Are you meticulous about how your cellar is kept with region, varietal together,
Alphabetical order, vintage, everything in it's own little place and catalogued ??

Is it a veritable disaster where you have to search through bottles to find what you want and then settle for "Whatever" because you can't find what you want ??

somewhere in between ?
Original Post
I have about 180 bottles in a rack designed to hold 252. It is divided into three horizontal sections. I keep my less expensive / daily drinkers ($10 - $20 wines) in the upper section. My more expensive and older wines go into the bottom section. Mid priced / "weekend" / ageworthy but not as expensive wines fall into the mid section.

Within the three sections it generally organized by varietal or region from top to bottom. The left side of the two upper sections hold whites (not a lot). Bottom left has port. Then pinots / burgundy / beaujolais; cabs / merlot / Bordeaux; Spanish wines / Italian / Portugal; Syrah / Rhones.

I also have a few cases of Bordeaux in their original wooden boxes stored on the floor.

I keep the list pretty up to date in Cellartracker. I'll sometimes look through CT ahead of time to reacquaint myself with what I've got and decide what to drink. I'll often run a quick report showing drinking windows to identify wines that I should drink sooner rather than later. About 75% of the time I just head to the cellar and peruse for awhile then make a selection.

It's not perfect and there is some overlap between sections, but it works for me. I could see it maybe getting out of hand when you exceed 300 / 400 bottles.
Electronic: Very organized cellartracker and spreadsheets, including wine-makers' notes, professional reviews, scores, and updated reviews from respected/experienced tasters from here and cellartracker.

Physical: Roll Eyes I keep my bottles at an off-site storage in lockers, and I stack the bottles to save space - with burgundy-shaped bottles, they go the opposite direction for each new layer. Great for maximizing space; a colossal pain in the a** when I need to get something that's not on top. I periodically shift bottles around to move 'drink now' bottles to the top, but it's still anything but convenient.
My wine cabinet is close to full, so there is a little wiggling in bottles here and there, but here is what the reality of my organization looks like:

From left to right in my cabinet.

Bordeaux on left, organized by year, separated Rt bank from Lt bank.

WA reds and Rhone rangers live together.

CA reds by year and maker.

Zinfandel just left of middle, for easy access since its an early drinker.

Middle: German and Alsace whites.

Now moving to the right side of the cabinet.

CA/OR Pinot Noir just right of midline.

Then white Burgundy/Chablis

Red Burgundy separated by year, Cote de Beaune separate from C.d'Or. Those are then subdivided buy appelation Vosne-Romanee, Gevry-Chambertin, etc. Finally it is organized by year and domaine.

Next is Rhone, North and South are divided.

Forming the border b/t my Rhones is everything else, Spanish and Italian mostly.

Bottom of the cellar holds Sauternes and Ports.
Top is for full cases and magnums.

For the most part I can find what I am looking for, but it still takes a lot of pulling out bottles, looking, and then replacing. Were I to improve the system, I would Label my rows across A-Z, then from top to bottom 1-30, and I would catalogue each bottle, battleship style, e.g. G16-18: Jodot Clos de Beze 2005.
Daily drinkers and short-term stuff is kept at the house in racks, no real organization other than Domino has a bin from which she can pull bottles as she pleases.

Most of our bottles are offsite, in passive underground storage. I store almost everything in sealed 12-cell cardboard boxes or in wooden Bordeaux style crates so that the bottles are lying on their sides. Each box has an alphabetic code, plus a row designation. Everything ususally gets boxed up as I purchase it or it is shipped, so any given box can be a varied mix.

We did a physical inventory last year, and rearranged what we had so that similar wines were put together.
I would add that we keep daily drinkers (formerly kept in an uncooled wine rack so we still call them rack wines) in a small wine fridge in our garage) - 18 cases off-site, 40-60 bottles that are ready to drink in Key West and the rest in the Eurocaces and Vinotemp
My bottles ready to drink sooner are in our 2 wine fridges at home, and the bulk of my collection is at off-site storage in boxes. All the boxes are logged in CT, but there is no rhyme or reason to what each box holds. Typically, I end up moving a few bottles around in order to fit new bottles that are wider or taller in certain boxes, so it wouldn't make much sense to even bother attempting to have some set plan with them.
I don't have that much (under 200 bottles). Long-termers are on the bottom, earlier drinkers at the top. Most is in offsite storage, and I have my inventory in a Word document, broken down by what's in what case. I'd probably do it this way if I had 1,000 bottles.
Open the cellar door, put the wine in, drink it later.

I have several distinct sections: Bordeaux, Burgundy (whites nearer front), Port, Aussie, Italy, all for cases, then racks which are arranged by country/style with age from left to right. I have separate racks for halves and mags.

Mostly works, can find most things reasonably easily, sometimes needing to move a fews cases/stack to get to those behind.
In my U shaped cellar, I have the whites on the left and the reds on the other two sides and the corners. Whites are loosely grouped by sparkling, chards and all other. Reds are more random with the corners for longer term holds. I have diamond bins for everyday drinkers (red and white).

Every location is identified by a grid system and an excel spreadsheet keeps track of it all. Very convenient to ask my wife to put 7-I (or whatever) in the fridge for dinner. She calls it "wingo".

Neil
quote:
Originally posted by Red guy in a blue state:
I organize by region (e.g. Bordeaux) or varietal (e.g. Oregon Pinot noir). I sub-organize by vintage. If I get time I arrange the sub-sets by drinkability (e.g. early drinking 2001 CA cabs to ones that need more time). There is a method to my madness.

Madness...word. Smile

I'm really surprised that so many folks are trying to maintain physical groupings of their wines given the majority (I think) usage of tracking tools (on-line or self-built spreadsheets / databases). For a walk-in showcase cellar, this makes sense. But not many are describing such a situation.

Like stickman and others, I wedge my wines in wherever they fit and let CT tell me where to find them.
quote:
Originally posted by sydthesquid:
I organize it by taking the bottles that I am about to drink out, and putting the bottles I just bought in.

That would be me too, of course I'm better at at my store. I'm amazed how well organized so many of you are, or maybe I should say impressed ! Wink
quote:
Originally posted by sydthesquid:

I organize it by taking the bottles that I am about to drink out, and putting the bottles I just bought in.


That's pretty much the way I do it, though I'm considering switching to reverse alphabetical by distributors' first names, which will probably be just as effective.
I use to be super organized, storing bottles by region, but then offsite happened and moving stuff back and forth and then, well, lately its been like pin the tail on the donkey. I know where everything is and I keep track, but its not where I'd like it to be. The plus side is my therapist says I'm letting go, which he says is a good thing Smile
quote:
I'm really surprised that so many folks are trying to maintain physical groupings of their wines given the majority (I think) usage of tracking tools (on-line or self-built spreadsheets / databases). For a walk-in showcase cellar, this makes sense. But not many are describing such a situation.

That's actually worse IMO. I'm going to physically put a wine somewhere and then go to the computer, log it in, specify a location, and when I want a bottle, I go back to the computer, look it up, and take the map w me?

I don't know but I might not even buy wine if I had to do that. If it works for you, by all means, go with that. For me, it sounds like drudgery, not something I'd look forward to doing.
At home - upper left of wine cabinet is Bordeaux, Burgundy and CdP. Upper right is Italian. Because of the racking, some bigger (fatter) bottles are in the middle.

The rest is done pretty much alphabetically, although there is a section toward the top reserved for DnVsMom's wines.

Off site is racked pretty much by region.

wine+art, stop laughing. I am serious.
quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
quote:
I'm really surprised that so many folks are trying to maintain physical groupings of their wines given the majority (I think) usage of tracking tools (on-line or self-built spreadsheets / databases). For a walk-in showcase cellar, this makes sense. But not many are describing such a situation.

That's actually worse IMO. I'm going to physically put a wine somewhere and then go to the computer, log it in, specify a location, and when I want a bottle, I go back to the computer, look it up, and take the map w me?

I don't know but I might not even buy wine if I had to do that. If it works for you, by all means, go with that. For me, it sounds like drudgery, not something I'd look forward to doing.

Who needs a map? I have a printout of the wines scheduled for this year with the rack coordinates listed. Of course, I'm an engineer so this approach is as natural as breathing to me!

So I was surprised that so many folks would go to the trouble of tracking their inventory without taking the natural, efficient next step of entering the bin locations and make maximum use of their racking while minimizing the time required. Doesn't everybody breathe like me? Smile
I used to be really organized - back when I only had a 96 bottles rack, (region in separate row, then Château/Domaine by vintage), but now lots of bottle in wood box waiting to be stacked in new bins or rack that I have to buy to be more organized and to look prettier. At least my inventory is up to date in CellarTracker, so a little game of hide and seek is played once in a while to find specific bottle Wink

dzitt
I started out with Rhone on one wall, Bordeaux and Italy on another, Burgundy and Riesling in the corners, Pinot and special on the short wall, with each row being a separate vintage. As it has filled up that has started to break down. I expect to number the bins this year and update cellartracker inventory to tell me where.
I've topped out at around 400 bottles +/-. That seems to be the magic number for me. So as they're not too difficult to keep track of, they are as such:

Rack 1
Misc Whites

Rack 2
German Rieslings

Rack 3
French
Rack 3A
Vintage 1990, my daughter's birth year. She will assume ownership of these next year.

Rack 4
California
Rack 4A
Australian

Rack 5
Oregon

Rack 6
Washington --Except for the Germans, this is the largest group & is broken down further by varietal

Rack 7
Spanish
Rack 7A
Italian

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