Selecting Wine Cellar Management Software - Part 1

The computer can help you manage your wine cellar...

Fantastic Wine Cellar Wine Software Fantastic wine cellar in wine software

Even if your wine bottle cellar doesn't look like this, consider wine cellar software.

So you have a wine cellar, or are seriously thinking about getting one. You want to know, can software help me manage it? The answer is a resounding yes. Yes, if your cellar is really just a couple of wine racks, not necessarily in the basement. And yes, yes when you own a multi-thousand bottle operation designed as much to drive your friends and neighbors wild with envy as to classify and protect your collection. Yes, wine cellar software can help you manage and protect your collection. But you must spend some serious time and effort determining which wine cellar software best meets your needs, much as you spend time and effort selecting your wine.

Avosvins wine cellar management in wine software

Avosvins, one of many choices of wine cellar software.

Before proposing our ideas on what to look for in wine cellar software, a few general comments are in order. We are not going to name names. We are not interested in providing publicity for any wine cellar software. As always, make sure that you can return the software within a reasonable period, often 30 days, for a full refund or a full refund minus a small handling fee. Recently we were interested in some software that had nothing to do with cellars. The manufacturer offered NO money-back guarantee but did allow us to download a free trial version. This version lasted only three days and many of its potentially interesting features were disabled. I would never buy such software and strongly recommend that you don’t either. Remember, promised features are meaningless until you check them out. No vendors ever tell you about their software’s shortcomings. Have you ever heard of software that wasn’t touted as easy to use?

Data entry is a major aspect of software suitability for you. If you are going to be typing away, you may lose interest rapidly. Some programs insist that you enter basic information such as the grape variety, brand, country, region, and vintage. Great, how do they handle a multitude of grape varieties such as often found in red Bordeaux wines? Many wines have two “brands” associated with them. If you’re enough of a wine connoisseur to have a wine cellar, you may be interested in such details. Whether you are interested enough to bash in all that extra information is up to you. Some wine, such as most Champagnes, doesn’t have a vintage. Will the system force you to make up a value? It’s so easy not to enter the optional data but then system’s value drops off exponentially. For example, suppose that your database doesn’t include the vintage of your Chateau Petrus. The software won’t be able to provide a best date to drink date.

There are other issues involved with data entry. How does the system handle multiple purchases? In other words, you liked such and such a Barolo that you ended up buying a case, lucky you. Does the program let you add only changed data such as the price, or do you have to start virtually from zero? Some systems allow you to enter data from the bar code. While this option is useful, you may require data not found on the bar code. So expect to spend time and effort bashing in the data. You have probably heard the phrase, Garbage In Garbage Out. A good system flags outrageous data entry values but cannot catch all your errors.

If you are wealthy enough to have a fine wine cellar, you may consider paying someone to do serious data entry for you. Just make sure that his or her nickname isn’t Butterfingers.

About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His wine websites include
www.theworldwidewine.com    and    http://www.theitalianwineconnection.com

Visit his website devoted to Italian travel www.travelitalytravel.com

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This article, once completed, tells you what you need to know about selecting software for your private wine bottle cellar.