Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny

Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Dear Dr. Vinny,

My friend has about 2,000 bottles and just created a wine cellar. About 90 percent of his wines are from California and 10 percent are Old World. Most wines are relatively newer in vintage dates. He asked that I help him put the wines in the racks. What is the best way to organize them? Alphabetical by producer? Varietal?

—Richard P., Scottsdale, Ariz.

Dear Richard,

Sounds like you already have a plan in place to have separate California and Old World sections, which sounds OK to me, as I like to break down my cellar by country or region. From there, I think it would make sense to sort by producer, and then put each producer’s similar bottlings together. Keep the ready-to-drink vintages closer to eye level and the “don’t you dare touch for 10 years” vintages either up high or down low and labeled with tags so they won’t be handled as much.

I always recommend keeping a separate “drink now” section, for everyday wines that you (or your spouse) can dip into without guilt, and without having to search through and disturb your library wines. These I usually keep closer to the door, organized by varietal or, at least, by red/white/pink/bubbly/sweet.

—Dr. Vinny

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.