• The Grand Crew

Top Cellar Management Apps | CellarTracker review

Updated: Sep 19, 2018


The CellarTracker App on iOS

CellarTracker

This is the second in a multi-part review series focusing on what we believe are the top Cellar Management Apps.

CellarTracker’s mobile app launched in July 2014 and has been steadily updating and upgrading since. In August 2018 they had information on more than 2.7 million wines, closing in on 8 million tasting notes from professionals as well as from the community. The community is more than 550,000 members strong and growing.

The mobile  app is an extension of the CellarTracker website, which launched in beta in the summer of 2003 with an official launch in 2004.

The team behind the operation comes with serious street cred in the development world. The founders are former Microsoft employees. The website is thoughtfully built by a team who knows development, loves wine and loves building a wine-lover’s community. Truly, you won’t have to click uphill in the snow both ways to get to the information you’re searching for. If you use saved searches whenever possible you’ll never be more than a click away from your search starting point.

I think what sets CellarTracker apart is its solid feature set and activity community. I love that they surface things I think are fascinating, like how many other users have a particular bottle in their cellar, pending delivery or if they drank it. I like knowing what is the most popular bottle across the entire site. For the record it’s the 2012 Caymus Cab 40th Anniversary, with more than 33,000 bottles in members’’ cellars and all the tasting notes that that have been contributed to by members and professionals.

Over time you’ll start to notice other members whose tastes run like yours, or whose opinion you respect and you’ll be able to prioritize their reviews and even ignore reviews of users with whom you disagree on taste.  You’ll find your wine tribe here. It’s nice to find a reviewer with similar taste and drill down on their notes to discover other wines that you may enjoy.

User Friendliness

Both the website and mobile app are easy to adapt to.  Engineers like things logical, orderly & direct and it’s reflected in the UI for both versions of the app. It’s not fancy or slick or fluffy. It’s straightforward, it gets the job done and done well! The UI is in the background where it belongs here, what’s on the surface is what you’re there for in the first place!

Signup and Set-up are both simple. Once your account is activated you can begin building out your cellar, either one bottle at a time or by using one of two import methods. Don’t be afraid to try the import, it’s well documented and includes a Readiness Checklist so you are properly prepared to import from your existing system.

Speaking of documents, their support site is filled with documentation on anything you might need. It’s well organized which will help you find the right info at the right time. The documents we looked at were up-to-date and easy to follow. Written in plain english. I know it’s odd to screenshot the Help section, but it’s just so unusual I had to. It’s organized and if I get in trouble and need documentation, I feel hopeful that I can find what i need. Many topics have videos available which is always appreciated!


CellarTracker's helpful Documentation

Their customer service team is incredibly responsive and ready to help if you don’t find what you’re looking for.  

You may come to appreciate the way a feature works in on the desktop vs. mobile. If you’re importing or making lots of updates to your cellar, the desktop version might be more to your liking. Certainly you want the mobile app to take advantage of features like label recognition or scanning a barcode.

Using the barcode reader couldn’t be easier. Select Barcode from your mobile device, position your bottle’s UPC code inside the finder on your app and take the picture. In my searches CellarTracker either correctly identified my bottle or reported that the barcode was not in their database. I SIMPLY lined up the barcode into the finder and it correctly identified my 1999 Chateau Mouton Rothschild.

The Label Search tool is a differentiator as well. This works similarly to capturing a UPC code from a user perspective. You’ll select Label Search  and line the label up in the field indicated on your mobile device. This is powered by Vivino! and has a powerful OCR tool so even when the label is not found in the database, it makes suggestions based on words on the label. The label search correctly identified our 1999 Chateau Mouton Rothschild and made suggestions for a label search I did doing a bottle bourbon that I didn’t expect to be in the database.

The Label Search tool also has a Quick Capture feature that will come in handy when you want to capture a label and a thought or two but don’t have time for more in-depth tasting notes. You take the picture of the label and add whatever notes or prompt such as where you tasted it and click Done! If you’re at a tasting, instead of done, you can click Next to quickly capture the next wine in the line-up.

There is a nice suite of reports including the Readiness To Drink report which may help you determine which bottles to choose for dinner. Or it may help you decide which bottles you would to sell if you needed to make room for new bottles in your cellar. Reports can be exported to excel or shared via email or social media. If you happen to be looking to make space in your cellar feel free to export a report and share with us!


Reliability/Performance

I used the app on a MacBook, iPad and iPhone.

I did not experience any slowness or lag at all whether with an app or between devices. Any changes or additions to my cellar on my iPhone were available to me on all devices immediately.


Zero Crashes on any device.

Cost

We saved the best part for last, unless you’re the kind of person who scans for the price trip first and reads later. Are you ready for this? The app is free. Everything you need to manage your cellar is right here in this free app. However there is a fee recommendation based on the size of your cellar and we seriously hope users contribute!

Free features include:

Manage inventory manually

Know when it’s time to drink certain wines

Manage inventory with a barcode scanner.

Label recognition

Access to millions of community reviews

Premium Add-ons include:

Access to some pro scores, although there may be separate subscriptions required.

Automatic cellar valuation.

You’ll notice that under your Profile Name there will be a red Payment Recommended link. There you’ll find that the recommended fee is based upon the number of bottles in your cellar. Some of the premium features, such as automatic valuation do require a minimum of $20 to access. Seems more than fair to me and I sincerely hope that many members show the team that developed and supports it some love by making the recommended payment.

The Pros:

  • No cost of entry

  • Easy to add and remove bottles to your cellar or wishlist manually by scanning a UPC code, or snapping a photo of a label.

  • Clearly defined steps for importing your cellar from your existing platform or method

  • Ability to track everything that can possibly be tracked

  • A full suite of reports

  • Unusually well documented

  • Active User Community

  • Very responsive support team

Be Aware:

  • Access to some professional scoring is available although there may be separate subscriptions required.

  • Payment Recommended in red below the profile can be disconcerting until you understand what it is and why it’s screaming at you in red.

  • The forums are lively with lots of people willing to comment or answer questions or debate. However, the forums are managed separately from the website and apps, so you’ll need to register and that login and password will not be tied to your CellarTracker account.

  • Cellar Valuations are estimates and geared toward insuring your wine. You’ll want to be aware the difference if you’re looking to sell vs. insure.

This app is ideal for you if:

  • You like wine

  • Like to track many different data points about your wine

  • You like being part of an active wine lovers community

Wrap Up:

This app strikes a great balance been extremely flexible and usable at the same time, which is not an easy thing to do. It’s got longevity behind it, and an ever-growing user base. And that user base contributes to its ever growing wine database. It’s a beautiful thing, really!

Download the app for iOS or Andriod

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