If you’re a new or existing wine collector and you’re struggling to keep track of your collection, you might be wondering just how other people manage to keep theirs so organized and tidy. Don’t worry, it’s not just you—many wine enthusiasts struggle with this exact issue, especially when they started off small and their collection grew faster than they expected.
The best thing you can do is to start getting your collection organized now, before it gets any bigger and the job feels insurmountable. Luckily, there are a few ways to approach this, and you can choose one that suits you and your collection.
Why Should You Organize Your Wine Cellar?
Once you have more than about 100 bottles of wine, it can become quite difficult to keep track of them. This may not sound too terrible, but there are a few things to consider that may convince you to be a bit more organized.
Whether your collection is made up of cheaper, ready-to-consume wines, expensive wines that should be cellared for a few years, or a combination of the two, you will need to know when each bottle of wine is ready to drink so that you can avoid opening it too early or too late, and wasting a perfectly good bottle.
If your wines are all stashed haphazardly in your cellar, it will eventually become quite difficult to locate the bottle you want for that special occasion. And of course, if you intend to be a wine collector of any consequence, even just to yourself, you will need to know which wines you have, and which you still need to obtain. It will also save you money, because you won’t accidentally be buying wines you already have, or have tried and don’t like.
What Are the Best Ways to Organize a Wine Cellar?
There is no one specific way to organize your wine cellar, and how you choose to do it will be entirely up to you in the end. All we can do is give you some tips and tricks, and let you take it from there.
We will say that good wine cellar organization starts with good quality wine racks and shelves, and that we can help you with. At Wine Racks America, we pride ourselves on designing the best custom-made wine racks and shelving units you will find. Contact our expert team today—we’d love to hear your dreams and ideas for the perfect home wine cellar for you.
Before you choose between the organizational options below, consider your own situation, and what it is that you aim to accomplish with your cellar. Are you collecting to have a good bottle to pull out when you need it, or are you hoping to sample the wines of the world?
Arrange by Color
This is one of the simplest and most popular ways to start cellar organization if your collection will include a range of wine colors. You could have sections for red wines, white wines, rosés, dessert wines, and sparkling wines, or any combination of the above. It is recommended that you have smaller classifications within your broader ones, like dividing your wine colors by varietal or region.
Organize by Varietal
This is an excellent option for people who like to pair their wines with meals. Knowing which grape variety each section is made up of means that you can walk in, pull a bottle, and walk out again in seconds. You could have your varietals in alphabetical order, or as subsections under the individual colors.
Divide by Region
Many avid collectors like to know that they have collected wines from all the major wine-producing regions in the world. This is a great way to organize your cellar if you hope to have an international assortment, as you will easily be able to spot which areas you are lacking in, and make plans to fill out your collection.
Even if you only collect wines from the States, there are many well-known wine-producing regions you will want represented in your collection, and this is an excellent way to ensure you don’t miss any.
Display by Producer
If you’re into famous names, or you simply prefer wines by specific producers, this is a good way to keep your collection arranged. Within each producer section, you can organize further by color, variety, and vintage.
Less Common Options
Other ways you could consider arranging your wine storage are by:
- Price, especially if you have a very broad collection with a number of more expensive wines that need to be cellared for a few years.
- Optimal drinking date, which is important in collections with a lot of aging wines—you don’t want to miss the chance to drink a perfectly aged wine because of disorganization.
- Occasion—this is a great one if you like to show off your collection by pulling out the perfect bottle for every party, event, or gift.
- Your own unique style—if some, none, or all of the above resonate with you, come up with your own personal way of doing things. There is no right or wrong, as long as your wines are easy to sort through and safely stored.
Things That Can Help
Don’t worry if this all sounds like a lot of work and effort—there are a number of helpful tools to leverage the process and get your cellar looking perfect in no time.
Try an app: There are a few wine tracking apps available that will make your life much easier, such as VinoCell, CellarTracker, Vivino, and VinCellar. Some will allow you to scan the barcode of the wine to get the information, if there is one, and others will require all manual input. Don’t forget to mark off wines that have been consumed, or put them on your shopping list for replenishment.
Make a spreadsheet: If you have the time and the patience, and especially if you’re coming up with your own system of organization, make a well-planned spreadsheet to track your wines and categorize them according to your specific style.
Label it: Why not get a few packs of wine cellar tags to make it easy to grab the right bottle at a glance? Our 2-sided paper wine bottle tags each have a side for white and a side for red, and can therefore be used twice before being discarded. They are sturdy and recyclable, and can be filled in with whatever information is most informative to you.
Inspired to organize your wine collection? We’d love to help! From metal wine racks and wood wine racks to a completely custom design, Wine Racks America specializes in all things wine organization. Get in touch today!