Archive for March, 2013

A Vintage Cellars Recipe: Cabernet Sauvignon Short Ribs with Polenta

March 29th, 2013 No comments

braised short ribs and polentaThe following is a delicious recipe courtesy of Christopher Noel, a Wine Cellar Specialist at Vintage Cellars.

This family recipe is the perfect way to slow cook short ribs to tender perfection, and it features a whole bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon!

As a side dish, Christopher has also shared his Creamy Gorgonzola Polenta recipe. Garlic mashed potatoes or any of your favorite starch sides will also pair well with these delicious slow-cooked ribs. Bon appetit!

Suggested Wine Pairings: 2007 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel

Cabernet Sauvignon Short Ribs:

5 Pounds of short ribs bone in

4 table spoons of olive oil

3 carrots chopped & peeled

2 whole yellow onions

2 celery stalks

3 bay leaves

5 sprigs of thyme

2 sprigs of rosemary

2 pinches of oregano

5 sprigs of chopped flat leaf parsley

1 head of garlic finely chopped

Kosher salt


Old Bay Seasoning

1 Can of tomato paste

1 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon

3 Cups of beef stock


1) Preheat oven for 350 degrees. Season meat generously with Old Bay seasoning pepper and Kosher salt.
2) Heat Dutch oven with 2 table spoons of olive oil.
3) Brown ribs on all sides, then set them aside.
4) Use additional 2 table spoons of olive oil if needed and sauté onions/carrots garlic and celery until onions are brown and tender. While vegetables sauté, season them with 2 table spoons of old bay and add in 1 table spoons of tomato paste and 2 table spoons of all-purpose flower.
5) Once stirred, add wine, beef stock and ribs until ribs are covered along with all herbs and bring to a slight boil. Reduce heat and cover with lid. Put into oven for 2.5 to 3 hours until tender.
6) Strain gravy and skim off fat as needed. Add additional seasoning to gravy if needed and drizzle over ribs.

Creamy Gorgonzola Polenta:

1 cup of Gorgonzola cheese

2 Tablespoon unsalted butter

2 Tablespoon olive oil

2 Teaspoon freshly minced spring garlic

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

1-1/2 cups milk

4 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup instant polenta

Kosher Salt and black pepper to taste


1) In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat.
2) Add the garlic, and sweat for about 2 minutes, but don’t let the garlic brown.
3) Add the cream, milk and chicken broth and increase the heat to high. Let the broth simmer for 5 minutes.
4) Turn the heat back to medium. Whisking constantly, pour the polenta in a thin stream into the simmering liquid. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the polenta starts to thicken.
5) Turn the heat off, and add the cheese. The heat from the burner should keep the polenta cooking; stir until all of the cheese is melted. Adjust the flavor with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately with short ribs, drizzled in any leftover sauce.

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Featured Project: Contemporary La Costa Wine Cellar

March 25th, 2013 No comments

Curious about the process of building a wine cellar start-to-finish? Today we’re showcasing a new 800 bottle contemporary wine cellar we built in La Costa, California. The client, Don, presented us with a challenge: convert a study in his new home into a wine cellar with a unique design. Read on to find out how we did it.

custom wine cellar with vintageview wine racks

The Client

Don started collecting wine about six years ago and developed a love for California cabs. He began taking yearly wine tasting (and buying) trips, and wanted to start coming back with more wine but had nowhere to store it. It was time to get serious about his collection. He began his search for a wine cellar builder, came across Houzz and found Jake and Vintage Cellars’ work.

The Space

Don sent Jake a look at the model for his new home and explained that he wanted to convert the study into a cellar. He also wanted to be able to easily pick out a bottle visually, so the labels had to be prominently displayed.  Jake drew up a couple of designs, and came up with one that suited Don perfectly: a contemporary space completely different from your standard wine cellar.

The Project

Since the original room was a study, it wasn’t built for the challenges of storing wine in climate-controlled conditions. Jake and his team re-insulated the walls to ensure that the new cooling system would perform at its peak. They designed a custom cabinet to seamlessly fit the study’s curved wall. They installed a Vintage View wine racking system that displayed the majority of his collection labels-out, making it easy for him to locate the perfect bottle for a dinner party or cozy night at home. Their 800-bottle racking system also left space for storing larger bottles, and shelf-style racks below for storing bottles in larger quantities.  Lastly, Jake recommended Don use a door made to face outdoors in the cellar to keep the room insulated.

Jake and his team finished off the project with a central bar area, complete with wine artwork. Though Don never imagined himself lingering in the cellar, at the behest of his friends, he now finds himself turning off the cooling system for an hour at a time so that he and his guests can relax there! What was originally intended as a study is now a beautiful space that functions not only as a place for storing Don’s growing collection, but also as a conversation-starter and gathering space.

Click to enlarge each image.

Wine Dispensing Best Practices

March 12th, 2013 No comments

WineKeeper’s Magnum 8 Bottle

You found that perfect wine while tasting at a sun-soaked vineyard years ago. You carefully carried a bottle home and placed it in your wine cellar. You monitored the temperature and humidity. You researched and thought about when the right time to open it. Finally, tonight’s the night: it’s time to uncork that bottle and at long last, enjoy the wine inside. But here’s the rub: you don’t want to down the whole precious bottle in one night. How do you enjoy the wine over a few days without losing that taste you’ve worked so hard to build?

Anyone who’s left a bottle out on the counter or in the refrigerator knows that the wine just doesn’t taste quite as good the next night. Can you save your wine without losing taste? The answer is yes: Your just need a wine dispenser.

Wine dispensers are devices designed to preserve wines. They store wines at appropriately cool temperatures, and keep oxygen from coming in contact with the liquid inside the bottle. You’ve probably seen wine dispensers used at restaurants and bars. But wine dispensers are available for home use, too.

One wine dispensing system we recommend is the WineKeeper. WineKeepers work by replacing the oxygen in the open bottle with nitrogen, a gas that doesn’t react with wine. Meanwhile, they hold bottles in a refrigerator specifically calibrated to the right temperature to preserve the wine. To use the system, you uncork the wine, insert the dispenser’s stopper faucet, and plug in the gas. You’re ready to pour a perfect glass.

WineKeeper offers a wide variety of dispensers. If you’re a restaurant or bar owner, you might be interested in something like their 8-bottle model, available in all kind of finishes from oak to stainless steel, and customizable with features like chrome faucets and a door lock. This model has different temperature zones for white and red wines, making it simple to keep each at its correct temperature.

If you’re a home enthusiast, you might be more interested in WineKeeper’s 4-bottle model, called the Napa. Though smaller, this model uses the same nitrogen preservation technology and advanced refrigeration system, and has two separate compartments for wine and red wines.

Whether you need a commercial or personal model, WineKeepers will keep opened bottles of wine fresh for weeks, so that you never waste that second half of the bottle again.