A guide to organising your wine cellar

A wine collection is a beautiful thing to have in a home and something to be proud to own. When you have taken the time to amass an enviable wine collection they need to be organised to access bottles as you desire. Reds, whites, Champagnes, vintage, locally-made, home made and every other wine that you and your family and friends enjoy. This is certainly something to be proud of, but now you have the task of finding specific bottles every time you want to serve them. If your collection is significant, this can become a challenge if there is not a system in place. Organising your wine rack may take a little time initially, but once you establish an efficient system, it will actually save you time when you’re looking for that specific bottle.

The first task is to choose a system for organising your wines. This can be a paper based systems or digital system, on bottle or off bottle system. Online applications and storage systems for information can be considered more reliable and secure than paper in this day and age. Digital information, such as a spreadsheet,  can be reliably backed up, shared instantly and accessed from anywhere at any time while paper can be easily lost, damaged and can be messy to maintain. A combination of digital and paper can also be effective, by recording information on a paper based system that is at hand in the cellar when your collection changes and then updating the records in your digital system.  There are also cellar storage specific apps available such as “Cellar Tracker”, this will allow you to scan the barcode on your wine and identify it. A traditional and effective system for organising wine within a cellar is by the use of neck tags on each bottle. This will allow for quick and easy viewing of the details of each bottle of wine at hand. Neck labels can also be colour coded to identify a feature of your wine such as colour code specifying drinking year or price range or bottle quality. Combining either paper or digital systems with labels on your wine racking can also assist in organising your wine. As most cellars have more columns than rows of wines, each column in your cellar can be allocated a number and each row a letter of the alphabet, this will make the exact location of each bottle easy to identify. 

As there are many important aspects to each bottle of wine that can be identified a priority order should be created. This can be ranged by any aspect that is most important to you and your collection. Some of the factors that should be considered when organising your wine collection are the following; recommended drinking age, grape varietal, country of origin, region of origin, vineyard of origin, Year of production, Price at purchase. The location within cellar should be considered after the structure of organisation has been established. Wines that need to be cellared for longer periods can be located in higher areas of the cellar or more out of the way places, while wines that will be drunk more frequently should be located in areas that are easy to access. 

There are a few reasons why it is important to order your wine collection with some accuracy. Not all wines are designed to be stored for the same amount of time and keeping a track of which wines should be consumed at the optimal time will increase the pleasure from drinking. A well organised wine cellar looks impressive when sorted as well as providing easy access to wines when you want something for a special or just a simple wine to enjoy with friends.