Readers are often asking me how they should keep track of the wines they like. And, just as there are all sorts of wines out there, there are all sorts of methods to track them. If you’re a paper and pen type of person, though, Sommelier Vanessa Trevino-Boyd of Philippe Restaurant + Lounge in Houston shared a method she has uses.
She said that when she began learning about wine, she picked up an inexpensive address book and began writing her impressions of the wines she tasted, listing wines by producer. That way she could find the notes easily and the address book was small enough to keep in her purse.
“There is something about writing your notes out in longhand that helps your brain remember,” Trevino-Boyd said. “I would take a few notes on what I tasted and then re-read my notes from a few days before each time I entered something new.”
I love this tip!
Sure, snapping a photo of a wine with my phone is a lot of fun, but as I look back over all those photos, I have a lot of photos, but not a lot of data.
I have been struggling with using a formal tasting note notebook and, to be honest, trying to answer all the questions on those official looking tasting note forms has been intimidating me. I think I’ll pick up an address book this week and give her method a try. And I thought I didn’t need a little black (or pink) book anymore!
If I just take the time to record what I’m tasting and my impressions of the wine, I’ll have much better luck in using that information to buy either the same wines in the future, or I’ll have more information when I ask for help.
Here are my tips for tracking your wines this way:
Don’t worry about getting into too much detail, unless you’re on track to be a stellar Somm like Vanessa. Just write down whether you liked the wine or not and maybe give it a score from 1-5. You could also write down anything memorable about when you tasted it (where you were, who was with you) and also any food you might have enjoyed with it. If you know it, write the price, too. Just having that will help you the next time you’re trying to remember the wine you like, and those other notes will make it easier to recall the experience, too.
By organizing everything by producer in the book, it’ll be easy to find the wines you tasted when you want to refer back to them.
Do you track wines you’ve tasted? If so, how? Please tell us in the comments…
Ask the VineSleuth
Do you have any wine related questions? Shoot me an email at amy (dot) g (at) vinesleuth (dot) com or leave your question in the comments and I’ll do my best to share the answer in an upcoming Ask the VineSleuth post. I’m here to help!