Many thanks to the Prime Living team, we thoroughly enjoyed working on the Grape Escape article.
Read the full magazine issue here.
It was a pleasure contributing my passion for wine cellars as an author of a Featured article in the May/June 2013 issue of Simply the Best.
We recently completed a 4,000+ bottle wine cellar in Princeton NJ. The wine cellar was made out of 100% natural Cherry wine racks, slate floor, double Mahogany doors, and (2) ultra-quiet J&C ductless split cooling systems. This was a complete build out which was on time, on budget, and a complete custom wine cellar.
Watch the video below for a tour of this Princeton wine cellar.
Joe and Curt were featured in an interview on Wine with Me, a Fox Business show with Tracy Byrnes. See more about the segment (“Why custom wine cellars are the new Lamborghini”) at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/5/prweb10684539.htm or the PDF : http://www.prweb.com/pdfdownload/10377829.pdf
Thanks so much to Megan Willett from Business Insider for mentioning our work with Leslie Alexander.
Read the full story here:
Gregory Dal Piaz is one of the most influential people in the wine world. He is the Editor in Chief for Snooth which is considered one of the top sites for wine. Let’s catch up with Gregory.
Please tell me about Snooth:
Snooth has really been a moving target over the years. We started out as a wine comparison shopping site, a function that remains core to our business, but we’ve added many features that has made us much more than that. Today we can offer our users a personalized experience, telling them when wines they’re looking for are on sale, offering them seamless integration with our iPhone app that lets them add tasting notes and wines to their cellars from wherever they are. In addition we publish a daily newsletter that touches on all the things that are important to winelovers, such as reviews of new release wines as well as retrospective tasting, wine and food pairing guides, and travel tips.
How many wines are in Snooth’s database?
I don’t know for sure but it’s well over 1 million.
Why would Snooth be a valuable asset to our cellar collectors?
Snooth can be valuable to just about anybody interested in wine. The integration with our iPhone app is the key to our future. Everybody is doing things on the go these days, and the ability to add notes to your cellar, and check your wines, and see your previous reviews along with the reviews of others and the top critics scores is a great resource that can help you manage your cellar. Another great feature is our deals email. You select the wines, and the price points and we show you which wines are on sale each week. It’s a great way to discover new wines and pick up your favorites when they go on sale.
Favorite wine, region, and why?
Barolo, no doubt. Traditional produced Barolo evolves magically. There are so many layers to the nose and the palate, while being a challenge sometimes, just keeps me interested. All that tannin and acidity makes the wines exciting to drink, and they remain affordable, at least for the moment.
Hardest part of your job?
Writing every day. It sounds like fun, tasting wine and writing about it, but writing can be a challenge. There are some days when the words just don’t come and you need to be prepared for that.
Can you talk about the importance of cellaring wine?
A really good question, and for many people it’s not that important. You have to be interested in the wines that truly reward cellaring to fully appreciate the magic that happens in the bottle over the course of a decade or three. For me though a properly aged wines is so much more than what is in the bottle. It’s a historical time capsule full of the history of a region within the bottle, and a marker for my life. I can remember buying most for the bottles in my cellar, and just being surrounded by them fills me with happy thoughts when I’m rummaging around down there.
A tricky question. Surprisingly you could say that California’s North Coast is up and coming sine they have made some spectacularly disappointing wines over the past decade or so. A lot of winemakers have figured things out recently and I’m seeing more restraint there, which is something I applaud If you’re looking for real underdogs then Brazil would have to top my list. they’re producing some impressive cool-climate European styled wines down there, Merlot in particular, and are worth watching. Another surprising up and comer would be Portugal for their table wines. Their wine industry has suffered through two decades of benevolent neglect, and we are now just waking up to the fact that they have some great indigenous grapes producing wines in what I would call the classic European table wine style, which if you haven;t guessed yet i am a fan of.
If I have a question about wine…whom do I ask and will it be answered on Snooth?
I’m the resident wine guy so you would ask me and I’d love to answer you on Snooth.
Tell us about the Forum:
We have a lively and welcoming forum that is a blend of novice and oenophile all united by their love of wine. A small core of regular users generate a lot of chat, greeting new users and answering most questions before I can get there.
How did you get into the business?
I came from the restaurant industry, 16 years in it. I floated around for a few years before landing a job with Astor Wines here in NYC. I was fortunate to have the opportunity and became the Wine Director at Astor before moving on to Snooth.
Wine and cheese is the best because?
Umami and complexity.
Tell me about your Northern Italy experiences:
I spent every summer growing up in a small farming village in trentino, norther Italy. it was like stepping back in time and helped form who I became. In particular in introduced me to wine at a very young age, I bought my face case of wine when I was 10 years old, and instilled in me a lifelong passion for wine and simply prepared food that takes advantage of farm freshness.
Two true standouts for me are jerked chicken and lighter styled Petit Sirah and old Barolo with grilled octopus. weird I know but they work.
My friends Robbie and Mark. I’d rather get drunk and laugh with them than have to think about saying something interesting with people more interesting than I.
State of the wine world?
It was the best of times it was the worst of times. We’re really in the middle of things and I don’t know how we’re going to look when we come out of them. Increasing prices on the top wines, a glut at the bottom, decreasing wine consumption in the historical wine drinking capitols of the world, and climate change are all taking a toll on the status quo that we’ve been relatively comfortable with. I have sympathy for folks getting into wine today. It’s much more complex and vastly more expensive than when I really started diving in some 30 years ago. One of my biggest concerns is that people today can’t taste the greatest wines on earth because they’re too expensive. I don’t think it’s that important to drink these wines with any regularity but i do think it’s important to know the potential of Pinot Noir in Burgundy, or Nebbiolo in Barolo if you want to have a complete understanding of the various wines and terroirs that make up the world’s great wine regions. It’s up to us to help out. A little wine philanthropy is all it takes. All we need to do is to share a few bottles with the passionate young enthusiasts out there. That should help to put things right!
See more doors like this in a slideshare presentation about custom wine cellar doors:
One of my favorite programs is Wine with Me (Tracy Byrnes) who I have admired for years on Fox Business. We both found Tracy to be energetic, engaging, and very easy to talk to.
Please check out our recent interview on Fox News.
When it comes to lamb, the retailer Sokolin recommends Syrah. Read a recipe for Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Gigante Bean Cassoulet and Lamb Jus – and a suggested listed of fine Syrah wines here.
Got a wine pairings suggestion? Send them in and we will feature your ideas!
See the video of our complete wine cellar designed in a home in Old Tappan, NJ:
New Jersey Custom Wine Cellar – in Old Tappan, NJ
Dr. Konstantin Frank ignited the “Vinifera Revolution” a movement that forever changed the course of wine growing in the Finger Lakes and the United States. Dr. Frank’s vision, knowledge and determination are credited with elevating the New York wine industry from a state of happy mediocrity to a level that today commands world attention.
Frederick Frank, took over leadership of the winery in 1993 and expanded production with the introduction of a value brand, Salmon Run, which is in honor of the majestic landlocked Salmon and beautiful Keuka Lake. Fred’s business degree from Cornell University and his study of viticulture and enology in Germany helped prepare him to take over the family business. Under Fred’s leadership the winery’s production and amount of medals earned has increased greatly and he looks forward to one day turning over the reins to his daughter, Meaghan Frank, who hopes to continue as the fourth generation of Franks at the winery.
Lets catch up with Frederick.
Talk to us about the importance of cellaring wine:
You guys (J&C) do such an outstanding job so that people can age their wine more gracefully and enjoy them in a nice setting. We have been blessed with celebrating our 50th anniversary we have a wine cellar going back to 1962 and were always amazed how well these cool climate wines age over the
years…even the whites such as riesling and chardonnay because in our cool climate the natural chemistry is that the wines have a higher acidity and a lower PH and so typically that’s an ideal aging formula. The riesling especially has flavors that develop over the years and produces a more complex style of wine that can be paired with more heartier dishes. So once again we want to thank J&C and the wonderful service you deliver to all of your clients.
Please tell us about your grandfather:
The best description was a real pioneer. Dr. Frank and his family arrived in the United States in 1951. After a brief stay in New York City, Dr. Frank, a professor of plant sciences who held a Ph.D. in viticulture, moved upstate to take a position at Cornell University’s Geneva Experiment Station. He had the perfect background for cold weather winemaking…he set out to prove the industry and the experts wrong (about wine growing in NY). He then met Charles Fournier the French traine
d winemaker at Goldseal which at the time was NY’S premier wine company. He asked for an opportunity to grow Vinifera in NY and within a few years he was hired on the spot and was very successful. Then a few years later he bought his own vineyard site which is just down the road and so our first vintage was 1962. Over the years we have done many verticals and the experts are always amazed how well these wines age. When he started in NY there were on a dozen wineries, now there is well over 300+.
Tell us about the vines:
Ours are amongst the oldest in the United States because they were planted in the late 50′s on the proper root stock (avoiding the phylloxera vastatrix) and so that’s a great resource we have which helps contribute to the quality of our wine. This past year was our
50th anniversary and we had our best year ever as far as awards winning 79 gold medals. For example at the San Fran Wine Chronicle wine competition which is the largest in the US with over 5,500 entries our Gewürztraminer took best white wine…which really goes to show the quality potential of these old vine vineyards here with the cool climate in the Finger lakes. The US is evolving as a wine nation, we don’t have the 1000+ years like Europe does but what we do have here is a variety of climates and soil. All 50 states have wineries now its not just California anymore, and each area is exploring what works best with its characteristics and soil.
We are excited about the Finger Lakes in general, but especially Dr Franks. I am the 3rd generation, and my daughter Megan is studying wine in graduate school in Australia so a 4th generation is around the corner!
Tell me about the Geisenheim Institute in Germany:
I graduated from Cornell in 79 and back then they didn’t have many wine classes so I worked for Banfi to get some sales experience…then I wanted to get back to production so I attended Geisenheim which is one of premier wine schools in Europe. When I finished there I went back to Banfi to start vineyard operations for them on Long Island which I did for 10 years, then in 93 my dad Willie was in hospital and asked that you have to come back to the family winery so I moved my family back and we worked together for 13 years. He passed away in 2006 so I added to my responsibilities, we have a great team at Dr Frank…our winemakers have studied in Australia,Germany,California and they really get the best out of our cool climate grapes. Vineyards are managed by another grandson Eric Volz my cousin, and he insures we get the best fruit to make these quality wines. He took over from his father Walter which kept everything in the family.
Tell me about Salmon Run:
It was a label I introduced in the mid 90′s which became our value label. This is a younger vineyard with bigger yields that allows us to pass on the savings to the consumer. Salmon Run, which is in honor of the majestic landlocked Salmon and beautiful Keuka Lake, which is so clean people use it for drinking water.
Favorite pairing and why?
There would be alot more problems in the world and people would have a lot less enjoyment!
Best value in the world?
Without a doubt the Finger lakes…most of our award winning wines are $15 or less! We are less then 4 hours away from NYC and NJ please come see us, we don’t even charge for our tastings!
Read some pairing suggestions and a recipe for a spring seafood meal from Sokolin, one of our a favorite partners.
Here, we find some suggestions by Doug Gulija, of The Plaza Café in Southampton, NY., and Christopher Kiegiel, a certified Sommelier.
Read some suggested wines to go with this meal – and a recipe here.
Sokolin, a fine wine retailer, has stepped up to provide some great pairing ideas in response to our Pairings challenge.
Check out this grilled pizza recipe – and three options to choose from in Sokolin’s blog
CellaRaiders is a tremendous resource for acquiring wines. CellaRaiders is in the business of buying wine collectors cellars, either partial or complete. People sell their wine for many reasons; tastes change, the need to liquidate their investment, estate planning, financial difficulties, downsizing. You name it, the reasons are myriad.
The bottom line is, the secondary market is a great place to find older wines at prices that rival auction, without waiting or the risk of losing the wine to a higher bidder. I take great pains to make sure that what I buy has been properly cellared. I don’t want to drink, nor do I want to sell, poorly cellared wine.
A quick note about the site itself. THE INVENTORY ON THE WEBSITE IS REALTIME. As each collection is added to the site, as each bottle(s) is sold, the site is automatically updated. Once a transaction online is completed, the inventory automatically adjusts. Unless the data is input incorrectly, what you see on the site, is what is actually there. The site is a full eCommerce website, which means the best way to purchase is to log onto your account, and buy whatever you desire.
Please check CellaRaiders.com before your next purchase – we think you will be happy if you do!
In building wine cellars across the country, one of my favorite destinations is Jacksonville/Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Having attended both Bolles and Bishop Kenny High Schools during my 15 years in Amelia Island, it’s great to see the amazing progress and maturing that has happened in J-Ville. When I moved down to Jacksonville in 1984, there was the Florida-Georgia football game preceded by “the largest cocktail party in the world” in the parking lot…and that was about it. The next big event was The Jacksonville Landing, pro football (the Jags), and Ragtime’s.
Ever since, Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra have had an incredible growth, and with that great restaurants and now many wine shops. Some of my favorite spots are Matthew’s in San Marco, and Aqua Grill and Nineteen in Ponte Vedra. The wine shops that stand out are Tim’s in Ponte Vedra, W-90 and of course Total Wine in JAX.
Florida has always been one of the better states for building wine cellars, with Jacksonville being one of our top markets in the last few years. We have added two local sales reps to help with build-outs, project management, and of course sales. Our latest project in Ponte Vedra Beach is in the initial design and build-out stage. It will have a very nautical theme (hence the porthole), full floor to ceiling glass, located just 20′ from the pool and with an incredible view of the Atlantic Ocean. Here are a couple of photos of the wine room and its amazing view!
We recently finished building these custom wine racks for a client in Aspen, CO. The racks were built here and then shipped out to be installed in the home.
American Walnut is one of my favorite woods to work with. In the past year or two we have been seeing its popularity rise once again. It is a very hard wood which makes it perfect for the wine cellar environment. Walnut is one of the few American species planted as well as naturally regenerated. The wood develops a rich patina that grows more lustrous with age.
Our recent project, a wine cellar in Aspen, Colorado, was built from American Walnut. The homeowner was sent several wood species but very quickly chose the walnut.
The walnut wine racks are built into brick which is a perfect balance between the stone and wood. The grains and colors in the walnut are stunning and can be seen on some of the close ups provided.
The wine cellar itself is home to well over 1,000 bottles with pull-out drawers across the entire bottom half of the cellar for ease of case bin storage.
The wine cellar was a referral from Dave Sokolin, one of our close partners and one of his customers home in a very exclusive home in the Aspen area.
From hard-to-get exotic woods, metals, or specific custom solutions, J&C is here to design, build and impress
Doors – glorious doors!
We incorporate gorgeous, handcrafted doors into our wine cellar designs – they help to set the stage, as well as insure security and temperature controls for our clients’ previous wine collections. We have compiled a video portfolio of some of the wine doors we have used in our projects. Enjoy!
Or click on the link to video:
As the popularity of Houzz continues to rise so does the efforts of Joseph and Curtis Wine Cellars in all aspects of our designs. Our latest wine cellar depicts how we advance a specific design (or even a photo) and turn it into your own masterpiece.
Old Tappan, NJ is our project location and it was a complete build out. The owner had a vision in mind based on two particular photos, one from Houzz, and one from our wine cellar gallery. Our blog, Houzz, and cellar photos are constantly updated to provide our readers with as much content as possible to assist in all of your cellar decisions.
The homeowner wanted a stone display wall with a double deep granite table top which he found on Houzz. We built two columns on each side for the granite to sit in with the remainder of the columns dressed in stone.
The back wall is stone tile which was trimmed out in mahogany to complete the wood and stone design. The case bin display below the granite is double deep (25″) and can stock 20+ cases of wine or bulk storage. The wine room has magnum horizontal displays (both large and small), diamond bins, and our Joseph & Curtis wine racks which fit most any 750 ml bottle on the market. The cellar holds 2000+ bottles with the ability to add a tasting or storage table in the center of the room (holding an additional 3,000 bottles).
The wine racks have a water based lacquer clear finish which seals and protects the wood for years to come and helps to eliminate any smell contamination. The “speak easy” style entrance is a gorgeous and fun way to create interest and intrigue behind the door and the coded entry allows only those you wish to enter. The wine room was capped off with a distressed plaster paint finish on the ceiling for a classic Tuscan look.
The project took about 2 1/2 months start to finish and provided the homeowner with a wine room design that surpassed his initial vision and more. Our client had shopped several internet-based companies all of which used outside sales reps, outside contractors, and could not execute most of the custom work his choices demanded.
Our in-house design team was able to take two photos, add special custom features and create what was considered a wine cellar masterpiece, on time and on budget. That’s the unique difference between on-line and custom design by Joseph and Curtis Wine Cellars.
One of the hottest trends in the wine storage industry is first or main floor wine cellars. This particular wine cellar replaced a kitchen pantry. The homeowner in Saddle River, NJ wanted access to his wine collection without having to travel to his basement. The main wine cellar will be in the basement but the upstairs cellar stores 500+ bottles.
Houzz has honored Joseph & Curtis as a favorite wine cellar designer and builder. See the announcement here (http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/Custom-Wine-Cellars/prweb10377829.htm) or the PDF: http://www.prweb.com/pdfdownload/10377829.pdf