Archive for August, 2011

When the Lights Go Out: Keeping Your Wine Safe in Hurricanes & Other Power Outages

August 31st, 2011 No comments

Road Damage from Hurricane Irene (image from

Residents of the East Coast recently experienced the wrath of Hurricane Irene.  For the fortunate individuals who did not incur serious property damage and flooding, there were other issues to contend with: power outages.  Some storms can leave areas without power for days, meaning your wine cooling units will not operate.  And who wants to see a multi-thousand dollar investment ruined because of a power outage?  Aside from hooking your wine cooling units up to a generator, which is an option only if your personal survival is not dependent upon the same generator, there are a few things you can do to keep your wine safe (if you can still access your cellar!)  If you own a wine cabinet, like the Vinotheque Wine Reservoir, or a  N’Finity two temperature cooling unit, obtain a large block of dry ice and, while wearing work gloves, wrap it in clear cellophane (plastic wrap.)  Position it just above the top of the unit, and your wine will remain cool for about two days.  If most of your bottles are racked and you don’t have a wine cabinet, choose your most valuable wines and stand them upright in a large cooler or plastic storage tub.  Fill the container with ice.  Drain and re-ice as necessary. (Standing the bottles upright is okay in this emergency situation.  It helps minimize water/ice damage to labels, and also keeps the corks from being exposed to a fast temperature change.)  If your wines do happen rise above their typical storage temperature, they will age a bit quicker than anticipated.  This may mean that some will be ready to drink much sooner.  Keep this in mind when restocking them after the disaster, and consider using bottle tags to mark any questionable wines.  This way, you’ll remember to enjoy them before it’s too late.

Wine Review: Stray Dog Zinfandel 2006

August 29th, 2011 No comments

What a name! Stray Dog Zinfandel, though it may be a fairly new name, is crafted by a man who’s been producing quality wine for 20+ years, Mark Gendron, who recently sold JanKris winery (founded in 1990.) Mark currently owns JK Estates, and the Wildfire Cellars brand. (Stray Dog Zinfandel is released with the JK Estates label.)

Stray Dog’s interesting, earthy nose contains aromas of wild berries, blackberries, raspberries, walnuts, chocolate, slight tar, and a note of grass. On the tongue, blackberries and black cherries dominate, but this wine is not sweet like other clichéd, “jammy” Zins. In fact, its taste and body are more akin to a good Merlot than a “typical” Zin. The finish, long, powerful, and filled with black cherry, is quite striking and, again, a bit uncharacteristic of traditional Zins. All of this, coupled with good acidity and adequate tannins, make this a wine worth trying. (This wine also took home the Silver Medal at the World Wine Championships.) Plus, Stray Dog Zinfandel paris well with pork, chicken, various seafood dishes, and can even be served with chocolate desserts. With such versatility, and a unique personality, Stray Dog Zinfandel 2006 is surprisingly inexpensive. Take home a bottle of Stray, today, and give it a whirl!

Jake Austad to Attend 3rd Annual Trump Wine & Beer Festival

August 27th, 2011 No comments
Trump Wine and Beer Festival Poster

The 3rd Annual Trump Wine & Beer Festival

What’s Donald Trump’s favorite wine?  We’ll soon be able to ask Jake Austad!  Remember Jake?  (He’s the guy who toured California’s wine country earlier this year, giving Vintage Cellars fun updates about his travels and tastings!)  Well, the same Jake Austad is now going to be representing Vintage Cellars at the 3rd Annual Trump Wine & Beer Festival this Sunday from 12:00 to 5:00 P.M.  Held at the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles, CA, the list of represented wineries, breweries, and additional exhibitors is quite impressive!  In addition to live entertainment and food concessions, general admission also includes unlimited wine and beer sampling.  Mmmmm…  Plus, a portion of the proceeds will benefit two worthy organizations: the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, and the Peninsula Committee Children’s Hospital.  If you’re nearby, check it out!  We can’t guarantee you’ll meet Donald Trump, but we’re pretty confident you’ll be able to strike up a conversation with Jake Austad.

Easy Port Wine Sauce

August 26th, 2011 1 comment

Though a perfect addition to any winter dinner, this easy-to-make port wine sauce recipe is ideal for those later, cool days of summer–those days when you can “sense” that fall is just around the corner!

You’ll need a bottle of your favorite port wine, 1 tablespoon butter, 2 tablespoons chopped shallots, 1/2 cup of mushrooms (thinly-sliced), 1 tablespoon of cream, 1/2 cup of beef or chicken stock, thyme, rosemary, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.

In a deep frying pan, melt the butter. Sauté the mushrooms and shallots over medium heat. When done, add about 1/2 a cup of port wine, plus the other ingredients listed above: cream, beef or chicken stock, and a pinch of thyme, rosemary, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir well, and reduce heat to low once the mixture boils. Simmer, while stirring occasionally, until your main dish is almost fully-cooked, then remove the sauce from heat for 2-4 minutes. (Sauce will naturally thicken.) Drizzle your port sauce liberally over your main dish, and even side dishes, and serve. Watch for smiles, and listen for “yummy” sounds! This sauce makes a delightful companion to almost any dish with beef, chicken, pork, veal, turkey, goose, bass, figs, eggplant, and (for those of you who have overcome your childhood aversion) Brussels sprouts! Enjoy this sauce with a glass of your favorite port now, as a precursor to the colder months ahead.

Port wine sauce with veal and assorted vegetables

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Wine Review: Schmitt Söhne Riesling Qualitätswein 2009

August 24th, 2011 No comments

This little guy’s not bad! And by “little guy” I mean the wine, though the wine’s “mascot” happens to be an adorable, little German man.

This good-value, summertime sipper proved exceptionally clear, with a shimmery, pale-yellow color. With an aroma of sufficient intensity, though a little plain, scents of lemon, berry, slight pear, apple, and honeysuckle became more pronounced as the wine opened. Though light-bodied and lean, the wine tasted pleasantly crisp with pronounced, lip-smacking sweet flavors of apple and pear. Though not a complex wine, this inexpensive, yummy delight (less than $10 a bottle) is well-balanced, easy to drink and, just as promised by the sign held by the little guy on the label, “will work with food.” The wine’s crispness allows it to pair easily with chicken, fish, pork, ham, salads, spicy summertime dishes and, of course, desserts, making it ideal for summertime picnics. This wine was an affordable summertime gem I’m glad I picked up! (In fact, I may pull over for a few more bottles the next time I’m out and about.)

Meet Our New Custom Cellar Design Request Form!

August 22nd, 2011 No comments

Custom Wine Cellar Design

Have you always dreamed of having your own wine cellar? Or, if you’re new to collecting, is your cabinet filling up faster than you expected? It might be time to look into building a custom wine cellar—and Vintage Cellars is the exact right place to come.

Use the new Custom Cellar Design Request form, easily accessible from our Custom Wine Cellar Design page, to tell us all about your dream wine cellar. You’ll need to have an idea about the size of your collection, your desired cooling system, and your budget, as well as the intended location of your wine cellar. Once we have all of your information, we will contact you about your cellar design. We will do our best to meet your budget needs and timeline by incorporating our racking kit styles into your design.

Just look for this button (or just click this one!):

Custom Cellar Design Request Button

And get ready to discuss the luxury custom wine cellar you’ve been wishing for!

Corkbin Version 2.0.2

August 19th, 2011 No comments

Almost a year ago, we wrote a blurb about Corkbin, an easy-to-use app that lets you make tasting notes and share them with your friends.  Originally for the iPhone, the app now works with all iPhones, iPod Touches (iOS 3.0 or later), and Android phones. The latest version supports new features for friending: “share your wines with your friends and see what they think.” 

If you’ve ever had a really good wine, but later on forgot what it was, Corkbin is for you!  With Corkbin, simply take a picture of a wine you want to remember, jot down a note about it, and (if desired) share it with your friends!  Copies of your wine images and notes remain in your mobile device, so you’ll be creating an ever growing visual record of all the wines you’ve tried.

The latest Corkbin versions boast improved graphics (with support for the Retina display), improved usability and consistency of the user interface, new privacy features, stability, and more.  At the time of this blog, the current version is 2.0.2.  For 99 cents, Corkbin v.2.0.2  is available in both Apple’s App Store and the Android Market.  Cheers to that!


Corkbin Screenshots

Rogar Champion Pewter-Plated Wine Openers

August 17th, 2011 No comments

Pewter Wine Opener w/ Evergreen Granite Handle and Table Stand

Want to add a bit of elegance to your wine tasting or dinner presentation?  Consider a gorgeous Rogar Champion Pewter-Plated Wine Opener with Evergreen Granite Handle & Table Stand.  These luxurious wine openers, first produced in 1897, are still as popular today.  In fact, their timeless design, faithfully copied from the original model, is unique in the fact that it “works” splendidly well with both traditional and modern interiors.  What is more, the base, made from die-cast metal, is available in three finishes to match your furnishings.

For another version of this classic, consider the Rogar Champion Pewter-Plated Wine Opener with White Wave Granite Handle & Table Stand.

Both of these regal openers come with matching table stands, too, so whether used in the kitchen, den, or dining room, these tasteful and durable openers can be moved easily to add exceptional grace and class to your wine opening.


Drink Wine, Prevent Sunburn?

August 15th, 2011 No comments

According to a recent study conducted by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Barcelona, a compound found in grapes (and grape products) may actually help protect skin cells from harmful UV rays.  Researchers “evaluated the in vitro capacity of several antioxidant polyphenolic fractions from grape, which differ in their degree of polymerization and percentage of galloylation, to protect HaCaT human keratinocytes against UV-induced oxidative damage.”

The result?  Flavonoids in the grapes helped stop the harmful reaction that destroys skin cells triggered by exposure to sunlight.  When exposed to UV rays, the skin activates “reactive oxygen species”  which then oxidize larger molecules.  Like a chain reaction, this eventually activates enzymes that destroy skin cells.  The flavoniods in the grapes, however, reduce the amount of reactive oxygen species in skin cells exposed to the sun’s harmful rays, thus preserving the skin.  “These encouraging in vitro results support further research and should be taken into consideration into the clinical pharmacology of plant-derived polyphenolic extracts as novel agents for skin photoprotection.”  Here is yet another miraculous property of our beloved grapes!  The study can be found in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

drinking wine on the sunny beach

Image courtesy of

Introducing the New WineMaker Wine Racks

August 12th, 2011 No comments

A wine cellar outfitted with WineMaker wine racks.The Vintner Wine Rack Series has always been popular here at Vintage Cellars, but we realized many customers are seeking the most affordable, economical option when it comes to outfitting their wine cellars. Our new WineMaker Wine Rack Series offers many of the same options as the Vintner Series, but at a lower price point.

The WineMaker Wine Rack Kits were created with customization in mind. They are made of Premium Redwood and have a variety of staining options to help you match them to your wine cellar’s current furniture and décor, and they stack easily on top of each other to maximize storage space for a variety of ceiling heights. This helps you create a flawless floor-to-ceiling look, which is both visually appealing and practical.

WineMaker 10-Column Wine Rack with Display Row

They also help you showcase your favorite bottles of wine. Most WineMaker Wine Rack styles come with a display row option, which increases visibility of your prized wine bottle labels. WineMaker’s sheer number of racking and display choices allow you to create a wine cellar that shows off your personal style and taste, all while keeping your wine bottles snug and secure behind the rails’ rounded edges.

If you’re looking for unique, beautiful wine cellar racking and storage that won’t break the bank, Vintage Cellars’ WineMaker Wine Rack Kits are the way to go. Check out our online catalog, or give us a call at 1-800-876-8789 to start designing your wine cellar’s custom interior.