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February 24, 2001

Robert Parker’s Wine Advisor & Cellar Manager

Well, WinoStuff readers!  I’ve continued on my quest to be the techno-geek of WinoStuff even though my brother-in-law, Always-A-Wino John (aka Wino John) has the true techno background.  Unfortunately, due to our sponsorships which are on the level of pro-lacrosse sponsorships (i.e. none), he keeps busy updating the site while Wino Bob drinks and writes and drinks and writes and …. Well, you get the picture.

Anyhow, this week I decided to review a product that I had wanted to obtain for quite some time.  Robert Parker has been a hero to many in the wine industry because he tries to taste every wine on the face of the earth and doesn’t take any advertising for his efforts.  Parker has a newsletter, The Wine Advocate, which I have subscribed to for about 15 years (not bad since it was first published in August 1978).  He’s also an attorney who gave up his law practice to follow his nose for wines and survives quite handily rating wines.

I thought that the Wine Advisor and Cellar Manager was a program for those of us who had a substantial wine cellar.  Well, you can use it for that, and I’ll discuss that later, but the best part of this software is the Wine Advisor part.  The Wine Advisor has a search feature that allows you to find any wine by typing in text and hitting the search button.  The wines are indexed by:  producer name (winery), label name (Reserve, Special Select, etc.), Variety (Cabernet Sauvignon), Vintage year, wine producing country, wine producing region (California, Bordeaux), and wine producing location (Napa, Pauillac).  If you type “mondavi cabernet sauvignon” you will find all Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignons.  If you type “mondavi cabernet sauvignon reserve 1994” you will find only the 1994 Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

The software allows for even more sophisticated searches using the “find” feature.  For example, if you click the “advanced search” button, you see a “find” window.  Inside the “find” window are several blocks for search criteria.  These blocks include:  keyword, producer, year, label, country, region, location, variety, rating, cost, and notes.  You can then select the categories you want to find, for example, all 1995 Rhone wines costing $20 or less and having a Parker rating of 90 or more.

Once you find a group of wines, their characteristics appear in a wine table, which lists all wines appearing as a result of the search.  For information on a particular wine in the table, you can click on that wine and find even more specific information in the Wine Form, available for each wine.  There are also over 50 predefined reports available.  Moreover, the software allows you to custom design your own report including changing reports’ appearances.  Many of the wineries have web links that enable you to go to the winery website after clicking on the web links icon from the individual wine selected in the search.

The Wine Advisor part is slick and is another reason why Wino Bob needs to keep his day job (actually, Wino Bob may want to review newer wines which take a year and a software update to get reloaded into the Wine Advisor database).  The hardest part of the software is the Wine Cellar Software that allows you to create a visual cellar.  I don’t think I’ll spend a lot of time on this part of the review since many of you don’t have cellars yet.  The power of the software is that it allows you to create an unlimited amount of cellar areas.  Each cellar area has at least one rack (storage unit).  The racks contain bins arranged in rows and columns.  You must specify how many bottles of wine each bin can hold.  You can specify rectangular, square, or diamond shaped bins, which tend to correspond to 99% of all storage racking that I’ve seen.  Once you’ve defined your cellar, you can add your wines to the various bins.  What’s neat is that if your wine is listed in the database, you can click on that wine, specify the quantity and location (bin) and you’re on to the next wine.  Later, once you’ve built the cellar, you can color code the Parker ratings on your visual cellar view so that you know where you keep the good stuff.

I bought my software before it was updated for the 2000 Parker reviews.  It requires about 70Mb of disk space and they estimate that each year upgrade added will require an additional 7Mb.  You can purchase the software at some catalog retailers like the Wine Enthusiast, or you can order it from Parker’s affiliated company, Wine Technologies, Inc., at www.winetech.com (see our link also).

 


 

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