Wine Cellar 2.0, Part One

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Gentle Reader,

So you might remember a few months ago, when I lamented the truly horrific state of our wine room.  Observe:


See that?  It gives me hives.  For one thing, don’t get me started on the JUGS OF WATER in there.  (Because we’re on well water out here at the ranch, and until recently we had an immunocompromised member of the house, and well water gets funky every once in awhile.)  And the little rack on the far end?  Well it was blocking my ability to get to the very bottom corner of the long walls.  Which is where some of the good pinots and our cab francs were.  (Some days call for a big ole cab franc.)  And then there are the bottles precariously perched on top of each other on top of wine racks that HAD EMPTY SPACES.  Crazy-making.  Not to mention, unsafe.  And then the organization of the whole thing was just a mess.  Varietals were mixed in with each other, and forget entirely about chronology.

So I did the only logical thing.  I started over.  We drank all that old stuff and then went to Napa and bought fresh.  (KIDDING!)  But I did pull all of the wine (and the jugs of water, and the file cabinets that were on the other wall of the room, and I think we found Jimmy Hoffa in there, too–it had gotten pretty well overgrown…) and I organized it.




My first cut was red/white/bubbles/sweet.  Because they were in such disarray when I unloaded the cellar, it would have taken forever to sort them by varietal at that point.

And then after the room was emptied, I sorted by varietal.  And then, after I had found a unoccupied horizontal space in the house so as to be able to further sort, I sorted each varietal by year, and label (and in some cases, type–“reserve”, “Napa Valley”, “Alexander Valley”, particular vineyard, etc., if that particular wine has more than one type…e.g., Kosta Browne).

And then I just made an Excel workbook with a tab for each of the varietals (there are, BTW, way more than you think there are…) and went by year listing them, and doing a count of each individual label for inventory purposes.

And here’s where I found my niftiest and most helpful trick on a website that was in French, and I don’t remember where it was, and even if I did it was in French.  My high school and college French is still in my brain, and I do pretty well with verbs that aren’t in one of the wacky tenses and also nouns.  So, from what I gathered, this website wanted you to buy sheets of their labels, on which you write the wine details, and stick on the top of the wine foil, like so:



That way, you can tell what wine it is without a lot of grabby-grabby in the wine cellar, moving and disturbing your vino.  It also helps in organizing your cellar and keeping things nicely in chronological order.  We also discovered that the little labels are good for keeping track of what bottles you have consumed since the last time you updated your inventory, rather than saving the whole bottles, you save the labels and update accordingly and pitch the labels after you have.  So you have an accurate in/out count.

BUT, I think we all know I’m fundamentally impatient, and I didn’t want to order these things, in French, from France.  I mean, for one thing I’d have ended up with twelve gross of them (aren’t fancy Avery labels THE hot gift for this Christmas season?).  Also, as we have observed before, currency conversion isn’t really my jam.

So I went about looking for these little 1″ round labels in our little hamlet here in East Texas.  Ten minutes later, after an exhaustive search, I had struck out.  So we went out to Tyler, in search of craft stores.  Surely these craft-type moms like to make their own stickers.  That’s A Thing, right?

It is not.

Feeling dejected, we had to go pick up some more rawhide sticks for Cody so we ran into the Walmart before heading home.  (Keeping it real, here: We look forward to going into Tyler and to “the good Walmart”, because the one here in our town is tiny and pitiful.)  So while we were there Mama suggested I look at the office supplies, just in case, and she’d look at the craft supplies.  And there, in the office supply section of the Walmart on Broadway in Tyler, I found them.  Avery 1″ round labels.  I bought them out.

So all that to say, I don’t actually remember the original source (but I imagine if you fiddle around with Google, you can find it) but the above?  NOT MY ORIGINAL IDEA.  SOMEONE ELSE WHO IS VERY SMART FIGURED THAT ONE OUT.  But I love their idea and it’s brilliant.  And if someone buys their labels instead of the cheapie labels?  That’s capitalism at its best, friends.

And so after they were sorted, I loaded them back into the wine room.  Chronologically.  I found it easier to load from the back.  And because I believe in conserving energy, I put the stuff we don’t ever drink in the very back.  Port, and chardonnay.  And then, I loaded the rest of the stuff.  I went front to back, oldest to youngest, within each varietal, and left space in between each varietal to make room for expansion.

And then I thought about how to label each varietal-keeping in mind that cellar composition is going to change over time.  And I came up with:


Which entailed my doing A Craft.  But since this is already nearly a thousand words, I’ll review that process and give you the final pics tomorrow.



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