Q. What is your recommendation for how to best catalog, rate and determine the drinking window dates for my wine cellar? Are tracking systems with barcodes worthwhile?
A. Bar coders are ideal if you have a very large wine collection, but they are quite expensive (costing upwards of $3,000) and hardly a necessity. You could easily get by with a spreadsheet sorted according to a wine's anticipated maturity, location or score. Vintage charts indicating "drink" or "hold" recommendations (such as those available in Wine Spectator and at WineSpectator.com) are a very helpful source of information. But ultimately, you are the best judge. Periodically open a bottle of a prized vintage and record your impressions. Uncork accordingly. It's a good idea to store wines that are close to their peak in a specific part of your cellar so that you don't forget about them. More wine goes bad for not being drunk than for any other reason.
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