These days, high-end home buyers expect to have music in every room and a palette of viewing options at every TV. Internet in every room isn't far behind, making cable and data outlets as much a part of the room planning as the AC wiring. As more and more people opt for structured wiring, there are more reasons to put it in. Now, even the more esoteric upscale amenities in the luxury home are getting in on the networking act. First it was the refrigerator that could dial out to the e-grocer. Now, the home piano and the wine cellar are plugging in and logging on.
connected connoisseur If wiring the wine cellar for an Internet connection seems like overkill, consider the possibilities for the pampered homeowner. You're planning a dinner for eight important guests and want the perfect robust red to go with filet mignon. Today, you might look up a spreadsheet wine program on the PC, scratch down the rows where you've stored Caber-nets, Bordeaux, or Barolos, and head down to the cellar with paper in hand.
In the home with the eSommelier wine management system, the computer lives in the wine cellar, as a touchscreen monitor that houses an all-in-one PC. You can search a 1,000-bottle wine collection in seconds by sorting through the collection by varietal, country of origin, color, or year and get a list of all wines ready to drink now. For special guests, search for wines with the highest ratings from respected wine reviewers. The system comes bundled with some 140,000 wine listings from Wine Spectator magazine.
Add a $1,000 scanner to the $8,000 PC, and homeowners can scan in bottles when they bring home a case or two. When they pull a bottle from the cellar, they can deduct the amount from the log to keep inventory accurate. When running low on a favorite bottle, they can place a note to order more. If shipping laws allow, they can punch a few keys and send an online order to a favorite wine merchant.
Users make selections from a menu-based interface using on-screen buttons that help guide the search. The interface follows the model of other home control functions for operating HVAC, lights, spa control, and entertainment. With its onboard RS-232 jack and support from AMX and Crestron, eSommelier can pop up as another control feature on home management touchscreens throughout the house. That way, homeowners can look up the location of the bottle they want using the kitchen touchscreen before heading down to the chilly cellar. And because eSommelier packs Ethernet jacks, it can be wired into the home PC network. Users could even access the inventory over the Internet while traveling in Tuscany to see if there's room for a few more cases of Sangiovese. Rack-mountable eSommelier units are available for integration with home control systems.