I have kept a text file of wine notes for years. Each entry is like:

Wine #1 maker and wine name
Date #1: Notes and cost
Date #2: Notes and cost

Wine #2 maker and wine name
Date #1: Notes and cost
Date #2: Notes and cost

I don't rely on any online knowledge on wines, and am not looking to do so. That's why I entitled this question using the word "personal wine notes". I also don't wish to rate each wine. My notes will tell me what I need to know. Depending on my mood when I review the notes, I may decide to give a wine another try.

What I need is to be able to sort the entries by: (i) date of last try or (ii) alphabetically. The former lets me see the most recent wines I tried without being hampered by wines that I tried years ago. The latter lets me look up a specific wine that I may come across, or that someone may have recommended.

Additionally, I would like to access the "database" of notes from both my desktop/laptop and my smartphone, and I don't want to go through any cloud service (other than webmail, e.g., gmail).

The apps that I've read about don't cater to these deceptively simple requirements. As someone who mashes data in my day job, I can envision a some partial conceptual solutions. For example, if I had a Microsoft Access database, then each wine can be a single entry in a data table of wines, which links to a table of notes. The notes table will have a date field and a field for text notes (including cost). I can then write some code to associate each wine with the date of its most recent note, then sort by either that most recent date or by the wine identification text.

This is fine if I only want to look up the database on the computer, but it does not permit updating on the smartphone. What works for accessing from phone and computer is to maintain a draft email in my gmail account, which I can access from both the phone and the computer. But it doesn't allow for the sorting described above. I've basically entered wines in chronologically. Sometimes, when someone recommends a wine, it's hard to check whether the wine is deep down in the text file (from years past).

I got tired of that, and took a text mashing editor (vim), made all the entries into one physical line of text, with delimiters separating the different date entries, sorted by wine name, then converted each entry back to the multiline format illustrated above. Without a database, however, I can't re-sort the wines by date of most recent trial.

Is there a solution that permits the sorting that I want (by wine or by date of most recent trial), accessible for update or lookup from both desktop/laptop and smartphone? Avoiding the cloud would be preferred.

  • Though I like your question (hence +1), I vote to close it as it has nothing to do with wine as such, and is off-topic here, Maybe you could ask this question on StackOverflow. – Philipp Oct 23 '17 at 8:06
  • I think you may be right. My only concern is that the specific set of requirements are driven very much by my wine tracking practices. Perhaps other enthusiasts have found a solution, and not necessarily one of programming. – user2153235 Oct 23 '17 at 12:27
  • I too am a database professional by day and super star wine person at night. You throw so many roadblocks in your way that you won't look at simple solutions like using Google Sheets on the cloud. All these apps store data in the "cloud", you'll never get around this requirement. It either sits on your phone or your desktop without a custom app that your will have to write yourself. – farmersteve Oct 23 '17 at 14:46
  • Oh, I'm definitetly not a database professional. I just know enough to be dangerous (to myself). I agree that if I use the cloud, the problem goes away. The whole challenge/puzzle is how to do it without a cloud. You are of the opinion that the only solution is a custom one that I create myself. My current solution is a custom one, and it isn't good enough. As I am not a developer, unless I am in a position to abandon my current life and transform myself, a custom solution doesn't cut it. It may be the case that there is no solution, and I would find that to be an acceptable answer. – user2153235 Oct 24 '17 at 1:47
  • If this is for wine enthusiasts that have found a solution, and not necessarily one of programming then it should not have a programming like specification. If you want two devices to be in synch then there has to be a master and email is not a valid master for this type of data. – paparazzo Oct 27 '17 at 16:32

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