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Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne $34.99One of our best non-vintage Champagnes, this organically grown blend of half each Chardonnay and Meunier comes entirely from Bruno Michel's estate. It has been aged for six years on the lees and shows wonderful natural toasty quality as well as incredible vibrance! This was the big hit of our most recent staff Champagne tasting and we think you will love it too.

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We host regular weekly and Saturday wine tastings in each K&L location.

For the complete calendar, including lineups and additional details related to our events, visit our K&L Local Events on KLWines.com or follow us on Facebook.  

 

Free Spirits Tastings at K&L! Now that we have our license for spirits tastings in Redwood City and San Francisco, we’re excited to host regular free spirits tastings in those locations.  Check the Spirits Journal for an updated tasting schedule.

All tastings will feature different products from the Spirits Department and take place on Wednesdays in Redwood City and San Francisco. Visit our events page on Facebook or the K&L Spirits Journal for more information.

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Monday
Oct182010

Wine 101: Cellar Tracking Tools

One of the biggest tricks behind maintaining a wine cellar is keeping track of all of the bottles in it, especially those wines - like 2004 Brunello di Montalcino,  2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape or pre-arrival 2009 Bordeaux (when they arrive) - that you probably won't be drinking for quite awhile. My dad handwrites the wines in his collection on a grid that hangs by a clipboard next to his wine fridge, and I know dozens who track their wines with simple Excel spreadsheets. Simple? Sure. But what if that list is at home and you're at K&L trying to remember if you bought one or two bottles of that awesome, early-drinking Burgundy that Keith Wollenberg is touting?

Cellar tracking software has been evolving in recent years, from computer-based programs to online ones, but with the increasing popularity of devices like the iPhone and the iPad, I think mobile cellar trackers are the way to go. That said, I think most wine lovers would agree that they'd rather spend money on wine, rather than on cellar tracking software, so any "app" needs to be free, or at least inexpensive. 

I tried out a handful of free and low-priced iPhone apps, including iCellar, Cellar and Vinocella, but the one I personally liked best was Velvet Vine. If you're just getting started, the free Velvet Vine Lite version allows to you add wines to your cellar on your iPhone, iPad or iPod or on their website, and it easily syncs between the two. If the wine is already listed in their community database, this process is super-quick. If it's not, then you can create a new winery or wine from scratch. This is much easier in the iPhone app than on the web, where the user interface isn't as friendly and you end up having to reenter information a couple of times (they say they're working on this). You can add your own bottle shots, too. With Velvet Vine Pro ($3.99) you have the added ability to create wishlists, search your cellar, add tasting notes, tasting events and generate reports to export to Excel or Numbers. It's easy to change quantities if you buy multiple bottles and subtract a single bottle when you drink it. 

Of course, the app isn't perfect. Because the database is community-generated, there a plenty of wines and wineries (particularly international wines) that aren't in the system yet. This means building your cellar can be a bit time-consuming, and this seems to be the biggest complaint from users. A lot of appellations aren't listed either, but I found their support team quite responsive. An email to add "North Coast" to their list of appellations was answered in just five minutes, and support inquiries were responded to with equal speed. Overall, Velvet Vine is a great start to keep track of all your wines, from Owen Roe to Almaviva to your vertical of Langoa-Barton.

What's your favorite cellar tracking app?

Leah Greenstein

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Reader Comments (8)

My favorite wine app for the iPhone is "Cor.kz"
October 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRick
Althought from retail business point of view, Vinfolio is K&L competitor, their cellar software "VinCellar" is really good. The main point is that they have a very comprehensive database. It is very user friendly. The major drawback is only available as web application.
October 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Ho
Hi Leah,
Have you tried Wine by the Bar, the free iPhone wine app? You can search over a million wines, rate, take notes, organize your wines into your own lists (e.g.- "Drink in 2011" or "Located in Bin#41"), scan barcodes to retrieve wines, take label pictures and enter wines that aren't already in the database, and so much more. You can also search by any part of the wine record. Try it out and let us know what you think!
Kerstin
October 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKerstin McKay
I've been using CellarTracker for some years, now, and I find it a very useful program, and easy to use. It is a great way to check out wines that you are thinking about buying, seeing tasting notes from other subscribers, and it also works really well to track my own inventory. I do not really "see" the benefit from having a mobile solution for tracking one's own cellar...after all, your cellar isn't mobile, and it is pretty easy to check in and check out from a "normal" computer; and one can go online, from any of these devices, to check what others are saying. What I do find very compelling is the use, by some restaurants, of an iPad to list their wines, and to connect to the various "tasting notes" sites, such as cellartracker-very innovative, and apparently it improves not only the selection of wines, but also the amount people are paying (going up, way up!)
October 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCecily Drucker
Hi Leah,

I think no available application makes the entry of wine bottles easy. K&L could help it to at least its own customers. You have a great retrievable database of all orders and perhaps you could add a CellarTracker WineID or a wineid of another reference wine database library. You would do it once (when you order wine), instead all customers of a wine searching for the same information. Of course, others stores could do that, too, but K&L is a big and influential store so it could help, and this could also make another differentiating point between the leading store and other wine shops.

Regards
October 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDan
Hi Leah -

I noticed you didn't check out Drync Wine (no worries - there are too many wine apps to choose from now!). Drync is one of the most popular wine apps for discovering and recording wines. We have over 1.2 million wines in the dbase now, and hundreds of thousands of expert reviews. And, we have offline and online cellaring capabilities so that you can track what you drink, buy, and/or want.

Check us out!

-- The Drync Team
October 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDrync Wine
Thanks everyone for your responses. I'll have to check out Wine by the Bar and Drync Wine. And thanks for your suggestions, I'll definitely pass them on.

Leah
I have been using the paid version of drync for a while now. I find it largely nice, relatively easy, and I can add wines by hand when offline. Cellar tracking is ok, but not exceptional.

I do wish Drync's team put together a little algorithm to consolidate wines. Often there will be 6-7 versions of the same wine (often with only apparent whitespace or hyphenation differences) from the same year. That can be a little annoying, but otherwise it's quite nice to use.
October 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjeff

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