How to document your wine collection


Documenting a wine collection is not rocket science, and it doesn’t have to be boring; it should be a fun and easy task. The process is simple and anyone with a pen and paper or computer can do it effectively. Proper documentation allows wine lovers to keep their inventory in order, so it’s easy to do when they need to find a particular bottle.

This process is relatively easy, whether you have fewer than a hundred bottles of wine to arrange, or if your wine collection is hundreds or thousands. The process of documenting wine involves the same principles, whether the cellar is large or small. Think of it as organizing a library. Whether there are a few books or many racks, they need to be arranged in succession using specific rows and certain times to make it easier to find what you need quickly and efficiently. This guide will help you find the best ways to document your wine collection.


Wine enthusiasts with large gatherings should always go for the most convenient method of documenting their wine. One popular method is to use computer software that manages wine placement in the wine cellar. Software programs like WineBanq, The Wine Cellar Book, The Uncorked Cellar, Cellartracker make wine management relatively easy. Free trial versions of these software programs are usually available, but trial versions usually offer very limited functionality and / or expiration.

A low-tech method of documentation is using electronic spreadsheets. The most popular spreadsheets are Microsoft Excel, Google Docs spreadsheets (free), OpenOffice spreadsheets (free) and Zoho Sheets (free). Using a spreadsheet format, fill the columns with descriptive labels for each wine. Mandatory columns include: Cellar row #, location # within each cellar row, vineyard, label description, vintage, grape variety, country, region, location, rating, date drink, date drink, class, source, price and estimated value. The main columns for inventory purposes are the first two: basement row number and placement number in each basement row. These numbers indicate the exact location of each wine bottle in the cellar (or other storage location). By carefully numbering each physical row and every physical cell within each row and then matching these physical locations in the spreadsheet, it is quick and easy to register all bottles.

Whichever method you ever use to document your wine inventory, print a physical printout of all manual review information and a paper trail. Finding a system that works and adheres to it carefully is the key to organizational success.