Help with new cellar: entry, organization, app, etc.

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davidwilkie
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Help with new cellar: entry, organization, app, etc.

#1 Post by davidwilkie » September 16th, 2020, 10:30 am

My first post. I found Wine Berserkers searching for a solution that I still cannot find, so thought I would join and post my question!

We moved into a new house and just finished setting up the racks in a 326 bottle cellar. It is traditional rows and columns, and except for a cutout for the refrigeration unit, it is 21 rows high x 18 columns wide, 1 bottle deep.

I have traditionally used Cellar Tracker — mostly via the iOS app “Corkz” — to track our inventory, but I got lazy in the last house and my database is out of date. So, I pretty much need to start from scratch.

I like Cellar Tracker but loathe the “Bin” storage identifier. In the last house, I made a bit for every single slot, so bin A1, A2...B1, B2, etc. Without lots of empty slots, my strategy has always been to place new wine in whatever empty slots there are, notate the bin in Corkz, and thus be able to find the row x column for that wine when looking for it. Making 326 new bins doesn’t thrill me, so I went searching for an app that offers a way to organize a cellar as it is actually laid out. It seems that VinoCell is the only one that offers it, and while their GUI on the cellar part of their app is fairly slick, the best I can tell there is no bar code scanner, their database is weaker, and features like print a wine list do not seem to exist. It perplexes me that no one has crafted an app that allows users to organize their wines they way they actually store it — how do restaurants find their wines in large cellars?

Sorry for all that context before the question: Is there a solution out there that combines: easy data entry, ideally through barcode or simple keyword search (I do not want to hand type the producer/varietal/vintage of every wine I own); has a rich enough database to incorporate things like community ratings, drinking windows, retail prices, etc.; and cellar organization that works with rows and columns for placing and finding bottles? If the answer is Cellar Tracker, then a follow-up question is whether anyone has found a clever way to adapt “bins” to X-Y slots?

Thank you for any and all ideas or advice!

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Re: Help with new cellar: entry, organization, app, etc.

#2 Post by Greg Kramer » September 16th, 2020, 12:06 pm

Welcome! I suggest you contact CellarTracker. Eric and his team are incredibly responsive and usually can provide a solution.
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Re: Help with new cellar: entry, organization, app, etc.

#3 Post by Chuck Miller » September 16th, 2020, 12:21 pm

If the bulk of your wine is in CT, do not start from scratch. Every slot in the new cellar is simply a 1 bottle bin, labeled however you want (A1, B3, etc.). To verify and update your inventory, simply bulk transfer every CT entry to a fictitious bin called ‘old’ or whatever you want. Then, as you transfer bottles into the racks, update that bottle with the new bin location. At the end of the process, any bottles still in the ‘old’ bin can be deleted or coded as ‘missing or presumed drunk’. Add any new bottles into CT and you are done.
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Re: Help with new cellar: entry, organization, app, etc.

#4 Post by Chris Seiber » September 16th, 2020, 12:51 pm

Welcome to the board, David.

I still do manual bottle entry in individual bin numbers on CellarTracker, but then I'm far from on the cutting edge of . . . well, pretty much anything.

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Re: Help with new cellar: entry, organization, app, etc.

#5 Post by Ron Slye » September 16th, 2020, 1:50 pm

Chuck Miller wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 12:21 pm
If the bulk of your wine is in CT, do not start from scratch. Every slot in the new cellar is simply a 1 bottle bin, labeled however you want (A1, B3, etc.). To verify and update your inventory, simply bulk transfer every CT entry to a fictitious bin called ‘old’ or whatever you want. Then, as you transfer bottles into the racks, update that bottle with the new bin location. At the end of the process, any bottles still in the ‘old’ bin can be deleted or coded as ‘missing or presumed drunk’. Add any new bottles into CT and you are done.
I am actually in the process of doing this. Putting bar codes on all of my bottles as I move them from offsite to home. I moved everything to a location called "Temp" At the end, anything there will obviously be removed as missing. I am expecting there will be a fair number in that category -- on the other side, I have found 6 bottles so far that I did not know I had (i.e. I thought I had drunk them but had not).

On the bin issue, I am admittedly confused about the concern you raise. I use "location" and "bin" as the x and y coordinates of my racking. So I have location 1-76. Then under each I have A-R. So I put a bottle in the third slot down from the top in the first column, that is Location 1, Bin C. I find that quite convenient but maybe I am misunderstanding what you do not like about the current system. I then use the app to scan the barcode and input the location. It takes some time but it saves lots of time later -- and with the barcode I am hopeful that I will no longer lose track of what I have!

I will second contacting Eric and others at CT. They are incredibly helpful and very very responsive.

Good luck!

PS. I will say I am enjoying going through my cellar this way. It is reminding me of things I have that I had not paid much attention to for a while. Regardless of the system you choose I hope you find similar joy!

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Re: Help with new cellar: entry, organization, app, etc.

#6 Post by P@u1_M3nk3s » September 16th, 2020, 2:59 pm

I use Cellartracker and put what you call X and Y coordinates into "Bin". I have 2 walls. One wall is North and one is South. these are notated by an 'N' or 'S'. The vertical columns are labeled 'A' through 'Z'. The horizontal rows are labeled '1' through '18'. For me, its pretty easy to visualize these locations without a GUI, and instantly know where NB1 and SB1 are located. I don't logically store a bottle until it is physically stored in that location. That helps me track down previously drunk or misplaced items when 2 pop up in the same bin.
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Re: Help with new cellar: entry, organization, app, etc.

#7 Post by JDavisRoby » September 16th, 2020, 3:13 pm

I spent a lot of time contemplating this myself. I opted to label my racks with letters (A-G) and my columns within those walls 01-10. So, my “bins” in CT are Wall/Column (i.e. F03 (I use a 0 in front of all single digits otherwise the bins won’t be in order)) and will have up to ten different wines per bin depending upon the height of the column. My wines are grouped by varietal, country (and then state for US wines) and then producer. So if want to browse in CT I can find the bottle rather quickly within the “bin” or column. Or, if I want to browse the cellar for a Pinot Noir I know which racks to look and if I more specifically want Oregon PN I know which columns contain those.

I also bought a letter punch set on Amazon and hammered in the “bin” aka column labels into the face of the racking. So F03 is right on the rack. Makes it very easy. I have not done barcoding. The wife hasn’t lifted her side eye for that yet.

When I moved into the cellar this spring I did as above. Created a new cellar and one by one transferred the wines into the correct bin. Had about a case missing and 3-4 wines I hadn’t entered.
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Re: Help with new cellar: entry, organization, app, etc.

#8 Post by davidwilkie » September 16th, 2020, 3:18 pm

Ron Slye wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 1:50 pm
Chuck Miller wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 12:21 pm

On the bin issue, I am admittedly confused about the concern you raise. I use "location" and "bin" as the x and y coordinates of my racking. So I have location 1-76. Then under each I have A-R. So I put a bottle in the third slot down from the top in the first column, that is Location 1, Bin C. I find that quite convenient but maybe I am misunderstanding what you do not like about the current system. I then use the app to scan the barcode and input the location. It takes some time but it saves lots of time later -- and with the barcode I am hopeful that I will no longer lose track of what I have!
Aha! I had not thought of location as x and bin as y. I was setting location as "cellar" and had as many bins as slots. Glad I posted this. Your reply and the others (like using the staging location) are super helpful. Thanks!

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Re: Help with new cellar: entry, organization, app, etc.

#9 Post by Anthony C » September 16th, 2020, 3:19 pm

P@u1_M3nk3s wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 2:59 pm
I use Cellartracker and put what you call X and Y coordinates into "Bin". I have 2 walls. One wall is North and one is South. these are notated by an 'N' or 'S'. The vertical columns are labeled 'A' through 'Z'. The horizontal rows are labeled '1' through '18'. For me, its pretty easy to visualize these locations without a GUI, and instantly know where NB1 and SB1 are located. I don't logically store a bottle until it is physically stored in that location. That helps me track down previously drunk or misplaced items when 2 pop up in the same bin.
I do a similar system to track the grid.

For the open X bins, I grouped by theme and each X is just one bin and the two racks are left and right. So from top down it's LX1, RX3. A little searching required for those, but I have tags for many and it hasn't been too much of a problem.

The important thing is to find a system and stick with it. There will be duplicates and missing bottles, but like Paul said, if you do track by bottle you can see reports that show two in one location or some bottles with no location and finding/fixing the discrepancy is easier.
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Re: Help with new cellar: entry, organization, app, etc.

#10 Post by davidwilkie » September 16th, 2020, 3:25 pm

JDavisRoby wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 3:13 pm
I also bought a letter punch set on Amazon and hammered in the “bin” aka column labels into the face of the racking. So F03 is right on the rack. Makes it very easy. I have not done barcoding. The wife hasn’t lifted her side eye for that yet.
A letter punch set is an ingenious idea. I am browsing Amazon now. So many to choose from!

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=letter+punch ... _sb_noss_2

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Re: Help with new cellar: entry, organization, app, etc.

#11 Post by AndyK » September 16th, 2020, 3:32 pm

I use bins in CT only for my off-site storage to know which box I need to look into.

For my home storage, I leave bins empty and instead create "geographic zones" in the racks, e.g. one quadrant for France, Italy, CA, rest and within each region I sort by color, sometimes by sub-region. I have around 700 bottles at home, double deep, and it works quite well. I never take more than a minute to find what I'm looking for. Since your cellar is "only" 326 bottle cellar, I would think this system works well. Anything else seems overkill and not worth the effort IMHO.
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Re: Help with new cellar: entry, organization, app, etc.

#12 Post by JDavisRoby » September 16th, 2020, 3:35 pm

davidwilkie wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 3:25 pm
JDavisRoby wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 3:13 pm
I also bought a letter punch set on Amazon and hammered in the “bin” aka column labels into the face of the racking. So F03 is right on the rack. Makes it very easy. I have not done barcoding. The wife hasn’t lifted her side eye for that yet.
A letter punch set is an ingenious idea. I am browsing Amazon now. So many to choose from!

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=letter+punch ... _sb_noss_2
I bought this one.

Yoption 36Pcs Leathercraft Metal...

But, you’re correct. There are a ton!!
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Re: Help with new cellar: entry, organization, app, etc.

#13 Post by Cris Whetstone » September 16th, 2020, 3:41 pm

You really don't need that much 'binning'. Don't have a bin for every bottle. You are just creating more work and making your database difficult to deal with.

Find easy places to group things. Something like what Josh is talking about. Find a column that goes down to some sort of break in the rack design. Make that 'A1', for example. The next below it, 'A2'. The next column over 'B1', 'B2', etc. If double deep that will typically make for groups of 10-12 bottles.

Having larger bins helps keep you away from all that juggling and overhead. Scanning ten bottles doesn't take that much time.

Use one of those label makers to put small labels next to or over each bin so you have a reference. Clear labels with black lettering don't stand out much in terms of looks but are still easily readable.
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Re: Help with new cellar: entry, organization, app, etc.

#14 Post by davidwilkie » September 16th, 2020, 3:43 pm

JDavisRoby wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 3:13 pm
I also bought a letter punch set on Amazon and hammered in the “bin” aka column labels into the face of the racking. So F03 is right on the rack. Makes it very easy. I have not done barcoding. The wife hasn’t lifted her side eye for that yet.
...I should have asked: did you stamp the labels right into the wood? Or use metal badges and stamp onto those?

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Re: Help with new cellar: entry, organization, app, etc.

#15 Post by JDavisRoby » September 16th, 2020, 3:49 pm

I stamped right into the wood. I have pine racks from Wine Racks of America and they’re very soft. So you have to be careful not to punch it too hard. They are visible enough to be seen but not obtrusive at all. Which is the look I was going for in this scenario.
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Re: Help with new cellar: entry, organization, app, etc.

#16 Post by Bruce Rudman » September 16th, 2020, 7:25 pm

I have racks for about 1,000 bottles. Columns tabled from A to PP (meaning when I got to Z, I went AA, BB, CC, etc,). Rows depend on the racks but usually 1-21. so it could be A01 or PP20.

I used Avery clear stickers to label each column, in two places, and then the rows were labeled about every seven columns. This has worked for me for years, and only the initial set up was a pain.

The case goods on shelves or at the top of racks are labeled by year, producer, and number - like "Schrader 07 Old Sparky 1" or "Realm 2017 Bard Bx.1"

I strongly recommend it.
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Re: Help with new cellar: entry, organization, app, etc.

#17 Post by Barry L i p t o n » September 16th, 2020, 7:49 pm

I have a 500 bottle home cellar and use AndyKs method. Upper left is Italian, lower left is French non burgundy. Right side is white Burg on top left, red on top right and all the bottom. I have a couple columns for Port, Spanish , etc.

I have drawers too, bin drawers for mags, and Champagne, and regular drawers for Alsace and red 375s and white 375s.

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