Random thoughts on the world of wine, presented in no particular order.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The care and feeding of Cellartracker, part 2, working with wines.

Yesterday, I explained how to add wines to Cellartracker.  Today, we'll learn how to consume wines (out of the database, I mean), make notes both of consumed wines and tastings of wines not in your cellar, and how to add an entirely new wine.

Drinking a wine out of your database.  It's Friday night, you're having steaks... mmm, perfect pairing for a bottle of cab.  After you pop the cork and take the first sip (because, if you're like me, the wine will almost assuredly be tasted before the meal is done... or even started!), pop over to your "My Cellar," and click on the wine you've tasted.  Under the "My inventory" heading (below the basic wine information), there should be a number -- the number of bottles you have -- and a little "D."  Click the D.  That brings you to the "Drink a bottle" page, where you can consume your wine.  You can add a private note ("Had with Dad for Father's day steaks"), rate the wine, and add tasting notes.  When you're done, click the "consume this bottle," button, and voila.  Your Cellartracker cellar is one bottle lighter, and (if you felt like making notes or a rating), the wine you just had now has a review for others to see.

Making notes on a wine not in your database.  Say you went to the local wine store and there was a tasting (gee, I hate it when that happens!).  Lo and behold, you loved (or hated) a specific wine or wines.  You can let the world know!  Find the wine (both name and vintage) using the search, and under "personal and community tasting history (public)," click on the "add a new public tasting note."  Make the note as you would with a consumed bottle, and now the world knows that this wine rules, and that wine sucks.  At least in your opinion, that is...

Adding an entirely new wine.  So, you got a bottle of artesinal wine from the vineyard where you vacationed.   Amazingly, Cellartracker doesn't have that wine in it's database!  First thing to do, make sure you're searching for the right terms; I've found that it's best to look for the varietal and appellation, then display the results by wine, and then sort alphebetically.  Display all, and scroll through to find your wine; it may be in there.

But, what if the vintage isn't there, or it's a new release from an existing producer?  You can add a wine based on an existing wine -- for vintage changes (the easiest), you click the "new vintage" under the "Vintages" header in the left-hand column.  Input the proper vintage in the text box, and make sure all the other information is correct (sometimes, appellations change as vintages change, and producers source their grapes from different places).  Similarly, if you need to add a new wine -- say, a Cab producer makes a Merlot this year, you'd go into the new vintage screen, and edit the varietal.

If the wine is completely new, you'll have to add an entirely new wine -- click on "add wine to my cellar" under "common tasks" in the left hand bar.  Type the wine name in.  When it doesn't return any existing wines, click "CLICK HERE to create an ENTIRELY NEW WINE."  You'll have to specify all the information (heck, you can even specify the UPC if you like), but it'll get put in as it would with a modified wine.

So, this covers most of what you might want to do with Cellartracker; there's more to discover on it, but hopefully this'll help you get the basics down.  Tomorrow... more wine, I promise!  There's a couple of good bottles of Chardonnay in my fridge, just aching to be tasted.

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