ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

I have around 400 bottles in my cellar, but have lost track of what should be drunk by when. What is the best way to find out?

—Keith, London

Dear Keith,

You should start by taking an inventory of your cellar. If you’re a subscriber to WineSpectator.com, you can take advantage of our Personal Wine List service, which will help you record the wines you have, and then later you can search or sort through your list of wines by producer, vintage or varietal without having to handle the bottles. Other cellar management tools are out there, and some people prefer to work in a spreadsheet or just with pen and paper. No matter how you do it, I think you’ll need an inventory for a collection that large.

As far as what to drink when, an advantage of using our Personal Wine List service is that it will link you up with our reviews of your wines, including our drink recommendations. Of course, these are just our suggestions of when a wine will be at its best; your own preferences and experience with older wines should be your guide.

—Dr. Vinny


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