Wine Cellar Management is a must

So you have a beautiful wine cellar stocked to the rafters with fine wines – or that’s the dream, anyway. More and more Canadians are embracing the concept of wine collecting, with wine sales continuing to grow year-over-year; internationally, exports of Canadian wine have doubled in value in the last four years, suggesting that people in other countries enjoy our wine and are buying more of it as well! Assuming at least some of this wine is being stored rather than consumed immediately, the question is, what is being done with it? As in…who is keeping track of all this wine, and how?

Purchasing, storing and organizing your wine collection

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Obviously, collecting wine starts with buying it in the first place. If you have gone beyond the realm of simply hand-picking bottles from your local retailer, you already know about the wide world of buying online, buying wine by auction and purchasing through brokers. There are pitfalls to buying wine this way; for example, if you fail to keep track of deliveries, you may find yourself shorted, or missing the wines that you need when you are expecting them. This is because pre-ordered wines are often held back contingent on harvesting times and temperatures, and/or you are dealing with small vintners in faraway countries who don’t ship regularly to Canada. Keep a spreadsheet of what you ordered and when, and when you receive delivery of something, note what it was and have it unpacked right away – so you don’t just wind up shoving unopened cases into the deep recesses of your cellar and forgetting all about them.

Clearly, proper storage of these wines follows. Having a private, custom wine cellar gives you the ultimate easy access to your wines, allowing you to enjoy them whenever you want without having to leave the premises to select a bottle. Even if you don’t have a spare room to completely dedicate to your wines, almost every homeowner can create enough space for a custom climate-controlled wine unit to house their bottles. Yet we recommend looking ahead to future years where you will definitely exceed this capacity. It is more cost efficient, and less hassle, to build a larger cellar than you currently need, than to attempt an expansion in the future when your collection threatens to overwhelm the allotted space!

Part of good wine cellar management involves thinking ahead to wine cellar construction: not just in terms of designating enough space, but the quality of that space (for example, do you need extra room for cases or larger champagne bottles? Racking that will accommodate different types of liquors as well as wine?) Keeping design flexible from the get-go is very important.

Inventory management: tracking wines like a pro

Not all wine cellar management systems are created equal. Each person has their own way of intuitively cataloguing their wines, whether it’s by sorting vintages together, placing everyday wines front and centre with minimal organization, or arranging wines by producer. But since a wine cellar is constantly in flux, finding specific bottles can be difficult, especially for restauranteurs with high turnover. In this case, wine cellar management software may be indicated. If such a step seems onerous, consider that such software will generally come with lots of valuable information such as drinking ranges, tasting notes, value estimates, reviews and scores, and of course, tracking all your bottles – including those in transit or stored at other locations. And of course…there’s an app for that!

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