I’m in the midst of moderate sized cellar build (~1800) and will be finally consolidating everything in one place and reorganizing my cellar tracker account which has gone to sh*t . Trying to decide if I want to fully utilizing the barcode function. For those who use the barcode function are you happy with the decision? And for those who don’t, do you have any regrets? TIA
I would hate to imagine a large one.
I have used the CT barcodes for years now, and love them. Every bottle is religiously barcoded upon placement into the cellar, and then scanned when removed for whatever reason (drink, gift, etc.). I can’t imagine going without (for me).
I plan on putting bar codes on my bottles as soon as I build my own cellar. Seems like the perfect way to properly manage a collection.
Jim - maybe you can answer this, but do insurance outfits like Chubb encourage the use of bar coding bottles? Does it have any impact with insuring collections?
I barcoded the bulk of my collection and I am quite happy that I did. It makes it easy to identify the source of each bottle (if you are buying from multiple sources). If browsing through your cellar it allows you to see the ratings and drinking windows at a glance. Finally, it makes recording consumption a breeze with a smartphone and the cellartracker app.
It will take you some time to do this, but an ideal time is when you are loading your new cellar. Use the dymo labeler - vastly easier than using sheets of labels.
Do you just use the app scanner or did you also buy a separate USB scanner?
For me, it is the single most valuable feature of the site.
I initially used a dedicated bluetooth scanner with a laptop when I was populating my cellar.
I’ve only used the app for low volume work, but find it very convenient for tracking consumption.
I am with Eric in considering the barcodes one of the key CT features. Every bottle is labeled. Of course I am an OCD nutcase, so it is to be expected!
I use the app scanner and a handheld scanner. Though I have mixed results with the app scanner on varying devices (the iPad2 has rather poor results, for example whereas the Note 5 works rather well depending on lighting conditions).
I keep an older laptop next to the main wine cabinet with the handheld scanner attached since that is where the majority of bulk updates take place. But I can easily pack it up and take it about the house or to the offsite if I am doing something like a full inventory as it is far easier to work with for multiple bottle updates.
The individual bottle or two pulled for dinner and the like are more easily handled with the app scanner. If that is not practical (or would be rude to do at the time), I will pull the label from the bottle for later updating. At some point I will upgrade to the detachable barcode labels supported by CT (check the CT support forum for more on this). The main reason I have not done so already is that I keep forgetting to order them!
While not part of the current discussion, I should note that the tasting note guide is far better on the full site than the app. And even better (for my purposes) on the iPad using the Vinopal app to access the main CT database. Vinopal is also just plain ‘cooler’ for browsing the cellar contents. My only quibble with Vinopal is that it does not seem to show all the countries, regions and sub-regions if you use the browse by region. Indeed Vinopal is the only reason I have the iPad (my only Apple product).
Yes, it is critically important for me. It makes it MUCH easier for me to track and clean up inventory. Before I was using barcodes, I only knew that I had “3 bottles of wine X,” and I found that it was very common for me to either accidentaly double-count or miss counting one of them. Now double counting is impossible, and if I miss counting, I know exactly which one I missed and where it should be. There are probably other ways to solve this problem, but the barcodes have made it very simple and easy for me. They also reduced the number of errors I’ve had where I’ve accidentally removed the wrong bottle from inventory when drinking it (wrong vintage, wrong bottling, just the wrong instance of the right wine), which end up being really difficult to reconcile.
I have a bluetooth laser scanner that I use when I’m adding/moving/removing a bunch of bottles at once. It’s much faster than any of the app scanners, easier to aim, and can read the barcode from a further distance. For day to day one-offs, I just use the scanner function in the CT app.
FWIW, I also have barcode labels in the boxes in my offsite storage, to make it easier to record which box an individual bottle is in. So I can inventory by first scanning the box, then all of the bottles in it. Or when I’m stowing bottles, I’ll scan all the bottles going into a given box, and then the box label. (Though sometimes if I’m not dealing with a bunch of stuff, I’ll be lazy and just snap photos of the labels, to be manually entered into CT later.)
Sonofa… Why did I not think of this?
Are you affixing (or packing) a label for each individual bottle on or in the box? Or do you have some trick for utilizing a single label to track all the contents of a box?
One idea I got from Marc Lazar and Domaine Storage where I store wine (full disclosure - also an investor). They put a clear sleeve on the box, and store the labels inside the sleeve until they are ready to be attached to the individual bottles. Very helpful for when you don’t want to break into a wooden case, for example.
Matt - I insure with Chubb, but I don’t think it has an impact on the costs.
Absolutely use barcodes. It’s hard to rank the most valuable features of CT, but it’s certainly among them especially for a large collection, as explained by others.
FWIW, the iPhone app does just fine for me - no need for a dedicated scanner. It can be a bit slow, i.e., for bulk scanning, but I still can scan faster than I can drink.
Very fortunate to have the basement space and able to convince my wife to let me do it. Just got the CAD tonight and its more like 1700
Thanks for all the input and confirming my thoughts.
I still put an individual label on each bottle. I still want to track them individually, and keep track of them once they’re out of the offsite. The labels on the boxes correspond to bins in Cellartracker. So it doesn’t eliminate the work of putting labels on bottles. It just makes it easier for me to quickly mark down which “bin” stuff is going into. I keep a roll of pre-printed bin labels in the locker so I can apply them to any new box I add. When I am going to the offsite to receive shipments, I pre-print the bottle labels and bring them with me.
The box labels look like this (big, and easy to read or scan even from quite a distance):
And then the bottles get labels like this:
Also, I should clarify. I virtually never leave bottles in the boxes they arrive in. The packing material takes up too much space. And I’m not enough of a high roller to receive many things that come in wood boxes. So I don’t really have many situations in which I’d be putting something in the locker without opening the box and handling each bottle anyway. If you’re putting boxes directly away without opening them, I can see how labeling the bottles would be a pain…
I manually enter single bottle bin locations in CT as wines are put away. Cellar slots assigned alpha numerically. Alpha horizontally across the wall and numeric vertically (A01, B20, etc).
Don’t you still have to do this manually with bar codes too? I just don’t see the value of time and money invested in bar codes if the payoff is as described above. What am I missing?
For me, the biggest thing is really accuracy, especially when removing a bottle. If I have to manually search my CT to find the right bottle to add/move/remove, there’s a decent chance I’ll pick the wrong one (maybe I’m more error-prone than you are, I dunno). That can not happen when scanning a barcode. Or if it takes too long, I may not bother when I’m in a hurry to open it. Scanning takes just a second or two. If you don’t have a problem with that now, then no, it may not be worth the investment. Though I wouldn’t say I’ve invested a huge amount of money in it; some time, but it’s largely time I would have otherwise spent untangling my inventory mess.
I do use individual slots (two bottles per) in my LeCache. It’s obviously a little bit more labor-intensive to do that than a box with 6 or 12. But I still think it’s faster with the barcodes. Usually what I’ll do if I’m adding a bunch of stuff at once is I’ll scan it all into the scanner’s memory (bottle, bottle, location; bottle, bottle, location; etc.) and then sit down and enter them all in CT. I have printed barcodes for each LeCache slot to make this easier. It only takes a few minutes. I think it’s faster than either manually entering into CT on the computer or phone as I go, or writing it down on a piece of paper and entering it manually.
Of course, YMMV. I certainly won’t deny that I enjoy tinkering with this kind of thing. If I found it to be a chore, I doubt I’d go down this path.
I’m thinking about migrating to barcodes. What kind of scanner does each of you use and do you like it?