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... I highly recommend it ...

Written by Ernie Whalley at www.forkncork.com

" When you cross the great divide that separates wine as a gargle from wine as a subject for contemplation it's amazing how quickly you acquire surplus bottles.

The Pauline moment comes when you are down the offie buying three bottles, not one. Next, your kids, after years of wondering what the hell dad wants for Christmas, turn up at the tree with gift-wrapped bottles in Mitchells or Berry Brothers bags. Eventually, you join a wine society and buy a case. So it goes. And so it grows until, Hey presto! You have a wine collection.

This brings the problem of where to store your hoard followed fast by another, keeping track. All too often it's a case of 'out of sight out of mind'. I have wines in 7 separate locations around the house. Although I'm conscientious about keeping tasting notes I'm less so when it comes to logging locations of bottles I've laid down. Only the other day I came across a dozen assorted Barolos in the seaman's chest on which we stand the telly, some from 1999. Bloody good job they weren't 'here today, gone tomorrow' Sauvignon Blancs.

I've been looking for some years for a computerised wine system that would double job at storing my tasting notes and keeping tabs on the bottles in the 'cellar'. I even took a DIY stab at designing a crude database/spreadsheet but it was neither aesthetically pleasing nor up to the task.

Recently, I came across a computer program that ticks all the boxes. The Uncorked Cellar is available in a number of versions. The full mode, which I'm using, has 3 integrated modules. An easy-read screen layout allows you to enter a wine's details, including country and region of origin, grape varieties, price, rating, cellaring potential, etc. You can summon up a database which may already include many of these details, plus winemaker's notes. You can add your own tasting notes before or after consigning a wine to your cellar. Best of all you can ensure you don't lose it by allotting a location by rack, row and column. There are maps and graphs, cross-referencing and other useful bells and whistles.

In use, the program flags when a wine is approaching its best; there's even a feature that automatically revises the value of your wine collection. All this power and complexity is made simple for eejts like me through user-friendly screens and excellent 'Help' facilities. The Uncorked Cellar does everything it says on the tin and more. it would take three of these columns to describe the program's full potential so let's just say I highly recommend it and you should go to www.uncork.biz and check it out for yourself."

Origionally published in the Sunday Independent (Ireland).

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