Wine Talk

Snooth User: Degrandcru

Keeping track of inventory

Posted by Degrandcru, Nov 19, 2012.

Did some work on my cellar in the last week; as all my bottles got dusty, I cleaned them all and used the occation to do an inventory count... what a bummer, of 305 bottles I had in the books I found 250... no idea where most of the 55 missing bottles did go to, a few I can remember, others I would like to remember. Good thing is that most of the missing bottles are low end, every day drinkers around $20. Now I am thinking about changing the way I keep track. I probably won't keep track of the everyday drinkers anymore and just of the higher end ones, worth to cellar for a few years. Just too much work to keep track of all the bottles one consumes.

Just had to reorganize my cellar and dedicate a space for the everyday drinkers I won't keep track off. How do you guys keep track? Do you keep track at all, and if so, of every bottle or just of a few?

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Replies

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Reply by outthere, Nov 20, 2012.

It begins and ends with Cellartracker.com nothing else even comes close. Every bottle, when/where I bought it, how much I paid for it, where it is stored, who I drank it with and what I thought of it. Best cellar maintenance software bar none.

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Reply by Lucha Vino, Nov 20, 2012.

i second what OutThere says.  I try to keep up with entering my purchases and my tasting notes, but tend to fall behind and then end up making a major effort to catch up.

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Reply by napagirl68, Nov 20, 2012.

Yes, great for tracking your own stuff, but CellarTracker is HORRIBLE for ratings tho, imo.  If you should google a wine, CT usually comes up one of the first hits on ratings.  And the ratings are either unreliable or just wrong- lame comments, etc.

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Reply by outthere, Nov 20, 2012.

I'll have to disagree with you there NG. For the most part I find the average Cellartracker ratings are tougher than those of WIne Advocate (Parker, Galloni), IWC (Tanzer), Wine Spectator, Rhone Report (Dunnick), Wine Library (Vaynerchuck). Also the software allows you to filter tasting notes and only show those from others whom you find have similar palates to yourself. You can be kept abreast of how your cellared wine is progressing by tracking notes from others on your wines. 

But it goes far far beyond tasting notes and speaks to what the OP asks for in his post. You can follow the value of our investment, your buying/consumption trends, drinking windows, pending deliveries and any cellar metric imaginable with the nearly unlimited number of customizable reports you can run. You an even  print a wine list based on your cellar broken down by country, region, dry/sweet, variety etc. For the purpose of managing a wine cellar it cannot be beat.

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Reply by gregt, Nov 20, 2012.

I'd agree with you on that last part OT - it's a fantastic tool for keeping track and Eric is pretty passionate about keeping up with the expectations of his users.

As far as use for finding info - I'd have to agree w NG. It's like any random collection - you get the average of the crowd. Same as Yelp or even Snooth. And the taste of the crowd is what gave the world America's Got Talent and the Khardashians. Why do I want to take the advice of someone, on any subject whatsoever, if the person has such a low IQ he or she would watch the Khardashians?

Then CT has its own subculture - there are people who have the goal of posting thousands of notes based on a sip and spit taste while there are others, perhaps most, who went out and bought the wine because it was highly rated and they simply validated the rating when they tasted it because they knew the label and they knew they were supposed to like it.

It has a lot of great features and for inventory, it's the best I can think of, other than your own personal spreadsheet or database.

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Reply by outthere, Nov 20, 2012.

People do like to share their scores and many are  meaningless. Personally I stopped adding scores to my tasting notes a few years ago because I realized it meant nothing. The tasting notes should speak for themselves. Also scores with no notes are completely worthless. While I don't use Cellartracker  for scores is is a nice reference as a tasting note will give you a peek into a wine better than a picture of a bottle will. I have avoided many purchases simply by checking notes on a wine I am not familiar with.

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Reply by Degrandcru, Nov 20, 2012.

I do use cellartracker and I do leave notes (more for myself to know later on if I should buy the wine again). Anyway, even with cellartracker its tough to keep track. To often you just grab a few bottles on the way to a dinner, you open some bottles when friends are over... later you don´t remember to take them out of your inventory. So my solution would be not to track every bottle and just track the bottles worth tracking.

Especially on the lower price point for the everyday drinkers I usually rebuy the same wines, as the options are limited. No need to track those and these will be the ones I can grab quickly on the way out or pop without thinking twice about it.

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Reply by napagirl68, Nov 20, 2012.

We can agree to disagree.  Again, I think CT is a fine tracking system, but I do have a problem with many of the ratings, as I believe they are bogus.   Why it bothers me, vs. other sites that rate wines is the fact that one can google a wine they might be interested in, and a star rating from CT usually comes up as a first or second hit.  Early on, I did pass on some wines because of this, which was stupid since I hadn't really looked into these reviews.  It is true that any rating site, snooth, etc, will have a plethora of ratings, many of which others will disagree with- after all, wine is subjective.   However CT reviewers seem to fancy themselves "uber-reviewers", slamming decent wines for reasons unknown to me... maybe some element of snobbery- IDK.

Look, I am no slave to ratings, but when you have some major critics like tanzer, parker liking a certain wine, and your wine friends love that same wine, and YOU also concur, it is a bit suspect to do a search on said wine, and have 2.5-3 stars come up on CT as hit 1 or 2.

I'm sure you can get a much more accurate review of a wine on CT if you use it frequently, and can filter reviews by users that seem to have similar tastes to your own.  That is all fine.  But in general I find the reviews poorer than they should be, and for many winedrinkers who do not use CT, seeing a poor rating come up for a wine they are researching is, IMO, downright misleading. 

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Reply by outthere, Nov 20, 2012.

You said it yourself, "Wine is subjective." What others think, whether they get paid to think it or are just hobbyists, really doesn't matter if it does not align with your palate. I like Parker and Tanzer but not always agree with them. Moreso with Parker but thats more palate shift than not liking his reviews. We're all different. It's not about snobbery.

Seems I touched a nerve NG, sorry bout that.

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Reply by Eric Guido, Nov 20, 2012.

I use Cellar Tracker regularly, but mainly for myself.  I find it the best way to organize my cellar and my tasting notes.  It's really just a tool and the community part comes second.  However, I do use it often to gauge how a wine is drinking.  Such as, if I want to open a wine and I'm afraid it's not ready yet, those cellar tracker reviews can be very helpful.

 

Also, you can track your futures (pre-arrivals), what, when and where you bought an item.  Let's say I have a corked bottle, I can see that I bought it from Italian Wine Merchant and even retrieve the receipt number.  This way I can return it and get another bottle.  I used this feature a number of times.

 

Maybe I just like to keep track of more details than the average wine-drinker, but I find cellar tracker to be invaluable.

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Reply by JonDerry, Nov 20, 2012.

The 2.5/3 stars on CT actually turn out to be some pretty decent scores. Not sure why the stars are so low on search, it clearly doesn't do the notes justice. But I think as a majority, we can agree that CT is a great resource for keeping track of inventory, notes, etc. 

Also it's nice getting to know some of you on here and elsewhere, so when tasting notes pop up on my CT feed for wines in my inventory, I can get a lot more out of the note and make sure to pay attention (if it's a friend or someone with a recognizable track record).

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Reply by Michael C Butler, Nov 20, 2012.

I would use Snooth.com for all your wine inventory tracking needs :)

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Reply by jtryka, Nov 20, 2012.

Do we really have to track our inventory?  That seems like such a headache and a waste to time that could be spent drinking the wine!  Of course I only have maybe 150 bottles, so it's a poor excuse on my part, but I'd still rather be sipping wine!

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Reply by gregt, Nov 20, 2012.

jtryka - it has to do with how many bottles and how long you keep them and what kind of assortment it is. If you buy by the case, but you only buy two or three producers, you can just track things in your head even if you have many hundreds of bottles. But in 20 years, if you picked up things from various travels, etc., all over the world, it's going to be pretty hard to remember every single bottle, especially if the number gets into the thousands. Years ago, I never expected to have more than a few dozen bottles.  And some are pretty random. Since I don't want to expend the energy digging thru thousands of bottles to find something, a list you keep in pencil or on the computer or in some form can be really useful.  

Whatever other info you keep is up to you. Maybe you want receipts for insurance purposes. Maybe you want to note what you thought of a bottle in case you have more or in case you come across it at a good price - was it ready, was it as good as you'd hoped, was it flawed in some way, was it super acidic, etc. So in that sense, recording your impressions helps and it also helps you remember better somehow. The process of articulating your impression makes the impression more permanent. At least for me.

As far as recording other info - I'm not going to keep a drinking window suggestion - I'll know that just by looking at the bottle. And someone else's suggestion is not likely to be any better than mine. But some people like to keep those sorts of notes and suggestions for themselves. 

Tonight I was tasting 2006 Barolos - they were tight and bitter and horrible. But in 10 and 20 years they'll be great. Only they'll be hundreds of dollars a bottle. So if you have the space, it's worth buying them and storing them. By doing so however, you end up with a collection and you have other things on your mind so you don't remember every single bottle and you realize that it's a great idea to have some kind of inventory system. If all my wines were drink-now types, I probably wouldn't care as much.

But the larger point is worth raising - you can keep track of any number of things - your socks in the drawer, vacuum cleaner bags, etc. Whether it's really useful to keep formal lists is a different matter.

As to NG's point " However CT reviewers seem to fancy themselves "uber-reviewers", slamming decent wines for reasons unknown to me..."  That's true. Not only characteristic of CT reviewers either.

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Reply by JonDerry, Nov 21, 2012.

JT - to your question about tracking, you should totally do it, if for no other reason than the rest of us are, plus all the reasons GT just outlined. Either way, think it will pay off for you and there really is some of the best free software out there. 

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Reply by Lucha Vino, Nov 21, 2012.

My cellar collection resembles what GT described.  Lots of individual bottles purchased over the past 4 years or so.  There is no way I can keep track of all that in my head.

Here's a recent example that happened to me that illustrates why keeping track of your wine is important.

I was at a local small winery and they were offering a 30% discount on their wines.  They had two vintages of their cabernet sauvignon available and I wanted to purchase some of each to start creating a vertical of their vintages.  But, what did I already have in my cellar?  Was it the 09 or the 10? How many bottles did I still have?  All I could remember was that I had some of their cab in my cellar.

Solution? To the iPhone! A quick look at Cellar Tracker showed me what I had in my cellar and helped me make my purchase decision.

Now, if I had unlimited space and funds, I might not care about what was in my cellar and I would just buy a case of each!

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Reply by EMark, Nov 21, 2012.

Why track your inventory?  Of all the logical and illogical answers to that question that were presented above, one was missed:  for some people, it's just fun.  I'll let you decide whether my rationale is logical or illogical.  If it is not fun for you, then just decide if the time investment in building and maintaining your inventory is commensurate with the benefits that others have suggested.

Considering the logical responses, my keeping of an inventory fails big time in one regard.  If you look at the picture of my wine cabinet over in the thread on home storage units, I confess to the fact that it is pretty disorganized.  That is, partially at least, a result of its design (or lack, thereof).  So, the fact that I know there is a bottle of '78 Mayacams Cab in there, does not mean I can find it without a whole lot of dredging around.  ;-)

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Reply by gregt, Nov 22, 2012.

emark - that may be the biggest reason for some people actually. I missed that but I think you're right. My old girlfriend would tell me that her father liked to go through the freezer and see what they had. He was a hunter and also bought things like sides of pork, etc., and I guess some people just enjoy it. Same with people who collect stamps, etc.

Personally, I hate it because it means you have to remember to be compulsive and I don't like that. But if you don't enter your purchases at some interval, your inventory system ends up being useless. But there are some people who actually enjoy doing physical inventories, etc.  

It's a good point. My guess is that jtryka isn't one of those folks tho!

 

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Reply by outthere, Nov 22, 2012.

I do the majority of my purchasing online through mailing lists and auction houses/flash sales sites so entering my purchases into CT immediately is a snap.

in the new version of CT Beta you can enter multiple wines and multiple producers in one lump update rather than me individual bottling at a time. A real plus.

Here's a quick snapshot

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Reply by EMark, Nov 22, 2012.

GregT, I suspect you are correct in guessing about JT.  Maybe, he'll come back and either agree with us or straighten us out

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