Joseph Hageman and his partners at the New Jersey-based eSommelier company have dreamed up an elegant solution to managing your wine collection. Designed and engineered by Media Access Solutions, eSommelier Wine Management System is an all-in-one hardware and software system that offers more than just counting inventory and locating bottles.

Previously, some collectors chose to move their wines to large warehouses because of the ease with which those institutions seemed to be able to manage their collections. However, for the wine enthusiast who wanted to keep the wine closer to his or her hearth and have 24-hour access to it, putting that inventory in a residential wine cellar was crucial and computer spreadsheet software was a necessary evil.

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For many who had large collections of antique, rare, or unusual vintages, keeping detailed records was a must, especially if you wanted to know when to drink a wine at its peak. Therefore, many collectors spent untold hours on a computer entering critical data about their collections instead of enjoying their wines as they became drinkable.

Enter Hageman’s company. In late 2004, their technicians introduced a system that has much of the necessary information about vintages already installed into the system, keeps it on site, and offers an easy way to get to it, even for the computer-challenged. “Collectors wanted an elegant solution that was easier to use and maintain than anything else currently available,” Hageman says. “They don’t want to boot up their computers or log onto a website to update their spreadsheets or accounts when simply removing a bottle of wine to drink with dinner.”

The eSommelier Wine Management System has a computer interface with a 15-inch touch screen. The internal hard drive stores a database of 139,000 wines from around the world. All the user has to do is find tap through a series of prompts for Country, Region, Variety, Winery, and Vintage. A new bottle of wine can entered in two minutes, much less than the ten it would take to enter it into a spreadsheet by hand.

Users who also subscribe to can access Robert Parker’s tasting notes, ratings, and drinkability suggestions. Wine collectors can also download wine labels that apply to their collections and browse their collections through the label art just like music fans can access albums through a music server.

In addition, collectors can access their collections from anywhere in the world through an integrated Ethernet port. For wine enthusiasts who have a summer home or live in two separate cities because of business, accessing their collections remotely before they arrive at their cellars can be helpful. Because you can find a specific wine in a specific location in the cellar, a host won’t be lost in the cellar for an hour looking for that special wine for dinner.

Along with the computer interface, eSommelier offers a barcode scanner and printer. Once the information about a wine is entered into the system, a barcode is created and printed to be placed on the bottle. This allows the collector to just run the bottle under the scanner when taking a wine to drink. The inventory will be automatically updated. Individual bottles are tracked and not just a bin or rack or even a case.

The eSommelier Wine Management System is a good investment for large collections. A desk model of the touch screen server retails for $5,000 and a rack or wall mounted version is $6,000. The barcode scanner and printer runs for $1,000. But you can get it all in the eSommelier Basic System, which integrates with Crestron/AMX, for $8,000. A Deluxe model that is compatible with AMX and Crestron home automation systems costs $11,000. It, too, has the bar coding kit but also includes a temperature/humidity sensor. The eSommelier Wine Management System is the perfect gadget for technophile wine lovers.

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