Wine Cellar Software Recommendations?
Anyone using a wine cellar inventory program that they like and would recommend? If possible please elaborate on how long you've used it... pros and cons.
All the basic functions required of a wine inventory program :
a) sort by any meaningful criteria ( producer, year, type, bin location, ratings ...)
b) keep track of units purchased / in inventory and corresponding $ values
are easily available by using an excel spreadsheet.
I never felt the need for any additional software tools.
I have used a program, Multi-media Wine Companion for a dozen years now, and it still works fine. I do not know if it's still offered, as this was a Win 3.1.1 offering. I had built a database in Approach, some years before, but this little program won my heart. Now, if I only had a CAT-6 outlet in the cellar, or maybe even a barcode printer and scanner! Yeah, that would be the ticket. Next house/cellar, that I build will have it all. Logging the wines in, then out, is the biggest problem, but for tracking the cellar, this program does it nicely for me. I do find that their default "drink by" dates are a bit short, but then they're covering all bases.
re: Bill Hunt
"or maybe even a barcode printer and scanner! Yeah, that would be the ticket."
Not too sure about this one, Bill.
My bread & butter is in AIDC (Automatic Identification & Data Capture).
Unless you're talking of a commercial operation with in&out quantities of at least a few hundreds per day, an AIDC interface won't make much sense.
Seems like a lot of people like CellarTracker. I'll have to take another look at it.
Has anyone used the managment program offered by Vinfolio? I've been looking at it and it seems pretty slick. Seems to have a much better user interface than what I remember when looking at CellarTracker, but not sure yet how the 2 compare regarding practical usage.
Like many, I've mainly used Excel for my cellar and it works fine. Im just looking for more bells and whistles... ie. tasting notes, maturity info, valuation, remote access from the internet, etc.
> Like many, I've mainly used Excel for my cellar and it works fine. Im just looking for more bells and whistles... ie. tasting notes, maturity info, valuation, remote access from the internet, etc.
You just described the primary reasons to use CellarTracker. A large community of other users (network effect, whereby the existing users preferentially attract new users, just like selling things on eBay), and well-thought-out tools for exporting the information to Excel, comparing tasting notes with others (ignore the point ratings, though), and obtaining at least a ballpark guesstimate of when to drink a bottle.
Especially since I began tracking down wines made from unusual or obscure grapes, it has been quite useful to peek at the impressions of other CellarTracker users regarding the flavors and fragrances of various producers' efforts. They don't always jive with my own impressions, but they often provide a starting point, and after a while you may start to find that certain users have tastes very much like your own. (It would be nice if the site could automatically highlight notes from users whom you designate as having similar tastes to your own.)
At the end of the day, the free services on CellarTracker are excellent, and you can pay for premium services, or simply to support the site, if you deem it useful. If not, you haven't wasted any money on something which turned out not to your liking.
Biggest problem with wine inventorys (and I have used in past paper/books/spreadsheets & home written databases) is entering the wine details in a structured way.
CellarTracker probably has all the wines you have entered already (they have over 5 million bottles logged) and you just use an existing definition. I loaded 300 wines and there were just 3 wines that I had to enter anew.
Biggest drawback with CellarTracker is that its depths and strengths are not immediately apparent, you need to enter a few bottles then ask yourself "I wonder if it'll do ....." and it probably will do. There is an active forum when you get stuck, and the owner will respond swiftly to any problems.
I personally like the in depth reporting, others like sharing tasting notes, teh valuation of wines and the drinkability reports.
I have only about 300 bottles but some have thousands. There's some professional users too -- thePluckemin Inn uses it and lets people see their winelist in real time, pulled off CellarTracker see http://www.pluckemininn.com/winelist....
And you can download your entries to Excel for backup and manipulation
Spreadsheets are the de-facto old common standard and are unsurpassed for universal portability (if you happen to need that). As you may also gather, among specialized software tools cellartracker has gained popularity the last couple of years, and it ties in conveniently with other information about the wines. (Its fans also tend to be extremely zealous in promoting it.)
Some generic points to keep in mind if using a web-based tool for this purpose. If your inventory is stored on a central site, it's prudent to back this up locally. Also, web-based inventory storage (like any web-based information storage) is dependent both on the central site and on your computer environment for security against unwanted access to your inventory information, either by outsiders or by personnel of the hosting site. And dependent on continuation of the central storage even if the site changes, is sold, etc. (People who have never experienced a web site going permanently "down" with all its stored data tend not to think of that possibility, yet.)
Try using The Uncorked Cellar - see www.uncork.biz
OK - so I'm biased, but you can give it a free trial to see how it stacks up. It lists 148,000 wines - and runs stand-alone on your PC so it runs at PC speed with better features, is not constrained by web traffic, and you have control over storage and backups etc.
The Uncorked Cellar - www.uncork.biz
OK, you've got some recs. for several types of cellar-tracking programs. When you make your decision, remember, you are obligated to tell US, which and why.
Personally, I'd probably not change, but that is because I've invested many years into the one that I use. Though I can export most of the data (I do that into WordPerfect, or into Excel for specific charts, etc.), I'd hate to loose some of the aspects, should the new one not have those specific fields.
I had written a database program, that worked for about 10 years, until someone gave me Multi-media Home Wine Companion, and I never looked back. I did, overlook some of the short-comings (had to up the dates for "Drink By," etc., but that was fairly easy to do. Their additional info was limited, and now dated, but I seldom used that part of it.
Remember, you are obligated! [insert a big grin here}
re: Bill Hunt
Will definitely report back on what I think works best for me and I appreciate the suggestions from all... Im still using my Excel speadsheet at the moment until I have time to do the analysis. Im with you on the hardest thing to keep up with... entering purchases (I have a tendency to let them add up), esp. as I use a few storage facilities both at home and around the country (as well as some purchases being "held" as its too hot to ship. And entering bottles as they are used. Always tend to grab a few things and run. I have to get better at keeping up with it. That's the human factor, not a reflection of the storage program/software.