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Archive for February, 2013

Picking the Perfect Wine Credenza

February 27th, 2013 No comments

Many wine lovers face a dilemma. They’d love to start a collection (or have already begun one!), but they don’t have an out-of-the-way space for a wine refrigerator, and they’d rather not put that piece of equipment in their perfectly-decorated dining rooms. What they need is a wine storage solution that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. But does such a thing exist?

Budding wine collectors will be happy to know that the perfect solution does indeed exist. It’s called a wine credenza. A wine credenza is a piece of furniture that also has climate-controlled wine storage. Wine credenzas are often used in the place of a traditional buffet in a dining room. Instead of dishes stored inside, the cupboards are filled with your favorite vintages, aging away under ideal conditions. The top of the wine credenza can be used to display art, serve as a bar area, or hold dishes during gatherings like Thanksgiving.

Don’t have space in your dining room for a wine credenza? Think outside the box. Since wine credenzas don’t take up too much space–they’re only about 30 inches deep, they are also a perfect fit for hallways. Wine credenzas can also work in family rooms…you could even replace your TV stand with one!

From a design standpoint, the best thing about wine credenzas is that they can be completely customized to fit in to your existing decor. For those with traditional taste, there are credenzas like this Provance 3-door credenza from Vinotheque, available in light, medium and dark stains to blend it into your existing furniture. For those with a bolder aesthetic, there is this Vinotheque Boxed Up 4-door credenza, with a wooden exterior mosaic made of traditional wine shipping boxes. (This design would be great in a wine cellar!) For those homes with an industrial feel, try the clean, modern look of this Vinotheque AlumaSteel 3-door credenza.

Besides being beautiful, these wine credenzas really work to store and age your wine properly. Vinotheque credenzas are designed with your growing collection in mind–they all maximize the number of bottles they can hold while minimizing the overall size of the cabinet. These credenzas have top-of-the line cooling systems and insulation, along with UV-resistant glass that blocks harmful rays from damaging your wine. Many of these credenzas can also be made with a front venting option that allows the credenza to be custom-built into existing furniture.

Whatever your style, if you’re a serious collector who is looking for a storage option that will fit seamlessly into your home, a wine credenza might be the right choice for you.

Jake’s Corner: Three Days in Wine Country

February 12th, 2013 No comments

Our very own Jake Austad, master of custom cellar designs, is an expert at touring wine country, and wants to share his tips and tricks. Jake has insider advice on the best vineyards to visit, the best places to eat, and tourist traps to avoid. So pull up a chair, pour yourself a glass of your favorite vino, and hear how an expert does wine country. Check back, because Jake will be blogging regularly in our new “Jake’s Corner” posts.

Day 1:

I would start the morning up north in Calistoga at Chateau Montelena, known almost more for its historical value than for its wines. The winemakers at Chateau Montelena are part of the group that started the Napa Valley wine boom. Tthe first thing I’d do would be to make a noon reservation at Duckhorn (reservations are required). Reserve the estate tasting and tour for a great experience. To learn something a little extra, do the food and wine pairing.

If you managed to resist the food at Duckhorn, I would travel into St. Helena for a late lunch at Brassica (Now called Cindy Pawlcyn’s Wood Grill and Wine Bar). It’s a Mediterranean place that has received rave reviews, and is a personal favorite of mine to boot.  At this point in time, you probably only have time for one more tasting. I would finish at Hall in St. Helena. Since Hall has no appointment needed and stays open until 5:30 PM, you won’t be tied to a tight schedule.  One of Hall’s new releases, a cab, was in the top 10 wines of 2011.

Since I’m a huge Iron Chef geek, I would eat dinner that night at Morimoto. It’s also in the revitalized river walk area in Napa, so if you’re looking to take a stroll before or after your meal, it’s a great place to do so.

Insider tip:  Don’t fall victim to the lure of the Napa Valley Wine Train. This tourist trap has three main pitfalls: 1. Trains are really not that romantic. 2. Unless they have improved the menu dramatically since 2000, the food is awful. 3. The wine list is not that impressive, and what is impressive is so marked up that you can’t bring yourself to drink it.

Day 2:

I would head up the Silverado Trail, especially if it’s a Saturday. The less inexperienced wine tasters will be driving up the 29, so this is a nice way to avoid them. Start the day with a 10AM appointment at Quintessa. It’s a property and vineyard tour, along with the wine caves and a tasting of three or four vintages. Like Duckhorn, it’s appointment-only, so you have to make a reservation in advance. I know the wine are fabulous. It’s also one of the few places in Napa that does estate-grown only. Quintessa is a Bordeaux-style blend that makes only one blended wine every year, so the vintage tasting will be unique.

After that, start heading back to Napa again, and hit Mumm just to clean the palate with some bubbly. It should be time to grab lunch, so I would cut over on Rutherford Road and hit Rutherford Grill for lunch. I love Rutherford Grill, and never miss an opportunity to go. There is a decision to make at this point. Option 1: One more tour at Chappellet, a unique experience that puts you up in the hills, and has some pretty good wine to boot. After a 90-minute tour and tasting, you should have enough time to hit Miner. If you are “toured out,” do Option 2: hit Miner on the way back towards Napa on the Silverado Trial. Most likely, you’ll make a quick visit, since you don’t want to miss your 2:30 tour reservation at Staggs Leap. Again, I’m a sucker for history, and Staggs Leap is another historic winery that started it all and has been around for over 100 years.

After Staggs, your last stop will be Darioush.  This winery doesn’t close until 5PM, and if you have anything left on the palate, they do some great cabs that are always cracking the top 100 wines of the year in the Wine Spectator. Take a nap after before hitting the French Laundry for dinner.  If super-rich French food is to much to stomach, try Coles Chop House or the Napa Valley Grill.

Day 3:

At this point, I’d pack the bags and drive over the mountain to Healdsburg and the Dry Creek Valley. Make a reservation at Charlie Palmer’s place, Hotel Healdsburg. Start at Zichichi and then drive south down West Dry Creek Road (eventually turning into Westside Rd). It’s a small, twisty, windy road but a offers a unique change from the large-cellar, big tour, big tasting rooms in Napa with little cottages and family-owned wineries. I’d go all the way down to Porter Creek Winery a few miles down. You taste their wines in a little cottage, and often, the winemaker is the guy pouring the wines. Porter Creek is also a fully organic place, tends to bottle a lot of grapes that are normally blended (like cab franc).

From there, start making the venture back towards Healdsburg.  Another great stops on the way is Williams Seleym (always a top 100 producer). It’s not a bad idea at this time to go park back at the hotel and walk around the square in Healdsburg. There is Stephen & Walker, which has a fabulous port, and several other places to check out. And if you need to switch to beer, there is a brewing company in the square. This way, you can take a day without reservations or a schedule, and just do whatever you want,  from a simple sandwich lunch to a pastry at the downtown bakery, to Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen for dinner.

Vintage Cellars Wins Customer Satisfaction Award

February 6th, 2013 No comments

Every year, the design website Houzz.com selects from its long list of contractors and designers to award professionals for outstanding customer service. This year, that award went to Vintage Cellars!

Houzz selected Vintage Cellars for its “Best Of Houzz” 2013 award based on our excellent customer reviews given by their users, which number more than 11 million each month. Users rates their experience working with design professionals in 12 categories. The award is meant to honor Houzz professionals who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in customer satisfaction. Fewer than 3% of Houzz professionals received this award.

We at Vintage Cellars put customer satisfaction at the top of our priority list. We take pleasure in bringing your design ideas to life in your custom wine cellar. We believe that we should be the experts in everything from the mechanics of the cooling system to the best type of wine racks out there, so that you can concentrate on the final product. We’re proud of every wine cellar we design, and we’re glad our reviews on Houzz reflect that.

Houzz connects potential customers to designers and contractors in the home design industry. They publish “Ideabooks” that help inspire clients’ visions for great home design projects, in categories like decorating, gardening, color, bathrooms, and iconic homes. Houzz also curates lists of products chosen by experts. Perhaps most importantly, Houzz helps puts potential customers in tough with local pros, facilitating the process of choosing the right person for your project with customer reviews. Contractors and designers can show off their work, join in discussions, and connect directly with home owners.

On Houzz, homeowners can find professionals like Vintage Cellars in the top of their fields. They can choose a professional whose design aesthetic matches their own, and learn more about them by contacting them directly on Houzz to ask questions about their experiences, and evaluate their responses to other questions asked by Houzz community members.

We’re thrilled to have been selected for this honor by Houzz, and we pledge to continue to provide our clients with stellar customer service.

Check us out on Houzz!