Tuesday, January 16, 2007

How do YOU keep track?

Deadlines, shopping lists, calendars, to-do lists--keeping track of the 100,000 details of "modern life" is enough to make you crazy. I don't have any free brain cells to devote to recalling what wine is in the house to go with dinner, never mind calculating if it's ready to drink. On my calendar for today, however, it said "Renew CellarTracker." This I can manage. Renewing my subscription to CellarTracker, the online wine management community started by Eric LeVine, means that his divine computer program will do all the work of tracking my wines again this year. (logo reproduced with Eric's kind permission)

I emphasize the word community because this has turned out to be so much more than just a wine tracking tool for me. 26,636 users of CellarTracker have left 230,010 free wine reviews on this site for your perusal. I learn an enormous amount from my fellow CellarTrackers. I don't know who olivethegreat is, but I know we have sympatico wine tastes. Who is VinoMe? S/he is my go-to person for tracking my baby Bordeaux collection and its development. And I've yet to meet annsalisbury, but she shops at the same wine stores I do so I know I will bump into her one day.

The CellarTracker site operates as free shareware, but Eric is adding new features all the time available only to subscribers (like automatic cellar evaluations and links to Steve Tanzer's International Wine Cellar scores). How much do subscriptions cost? Eric suggests $30 if you have less than 500 bottles in your cellar--talk about excellent QPR, given the sheer number of reviews being added every single day.

Keeping tasting notes for the wine you drink is the #1 best way to learn about your taste preferences. I know you can do this with notebooks, label removers, and ink but if you're reading this (face it) you're a bit of a techno nerd anyway so why not put everything on CellarTracker? And, it has great features such as average cost per bottle ( mine was $13.29/bottle average for the past year), purchases over time (February oddly enough seems to be the month I buy wine!), consumption by region (US still winning but France coming on strong), and consumption by varietal (I drink LOTS of sauvignon blanc, apparently). There is lots more on offer (like printing out restaurant-style winelists to stun your dinner guests...), and after a little intuitive exploring you will soon have the system down pat.

I know there are lots of other systems out there for tracking your wine, both online and off, but this is mine. Registration is free so take a look and enter some bottles from your collection, or some tasting notes. I predict that within a few hours you, too, will be a subscriber!

Meanwhile, leave a comment and share how you keep track of your wine.


farley said...

I've found that since I started writing my blog, I keep much better track of what wine I drink and the notes.
A) because I'm looking for something to write about and reviews always work
B)I realized my memory isn't what it used to be, and this way I've got instant recall

...I always meant to start a wine notebook, but it's just not practical for me with my bad memory and all. This site sounds very handy, though.

Sonadora said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sonadora said...

I'm with Farley on the blog helping me keep much better track of what I thought of a particular bottle than I used to do.

Also, we have a massive spreadsheet that details all the wine we have...where we bought it, when we bought it, how much, suggested drinking times, brief notes on how it tasted last time we drank it, etc. It's worked so far, but CellarTracker appeals to my innate need to organize things as well...

(Sorry for the delete, realized I had a bad spelling error!)

Dr. Debs said...

Sonadora, did I mention you can upload spreadsheets to CellarTracker?? And yes, I agree with both of you. Blogging helps you keep more disciplined records!