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Aug 16, 2006 07:54 PM

My "Wine Diary"

I have a feeling this has been covered before so if there is a link, please to post it. Anyway, I am trying to develop a system to keep track of the wines I have had, which I have liked, price, etc. I am hindered by a few factors. The first is I am not sure how to interpret labels. I will give a car analogy: Honda is the make, Accord is the model. So my bottle of wine I have in front of me here says "Le Grand Noir" and under that "(Black Sheep)" and then chardonnary-viognier. France and 2004 are also on there, but I understand those. So what is the "make" or brand, what is the "model"? Is there a general way to tell?
Also, any suggestions for a wine diary, either an outline on paper or one online?
I am sure I am embarassing myself with these questions, but I want to understand finally!

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  1. Alice,
    i know you said you understand the le grand noir and black sheep, but here is my attempt.

    american wines tend to classify wines by grapes, whereas the french classify wines by regions.

    the make: le grand noir. the black sheep is a logo of the wine.
    the US model: Chardonnay/Vigonier
    the Euro model: Languedoc-Roussillon (region in france)
    year: 2004

    i tend to use to check out and pick my next wines. they also have a cellar which is pretty cool, but i only have a few bottles stored. you can also write notes on the bottle and read a blog.

    1. Hi Alice:

      It all depends on what you want to use your diary for. Because ours is essentially a buying guide for ourselves, we just keep an ordinary spreadsheet that we created and we don't worry about little uncertainties. If we don't know what something on a label refers to, we just guess. The good thing is that, with the internet, it often doesn't matter because often a search engine (or the winery's website) can help you interpret what the parts signify and/or help you locate the bottle again if that's your interest.

      The beauty of an excel spreadsheet is that you can sort on multiple levels depending on what you're looking for. In our spreadsheet we have the following categories:

      "Brand" - this is our catch-all and our best guess at the company that "makes" the wine (produces, bottles, whatever), e.g. Jarvis.

      "Name" - the nickname given by the company to the particular wine - e.g., Lake William

      "Region" - that's where we'd put, say, South Africa if that's all we knew, or something more specific like Napa Valley or Stag's Leap if we knew that info

      "Varietal" - that's where we put the kind of grape or blend of grapes - sometimes have to research this online or make a best guess, but often that kind of info is on the label, e.g. 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, etc.

      "Type" - we use this for Red, White, Rose, Dessert, Sparkling just for quick reference

      "Vintage" - Year on the bottle (if listed)

      and then we have our "rating," purchase price/volume, where and when we bought it and consumed it, tasting notes and other comments including food pairings, etc.

      Good luck & have fun!


        Allows you to keep track of what you have and what you have drunk. I love it!

        1 Reply
        1. re: kenito799

          Cellartracker ROCKS. I use it to keep track of my inventory and notes, but there are plenty of people that use it just for notes.

        2. What kenito799 said. I love cellartracker and use it all the time.

          1. Well, as I have been drinking and trcking wine a lot longer than I have owned a computer, I have a notebook. (I am transferring to a wordPerfect table for sorting fun)

            For me, in your auto analogy, make is maker. It may be as simple as the big name on top - Chateau Margaux, or you may have to look at the small print to find out that Chateau Margo is made by Best Wines. 'Course, when you come to "model" or name of the wine. Chateau Margaux's flagship model is of course, Chateau Margaux.

            Then of course there are wines (fewer today, but still some) where the name is not the maker but the region. Maybe Tvon Mau sells a Bordeaux wine he calls "Bordeaux" so you call it Bordeaux.

            Wow, too late to make a long story short. yes, learn to read your labels. Some labels have very sparse info on them (look at many Burgundies); some have a wealth (see German wines).

            Record maker, name, region, vintage, general type (red, white, rose, sweet, dry, sparkling), grapes (if known) and really anything else known (price etc) The first five above are the most important, along with your notes. In my view type is more important than grape - 3 years down the road are you going to remember that Auxerois is red?