Friday, June 09, 2006

Happy Endings!!

As I said before I left for holidays, the fabled (read first post, second post and third post) 252 bottle Kitchener wine cabinet has arrived!! At last! Now all I need to do is to rearrange my wine from 3 smaller cabinets, two cupboards and a dozen or more cardboard cartons or pine boxes. Where should I start and how should I arrange them in the new cabinet? Which ones to leave out and fill into the 2 remaining smaller cabinets and the cupboard?

I am going to take the opportunity to do a bit of a stocktake and ensure my records are up to date. I used to use a James Halliday Cellar Organiser but I have realized that you cannot export the data to any other program or even print out a full listing with all the information on it and have not kept it up to date for the last year or two. Therefore, I have decided to start again with my own cellar book. I decided to use a spreadsheet, like any good accountant would!

I note that the Red Wine Bigot has developed one for MS Access which he will share with anyone who asks him, but I have decided to go with my own. A spreadsheet will allow me to search by the parameters I set up (eg winery, label, vintage, region, variety etc) but also give me a sub-total or total of bottles and costs according to those parameters (It sounds like I have too much time on my hands). I will also be able to keep tasting notes attached to each wine as a “comment” attached to a cell.

I am currently about half way through the project (see photo right) and have emptied my three older wine cabinets (one of which has died), catalogued their contents and arranged them into the new wine cabinet. I have also catalogued all the wine laying around in cartons and boxes. All told, I have so far catalogued just over 200 bottles (they are not all in the cabinet). I think there is somewhere close to this amount left in the last cupboard (an old kitchen cupboard that I saved during a kitchen renovation).

I AM impressed with my new acquisition. This wine cabinet actually WILL HOLD WHAT IT ADVERTISES it will hold! The shelves of the new wine cabinet will hold a maximum of 32 bottles [except the top shelf (28) and bottom shelf (64)], however I have left room on the second shelf to add premium wines at a later date so that each new acquisition will not cause a total reorganization of the cabinet. I know, for example, that I have half a dozen Bordeaux’s from the 2003 en-primeur arriving soon (2 each of the 2003 Ch Branaire-Ducru, Ch Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Ch Pontet-Canet) as these were all that were available to me at them time, because I was a late starter. Another couple of pleasing points about the cabinet is that it is lockable and the outside of the front door is made from the same material as whiteboards, so you can leave cellar notes on the door and clean them off later.

Later today I have the task of emptying and cataloging the last cupboard’s contents and then deciding which of these wines, together with all the ones that weren’t in any cupboard or cabinet, should go into the new cabinet, then into the older wine cabinets and which may have to go back into the old kitchen cupboard.

I must say that whilst the work is tedious it is still fun and a not a little unlike Christmas. You pull out a wine at the bottom of the cabinet and go “Wow, I can’t remember still having this. I thought I had drunk all of these.” There have already been some really nice surprises, like finding I still had a half-dozen 1997 Tyrrell's Vat 9 Shiraz lurking (I love a good wine that knows how to 'lurk' - lurking is much better than 'skulking') in a pinewood box underneath a heap of other cartons. I think there will be a happy ending to this saga after all!

Live well and drink well!


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