Tips and Tricks using The Personal Wine Curator

Custom headers on printed lists.
Take advantage of the "Custom Header" option when you print lists. Let's say you have done a search for all wines that are ready to drink, then sorted it by varietal...and you want to print just that list. When you click the "Print" button you will get a dialog asking if you want to include a custom header.

Type a descriptive header so it will be clear when you look at the list precisely what is included. The result will look like this:

Tracking multiple cellars.
Now that you know how to create a "Favorites" list and you know how to add your own custom field (see below for both), you can combine those functions to help you track multiple, discrete cellars. And it couldn't be easier!

First, rename the "Custom" field to something like "Cellars." Now, for every wine in one discrete cellar add your own personal code (e.g. "John's Wines") to that field. Use one code or keyword for each cellar.

Now follow the rules for creating a favorite for each one of those cellars, and you'll never have to wonder which wines are in which "cellar" again! For a VIDEO tutorial on tracking multiple cellars click here.

Creating Favorites.
This is one of the coolest features in PWC v3. Most of us search for the same wines or types of wines regularly. For example, I want to see all my cabernets that are mature, or just my wines from Chile, etc. You can create a "Favorites" list of just these wines and refer to it again and again without having to repeat the search every time!

First, perform your search, using any criteria you like. Immediately after you get a search result, go to the "Favorites" menu and click "Save to favorites." Your list will now always appear in the "Favorites" menu, so you can just click on it. And the list constantly refreshes as you add to your cellar, so there's no need to recreate it! For a VIDEO tutorial on creating a "Favorites" list click here.

favorites list in wine software

Add your own field.
If you think we've neglected to include an important field, or you simply need another field to enter special information, you can add and customize your own fied. On the "Edit" layout you'll see a field called "Custom" Just click directly on the field name itself and you can rename it anything you like. Now you have your own custom field!

custom field in wine software

Flag wines directly from your Cellar list.
PWC v3 allows you to flag wines right in your Cellar list for any reason whatsoever. Want to keep a temporary list of wines you want to pull for your next dinner party? No problem, just flag 'em.

Go to your Cellar list. You'll see a grey dot next to each wine in the list.

When you click that grey dot, it becomes a flag.

Clicking the flag again will un-flag the wine. You can see a list of all your flagged wines very quickly by going to the "Lists" menu at the top of your screen and selelcting "Flagged Wines."

Once your wines are flagged, you can sort your Cellar list to show all your flagged wines first by clicking the flag icon at the top of the Producer column.

If you hold your Ctrl/Control key down while clicking the flag icon at the top of the Producer column, you can flag or un-flag all the wines in the current list. For example, you might search for all wines with a vintage of 1998 and flag them all with just one click. When you return to your full Cellar list your 1998 wines are all flagged!

Check out our Technical FAQs and videos.
Our Technical FAQs are a great companion to these Tips and Tricks. A lot of users are buying new computers. But not everyone is checking the PWC system requirements first. One of the things you'll find on the Tech FAQs is a video tutorial on what to do if you have installed PWC onto Vista directly from a CD. Check out the Technical FAQs at

Print labels in batches of like quantities
When you have a long list of wines of various quantitites, the easiest way to print labels for these wines is to do it in batches of like quantities.

**Remember: you must be using a label printer, not a sheet of labels!

Start by checking all the wines with the lowest quantity (e.g. "1"). Then click "Print Chk'd."

In the print dialog, be sure copies is set to "1".

Now uncheck everything with one click by clicking the "X".

Now select only wines with a quantity of 2 (or whatever the next greatest quantity is).

Now when you click "Print Chk'd" be sure you set copies to "2".

Just repeat this as many times as you need.
Backup, backup, backup!
PWC reminds you every couple of weeks to backup your data if you haven't done so. But don't wait until you get the reminder! Get into the habit of backing up your data any time you make changes to your cellar. Good backup habits will save you a lot of trouble (and possibly heartache) down the road if you suffer any unexpected computer crashes!

Remember: always backup to an EXTERNAL drive. Saving a backup of your data on your local hard drive won't do you any good if your local drive crashes and can't be recovered.

Start by clicking "Back Up PWC" on the Home screen:

Navigate to an EXTERNAL drive, and select it as your backup destination. Click "OK."

That's it. You'll get a message confirming your backup:

Varieties aren't always varietals. Use the Varietal field consistently and correctly.
Lots of people toss around "varietal" and "variety" interchangeably. But that's not always the case. So we thought we'd guide you a bit on how to use the "Varietal" field, and how (and when) to use the "Grapes" tab.

"Varietal" is a wine that uses the name of the dominant grape from which it's made (e.g., cabernet sauvignon) in its name.

"Variety" refers to a single type of grape.

If your wine is varietally labeled, then you should go ahead and enter that variety into the "Varietal" field. (We also suggest you include that in the "Wine Name" field.)

If your wine is not varietally labeled but you wish to make note of the variety (or varieties), that's where the grapes tab comes in. There are over 10,000 grape varieties in the world, and many of them make infrequent appearances on a wine label, let alone merit the "varietally labelled" tag. That's why we don't include 10,000 varieties in the list of common varietals. You may, of course, enter the predominant grape into the varietal field if you like. When that information is not made available by the producer, choose one of the blends, like "Proprietary Blend." Blends are a good catch-all for many wines, even when you do know the grapes (e.g., Bordeaux Blend).

The thing to remember is this: if you don't see a varietal listed on our list, just type it in if you like. More likely than not, though, it's a good time to use the "Grapes" tab.

Refine your cellar list by doing a multiple search.
If you have a large cellar, sometimes you want to see a refined list so you don't have to scroll through so many wines. Performing a multiple search is one way to narrow your list.

Let's say you have lots of varietals represented in your collection. You just want to look at a list of Chenin Blanc and Viognier. This would be a good time to filter out all the varietals that fall between "C" and "V"...

Start by clicking the "Search" button at the top of your screen and choose "search by field." You get a screen that looks like the one below -- type "chenin" into the Varietal field:

update your wine by I.D.

Now click the "More" button:
wine I.D. is on your wine I.D. label

You get an identical set of fields below the first. Now type "Viognier" into the second Varietal field. Then click "Find it!":
enter wine details for your consumed wine

You get a nice compact list of only Chenin Blanc and Viognier.

You can use this multiple search technique for just about any criteria.

When your wines arrive, mark them..."Arrived."
You know how easy it is to mark your wines "On Order" in PWC. Well, marking them "Arrived" and getting them into your Cellar list is just as easy. Go to your "On Order" list and click "update"...:

update your wine by I.D.

Just mark your wine "Arrived" and include the arrival date if you like.

Using ID labels? Update by ID or barcode number.
If you're keeping up with your inventory by using ID labels on the bottles, there's a fast way to update your cellar when you consume a bottle -- the "Update Wine by I.D." fucntion. Start on the Home screen, and click "Update by I.D.":

update your wine by I.D.

You'll be given a simple dialog window. Just enter the I.D. or barcode number of your wine:
wine I.D. is on your wine I.D. label

Click "OK" when your done. Now just enter any info you want:
enter wine details for your consumed wine

Click "Done" when you're finished. Your wine is updated:
your wine is updated

Add vendors to your Phone Book right now.
Most of us buy our wine from the same vendor(s) over and over again. So let's add those vendors to your "Phone Book" all at once. Start by going to the Home screen and click "View/Edit Phone Book" :
edit vendor list

Now click "New" on the Phone Book page:
add a new wine vendor

Enter any information about that vendor. Check the "Vendor" check-box to specifiy that this is a vendor. (You do not have to check anything if you don't want to. You may also check more than one box.) Click "Done" when you're finished:
add wine vendor details

That's all there is to it. Notice also that you may filter the Phone Book to show only vendors, or only producers etc. Click that vendor in the list and you'll see its details at the right:
check the wine vendor details for accuracy

Now any time you are entering a wine you will see that vendor in the "Where Acquired" drop-down list:
wine vendors appear in list

I entered the wrong quantity!
If you've entered the wrong quantity (or the wrong price) for a wine, you can always change it. Go to your PWC cellar and click "Edit" on the wine with the incorrect quantity/price.

edit the wine

Now click the "Purchase History" tab:
wine purchase history

If you are using PWC v3, click the "Edit" button next to the purchase history of the wine you want to edit:

If you're using PWC v2, when you move your cursor over the "Bottles In" field you'll see a tooltip letting you know you can "change quantity" by clicking that field. Click the "Bottles In" field:

change wine quantity

You'll be prompted to make a new entry or change the one you're viewing. Click "Change."
confirm wine quantity

Now just adjust the info as you please and you're done!

There's a shortcut! Hold down your control key.
When you click the Print button, normally you get a dialog that asks you to choose a page/print setup. If you only have one printer and never reconfigure it, you can avoid this dialog by holding down your control key while you click "Print."
On Windows your control key looks like this: windows control key
On Mac your control key looks like this: mac control key
Other buttons affected by holding down the control key are:
"Search" -- you'll be taken straight to "Search by field" without a dialog prompt.
"Pair Food" -- you'll be taken straight to "Pair Food" without a dialog prompt.
"Menu" -- if you already have a menu (or menus) in progress/finished, you'll be taken to the most recent one.

Duplicate your wine, don't start from scratch.
If you're entering several (or even 2) wines from the same producer, just click the "Duplicate" button, then change a few particulars (like vintage) and enter a quantity. Big time saver. The "Duplicate" button is on the bottom of your Wine edit screen and looks like this:
duplicate wine in wine software

The deck is stacked!
It's easy to scroll through all your wines when you're looking at them on the Main Cellar list, but what about from an edit or summary view? No problem. Remember, all your wines are just sitting there one on top of another, like a deck of cards.
wines stacked in the software

So just because you can only SEE one record at time on the Edit screen, doesn't mean there is only one record there. You can "flip" through them by using the navigation arrows. The navigation arrows are on the bottom right of the screen and look like this:
wine cellar software navigation

The Previous List button
You've just done a search for all your Chardonnay from Sonoma that cost over $40 and is ready to drink now. You have a tidy list of 15 wines, winnowed down from 300. Now you click "Edit" or you view a summary of one of those wines. Great, but you want to go right back to the same list without having to search all over again. Just click the "Previous List" button at the top of your screen:
previous wine list

That refined list comes right back.

Got a question? Use the "comment bubbles"
All throughout the program you'll see "comment bubbles" that you can click for fast, helpful tips. The "comment bubbles" look like this:
comment bubble

When you click the "comment bubble" you get a window like this:
comment bubble text

And don't forget about the Tool Tips!
Another way to get information quickly is a Tool Tip. When you hover your cursor over many of the fields in PWC a small window will pop up automatically giving you information. Those little windows are called "Tool Tips." For example, sometimes you've got a wine with a really long Producer and/or name -- too long to fit neatly into the field on the Cellar layout. Move your cursor over that wine name and leave it there for a moment and see what happens:
wine software tooltips

You get a Tool Tip showing the full name! The Tool Tip also clues you in to what happens if you click on that wine. Tool Tips are super handy and they're all over PWC. (You can turn off Tool Tipsfrom the "Settings" tab on the Home screen if you don't want to see them.)

And speaking of custom settings...
Behind the Wine Overview tab on the Home screen is the "Settings" tab, where you can customize how your cellar is diplayed, what currency you're using, etc.
wine cellar software settings

Notice you have control over how your Cellar is sorted. Changing these preferences on the Settings tab makes those choices your "default" displays, meaning that's how your Cellar will always look when you first click on it. Experiment with the zoom and maximize settings to see if you prefer them to the standard views.

Sort on the fly...
Just because your default sort is by Producer and Wine Name doesn't mean you can't change it "on the fly." Let's say you're looking at your Cellar list and you want to sort it by Varietal right there on the spot. No problem, just click the Varietal sort arrows. Your list goes from this...
sorting wines

To this...
sorting wine list

Notice that the "Varietal" column header is now grey, indicating that your list is sorted by Varietal, in ascending order. Click it again and the list sorts by Varietal in descending order.
sort wine list again

You can click on any column sort arrows to sort by that field on the fly.

Sometimes a really a List
Reports are cool. They break your cellar into all kinds of interesting groups, they're full of information, and they're just plain sexy. Because Reports, however, are static -- you can't change them in any way -- sometimes they don't give you the flexibility you want to decide how and what information is displayed. Frequently, the best way to print a list of literally to just print your list of wines! Go to your Cellar List (or any list), or perform a search for specific wines, sort it exactly how you want it, then just click the "Print" button. You'll get a nice "printer-friendly" list of exactly what you're looking at, including quantity, maturity, value, location and rating.

The "Print" button is at the top of your screen and looks like this:
print a wine list

Remember, Reports aren't really intended to show you ALL the information about EVERY wine. Rather they can/may be used as tools to see the shape of your collection. So, if you want a hard-copy quick reference (say to keep in/by your cellar) that will list all your wines, tell you where they're located and what their maturity is, etc., use the "Print" button. If you want to have an overview of your collection -- that is, if you want to see exactly how your collection breaks down in various ways -- use Reports.

The Super Secret Hidden Screen
Actually, it's not a secret, or we wouldn't be telling you about it. But it is hidden, and there's only one way you can get to it. If you go to the Home screen, then hold down your control key and click the "Home" button again you'll be taken to a screen with two main functions: DELETE all your wines, and REPLACE Varietals with Distinctions.

Let's say you import 200 wines from an Excel spreadsheet. Now you review your wines and realize that you imported the wines incorrectly (e.g. all your "Producers" are in the "Name" field). So you want to delete all your wines and start over. Go to the "secret" Home screen and just click "Delete All My Records." **NOTE THAT THIS ACTION CANNOT BE UNDONE. BE CAREFUL.

If you were already using v1.2.5, when you upgraded you probably noticed that there is now a Varietal field, which is empty because you were using the Distinction field in version 1. Not all Distinctions are Varietals, and not all Varietals are Distinctions....but let's say you just want to go all out and put whatever is in the Distinction field into your Varietal field...for every single wine. Go to the "secret" Home screen and click "Replace Varietals." **NOTE THAT THIS ACTION CANNOT BE UNDONE. BE CAREFUL.

These are both functions that, in all likelihood, you'll only have to use once -- if ever. But should you need them, you know where to find them.

Get more out of food pairings
Food pairing is easy in PWC. Just choose a food and click "Pair It!" You end up with a result like this:
try pairing wine and food with the wine cellar software

Notice how many different wines you get as pairing suggestions. If you want to refine this list, just click "More Foods," then select another food. Look what happens!
refine your wine and food pairing

Your list is reduced to only wines that pair with both roast beef AND cranberry.

Customize your ratings
PWC gives you three pre-defined rating fields (My Rating, 100 Pt. Scale, and Outs.-Poor) as well as three custom rating fields that you may name whatever you like. You may enter a rating in any, all or none of these fields for each wine in your collection. Let's take a closer look. Go to you PWC cellar and click "Edit" on any wine.

click edit

Now click the "Notes" tab.

wine notes

Okay, here's what your ratings would look like if you just filled in the first three fields:

wine ratings

Notice that you can enter whatever you want in "My Rating" -- here we've entered five stars.

Now let's say you always want to include Robert Parker ratings. Easy. You'll just change "Custom 1" to "Parker." Start by clicking directly on the words "Custom 1":

custom wine ratings such as robert parker or wine spectator

Now replace "Custom 1" by typing "Parker":

three custom wine ratings

Now repeat for "Custom 2" and "Custom 3" if you like:

use the wine software to define custom wine rating

Now enter your ratings:

with The Personal Wine Curator wine cellar software you can add up to three custom ratings

If you were to look at your cellar list of ratings, you'd see that you now have three totally custom ratings. Go to your Cellar and click the "Ratings" tab:

six wine ratings in all

Now have a look:

change the wine ratings whenever you like

"Parker," "WS" and "WE" are now your custom ratings for your entire cellar. Note that you can display any rating in any column. Just click on the column header itself to change what it displayed:

The Spreadhsheet - no frills
For those of you who want total control over which fields appear on your Cellar List, and in what order those fields appear, there's a "Spreadsheet" layout. In the "Lists" custom menu at the very top of your screen you'll see "Spreadsheet." Click that to view your list as a completely "plain Jane" spreadsheet.

view your list of wines in the spreadsheet

Note that the speadsheet will show you WHATEVER LIST YOU'RE CURRENTLY VIEWING. We suggest going to the spreadhsheet layout directly from your Cellar list. (If you click "Spreadshseet" from the Home screen, you'll see every single wine you have entered, whether there is a positive quantity or not.)

Drag the columns into whatever order you want.

list your wines any way you like in the spreadsheet layout

Once you're viewing the spreadsheet you can sort your wines by going to the "Sort" custom menu at the very top of your screen (only available from the "Spreadsheet" layout).

sort your wines any way you like

Note that ALL possible fields are listed here. You won't be able to print all of these on one sheet, of course. To help you, we've shown you exactly where the page will print to by indicating it with a "Prints to here" line:

using wine cellar software is a much more powerful way to keep track of your wine

You may print the Spreadsheet by going to the "File" custom menu at the very top of your screen and clicking "Print." When you're finished viewing/printing the Spreadsheet, go to the "File" custom menu at the very top of your screen and click "Close Spreadsheet."

close the wine spreadsheet when you're finished viewing your wine list

Menu Making 101
Add a little something special to your next dinner gathering by including a small menu for each guest. It's an easy way to add a touch of class to any party, whether casual or formal.

Let's take a look at planning a simple menu, pairing the food and wine, then putting it all together in a printable menu.

You're going to have a simple summer dinner: avocado with vinaigrette to start, then beef ribs, and pear tart for dessert.

Start by clicking the "Pair Food" button. Then select "Avocado w/ vinaigrette." You see that it pairs with Sauvignon Blanc, and that you have several Sauv Blancs in your cellar. Click "Sauvignon Blanc"...

start making a menu by choosing food and wine pairings

When you click on "Savignon Blanc" you then see a list of all the Sauv Blancs in your cellar. You also see a check-box next to each wine. That check-box is there so you can select wines to include on your menu as you browse.

So, you've looked over your Sauv Blancs and decide you want to serve the Cloudy Bay, Te Koko. Check that box.

after you see the wine details check the menu box

Okay, easy. Now just repeat for each course. The "Beef Ribs" looks like this...

choose another wine

Now choose which wine you want to serve by checking the box....

select the wine for the menu

And do the same thing for the "Pear Tart"...

choose a dessert wine

Then choose which wine you want to serve with the Pear Tart...

add the wine to the menu by checking the box

Okay, so far so good. You've paired your food with wines in your cellar.

Now click the "Menu" button, which looks like this:

go to the menu section

If you're prompted, select "New"...

select a new menu

You now see Part 1 of the "Menu Maker" which has two panels on it...

name the menu

Let's take a closer look at each panel.

The left panel is where you enter the name of your menu. How you name your menu is entirely up to you, of course -- My Birthday, Dinner for Four, etc....

fill in menu details

The right hand panel is the "Wine Clipboard" -- here you'll see all the wines you selected when you were pairing food and wine...

wine selections are listed

After you have filled in the general info for your menu, click the "Next" button...

move to the next part of the menu section

Part 2 gives you a chance to add more wines to the Wine Clipboard. Since you've already selected your wines, you can skip this part by clicking "Next"...

add wines if you like

Now you're ready to create the actual courses. That's what we do in Part 3, which looks like this...

menu courses

You'll see that the right panel still shows your selected wines on the Wine Clipboard...

you will see selected wines

Look at the left panel. This is where you make your courses. You may make as many as you like. We'll create one course at a time. Start by clicking "New Course"...

start creating courses

Now you'll see the course form. Fill in the course food details...

food details

Now look at the right panel. Notice that arrows have appeared next to each wine. To add a wine to this course, just click the arrow next to the wine name...

select the wine you want to serve with that course

You may add as many wines to each course as you like. And you may add the same wine to more than one course. For this menu, we're only going to add each wine once (one per course).

After you click the arrow you'll see that the wine has been added to your first couse.

you can see the wines you added

Click "New Course" to add your second course. You're just going to repeat the process again for each course. So, again, just fill in course food details, then click the arrow next to the wine you're going to serve with that course...

move to the third course

The Cabernet has been added to this course...

add a cabernet

And one more time for the dessert course...

add a dessert wine now

When you're ready, click the "Next" button. In Part 4 you preview and print your menu. The screen shows what the two different layouts will look like in general. Note that you may print one large menu, or two smaller menus on one sheet, which you may then cut in half (perfect for small menus like this one, which will then file neatly onto a place setting).

If you want to see an exact preview of your menu just click the"Preview" button...

the wine cellar software allows you to preview the menu

When you're ready just click "Print"!

Use the Location field consistently.
Everybody stores their wines differently. Some folks use single bottles bins, others double, others diamond bins, some use a combination. Not to mention keeping wines in several different storage locations altogether. So what's the best way to use the Location field? The truth is it doesn't matter "how" but "how consistently." Come up with your own system and stick with it. For every single wine.

For example, if you only have one cellar, and you have only single bottle bins, you could just label every single bin with a single number. So four bottles of the same wine might have a Location field that looks like: 3, 6, 7, 22. Each number is one bin containing one bottle. Remember: you may not (and certainly don't have to) store all your bottles of the same wine near each other!

Let's take the same four bottles, but you've got double deep bins. Your Location field might look like: 3, 3R, 6, 6R. In this case there are two bottles in bin 3, and two bottles in bin 6 -- the "R" means "rear." Again, how you designate the front bottle and the rear bottle is entirely up to you, as long as you define them the same way for each wine.

If you wanted to indicate east wall, drawer 2, the Location field might look something like this: EW-D2 or eastWall-D2 or D2-E....or it could look like this: Cellar EW-D2, Home get the point: just be consistent. This way, if you are searching by Location your search results will be accurate!

Add your own grape.
PWC lists almost every grape commonly used in wines from around the world. But it's possible that you collect wine made from an unusual grape. You can always add that grape to the master list.

Start by going to your main Cellar list and clicking "Edit" on any wine...

comprehensive list of grapes may be amended

Now click the "Grapes" tab...

add your own grape

To add your own grape, just click the "Add" button, which is the "+" ...

many varietals

You'll get a dialogue window that looks like this...

name the grape

Just name the grape, and check "Popular" or "Black" or "White"...or a combination. Then click "Done." Now your grape will show up in the list...

you can see the wine software has added the grape

If you want to remove the grape you added, just click the "-" button. You'll get a list of only the new grapes you have added. (You cannot remove other grapes.)

you can delete grapes

Click "Del" to delete that grape. You're done!

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PWC Users

PWC Testimonials
I was so excited that the new version was released last night that I stayed up until after midnight entering new wines and playing with the new features I love it! Thanks for the great work!

Kim T., Santee CA

Wow! That vintage history tool is way, way cool. I have spent an hour or so on it tonight and it is bloody amazing!! Again wow!!

Pat S., Australia

The best technical support I have ever had!  I'm a customer for life!

Bill C., Poca WV

PWC is the third Wine cellar management software I have tried over the past year and it is by far the best. It is easy to use and is very intuitive. I was entering data within 10 minutes of downloading the trial version. For the wine novice it has numerous drop down menus which make it easy to categorize your wines and contribute to your wine education.

Ed Q., Boston MA

I want to thank you for the outstanding service your company provides.  The technical support is exceptional.  How you can provide a product of this quality and back it up with the level of technical support you provide amazes me.

Ron F., Louisville KY

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The Personal Wine Curator Wine Cellar Software