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New Cigar Accessories

Date: Mon, Apr 12, 2010 Wine Business

Military Humidors
At Joseph & Curtis we are proud to offer custom engraving for any of our humidors. Whether its text or a custom logo logo engraved on your humidor, Joseph & Curtis can make it happen for you. If you would like a logo engraved, please contact us first so we can arrange for you to email us the image.

We are also proud to announce several new products to our cigar store:

Monolith 800c
The Monolith 800c Series eHumidor is the ideal cigar environment system which regulates temperature and humidity at the touch of a button.


  • Holds up to 800 cigars
  • Temperature adjustable from 41F to 71F
  • Humidity adjustable from 50% to 80%
  • Digital Temp. and Humidity display at the top
  • 2 Slide out racks on top, 1 fixed rack in base
  • Ambient LED light kit
  • 3 Genuine Spanish cedar trays 20"W x 13.625"D x 3.625"H
  • Lock and key
  • Side panels in black finish

Monolith 1200c
The Monolith 1200c Series eHumidor is the ideal cigar environment system which regulates temperature and humidity at the touch of a button.

  • Holds up to 1200 cigars
  • Temperature adjustable from 41F to 71F
  • Humidity adjustable from 50% to 80%
  • Digital Temp. and Humidity display at the top
  • Ambient LED light kit
  • 4 Slide out racks on top, 1 fixed rack in base
  • 5 Genuine Spanish cedar trays 18"W x 15"D x 4.5"H
  • Lock and key
  • Side panels in black finish

Cigar Locker
A Cigar Locker for a Commercial setting is a convenient way to store ones private stash for multiple customers. Cabinets are made so they will fit flush up next to each other in the event more compartments are required.
  • 12 slotted raised panel sectionals for air circulation.
  • 2 slotted raised panel sectionals at the base for extra storage.
  • Lock and key for each sectional.
  • Crown molding at top and bottom.
  • Completely Lined with Premium Kiln Dried Spanish Cedar
  • 2 Interior A/C Outlets
  • Additional Lock Sets Available
  • Available in Cherry or Dark Mahogany Finish

Hydra LG Humidifier

The Hydra® LG Commercial Series Cigar Humidifier is designed to automatically regulate the humidity inside large cabinet humidors up to 16 cubic feet in size. Add up to 3 optional external fans to extend the Hydra's humidification capabilities even further! For smaller capacity humidors, view the HYDRA-SM Personal series.

Lotus 20 - Citadel
  • Triple wind resistant torch flame
  • Single action electric quartz ignition
  • Viewable fuel level window
  • Integrated 8mm cigar punch cutter
  • Pre-filled with premium butane
  • 2 year manufacturer's warranty

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The Passive Wine Cellar

Date: Tue, Mar 30, 2010 Wine Business

As many of us try our best to be the greenest we can be, I am often asked if it is possible to build a green wine cellar? There is no exact way to do this, but here are a few ideas that can help.

Try building your wine cellar in a spot that will require the minimum amount of cooling or even better, no cooling at all. The "passive" wine cellar should be built below ground with as little natural light as possible. Installing a floor vent which draws cooler air from the underground can really help with temperature conditions.

Using natural stone (slate) is a great way to help maintain consistent temperature as well. Other ways you can push the "green" button would be to use re-claimed wood for the wine racks and recycled glass. Further, you may wish to check the wineries you are buying from: are they using wind power, organically grown grapes, certified bio-dynamic wines (no sulfites) or perhaps they ship wines by train. An example would be Osprey's Dominion, who we recently interviewed in one of our popular Q&A interviews - check out the blog to learn how they are using wind mills to power their vineyard.

We are all looking for ways to sustain the planet and to be the best stewards possible, but if you are looking for a perfect 56 degrees for wine storage it would be difficult to achieve in a passive cellar. However, if you are willing to give up a few degrees and some fluctuations in temperature, then a passive cellar just may be the way to go.


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All I Do Is Wine: Q&A with Zita Keeley

Date: Tue, Mar 23, 2010 Wine Business

Over the years Joseph and Curtis have come to form some great relationships both personal and business related. Zita Keeley is one person who fits both of those. She has an amazing passion for wine and anything wine related. Zita offers her talents among a wide variety of wine related subjects: TV pilot, wine school, women for winesense, and the list goes on and on.

Recently, Zita asked me to speak at her Hoboken school for wine about wine storage which I was glad to do. Our passion for building custom wine cellars opens new doors to new friends each and every day.

I found the class insightful, unpretentious, and fun. I hope you will find Zita as interesting as we do.

Now, let's chat with Zita Keeley...

J&C: So tell us about ALL I DO IS WINE.

Zita: Many people laugh when they hear my company name, All I Do is Wine. The name actually came about as an “aha” moment one morning when I woke up. It is probably thanks to my son who kept on complaining to me that all I ever talked about was wine..wine..wine!! It really is a name that captures my love and passion for wine.

J&C: Where did your passion for wine come from?

Zita: I know that I always loved wine but the passion was definitely fueled while living in London, UK for 6 years. During that time I dined out quite a bit (a real “lady who lunched”) and found so many fabulous and affordable wines that I loved. I needed to know more. A friend convinced me to take the wine course at Le Cordon Bleu and that was the beginning of my wine career path. After a fabulous conversation about dessert wines with the Sommelier from one of London’s top French restaurants, I knew for certain I wanted to know more. I continued studying back in NYC and started working with various companies assisting with wine events and tastings. After realizing I did not want to become a Sommelier (not a job for a mom) nor did I want to sell wine the one thing that stuck out for me was how much I liked talking about wine. That is what led to my teaching and consulting. In addition I write a monthly newsletter and my daily blog, “The Wining Woman.”

J&C: Most memorable wine moment?

Zita: One of my most memorable wine moments, of which there are many, was back in London one Thanksgiving meal. Some friends we had invited brought along a visiting guest from France. His contribution to us was 5 bottles of Puligny-Montrachet and some cheese. (What a great guest!) This was the first time I ever tasted Puligny-Montrachet and I was just blown away. We finished all 5 bottles and, to this day, I haven’t found one that has made me gasp the way that one did. (It was also only about $8.00 bottle.. that definitely will make you gasp)

J&C: Favorite place to travel that's wine related?

Zita: I love anywhere that has vineyards. I can be driving through the Finger Lakes and suddenly get goosebumps when I see the sun shining over the vines and the lake. One of my most memorable wine trips has to be my visit to the Rhone Valley. Not only was it my first real vineyard visiting experience but it was the perfect region to truly understand winemaking. The diversity between the North and the South and the beauty of both is inspiring.

J&C: Tell us about your wine tasting classes.

Zita: I started Zita Keeley’s Wine School after living in Hoboken for a while and seeing that there weren’t many wine course offerings in NJ. This course is designed for all aspiring wine enthusiasts. I teach all the basics of wine tasting, including buying and storing wine as well as pairing wine with food. The curriculum delves deeper into wine study as students will also learn how to choose a wine with confidence, how to read a wine list and, naturally, how to enjoy wine.

J&C: Any special guests?

Zita: In the past we have had some special guests with our most recent being Mark Censits, owner of CoolVines wine stores in Westfield and Princeton (partner of Joseph and Curtis). Joseph and Curtis will be guests in 2010 as well.

J&C: When do the classes begin?

Zita: The course is run as a once a week, 6 week program for 2 hours each session. The next course begins on Monday March 1st from 7:00-9:00PM. Classes will be held March 1, 8, 15, 22 and April 5 & 12. (No class on March 29.) All classes will be held at The Melting Pot- 100 Sinatra Drive- Hoboken, NJ. Cost for the entire course is $390 and advance payment/registration is required. Registration form is available at www.allidoiswine.com/WINESCHOOL.html or email info@allidoiswine.com

J&C: Who is the ideal student?

Zita: The ideal student is anyone with a real love of wine who wants to have more confidence and understanding of wine.

J&C: Anything you would like to add about the TV show?

Zita: My newest project is to host an as yet untitled wine lifestyle and contestant based tv show that will be marketed to a specialty cable network by Coalition Films, a Hoboken-based production company that is developing the new show as well as working with reality TV mogul Mark Burnett on a few other fledgling projects. The pilot will be shot in March.

J&C: Please tell us about Women for Winesense.

Zita: I am the founding President of the New Jersey Chapter of Women for Winesense, a national non-profit organization that is the premier wine education and networking organization for wine industry professionals and wine enthusiasts. We have a variety of events throughout the year.

J&C: Any up-coming events?

Zita: Our next event will be on Saturday February 20th where we will be tasting wines served at the White House in celebration of Presidents Week. For more information go to www.womenforwinesense.org and see events calendar. There is also the upcoming Grand Tasting Event in Napa, Ca from Fri April 30-Sunday May 2, 2010. This is an event not to be missed with seminars, tastings and winery visits.

It was a pleasure interviewing our friend, Zita Keeley from All I Do Is Wine. We hope that you enjoyed the Q&A and visit www.allidoiswine.com to learn more about Zita's passion for the wine lifestyle.

Until next blog...


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Osprey's Dominion Wine Q&A

Date: Sun, Feb 28, 2010 Wine Business

Being wine cellar builders as well as wine enthusiasts, we almost always help our clients stock their wine cellars once we are finished with the wine cellar design and construction. We always try to find what types of styles our customers enjoy. Big reds? whites? French, Italian, Cali, but in the last few years I have come to taste an incredible "local" product, and that is the wines from Osprey's Dominion located on Long Island's North Fork.

My initial taste was the 2000 Meritage which simply blew me away. That particular "library" wine has won numerous awards including **BEST IN CLASS** NEW YORK STATE FAIR 2004 **DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL WINNER** 2004 Tasters Guild International / **GOLD** 2004 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition...so it was a no-brainer to approach Osprey for our clients and see if they would like to team up and work with the premier wine cellar company Joseph and Curtis...the answer was a resounding yes.

Without further ado, we are proud to introduce our friends at Osprey's Dominion.

Q. When was Osprey started?

A. 24 acres were planted in 1983.

Q. How big is the vineyard now?

A. 90 acres on 3 farms.

Q. Tell us how the name came about.

A. The Osprey (Aka Fish Hawk) can be seen flying over this area of the North Fork thus the name Osprey's Dominion.

Q. Can someone come and taste the wines?

A. Yes. We have 2 flights available.

Q. What are the different types of wines that Osprey produces?

A. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Carmenere, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sparkling, Port.

Q. I mentioned the 2000 Meritage...what are some of your favorites?

A. Our Fume Blanc (100% Sauvignon Blanc) fermented in oak. I am very excited about the
spring 2010 release of our Carmenere, ODV being the first vineyard on Long Island.

Q. Are there any events coming up at Osprey?

A. Jazz on the Vine in February and March. Ballroom dancing on Feb 20 and March 27.

Q. Please tell us about the wind turbine project?

Osprey’s Dominion Vineyard commissioned Eastern Energy Systems, Inc. to install a 20k wind turbine at their North Fork winery in the Town of Southold. This will be LIPA’s first Farm Service turbine, undertaken through the Backyard Wind Initiative created this year. The wind turbine is expected to produce an estimated 42,802 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year for an annual energy savings of $7,918. The projected total cost of the project is $144,000. A LIPA rebate of $69,401 is anticipated, significantly off-setting the expense for the system. Osprey Dominion Vineyard may further reduce the cost of the system via a Federal tax incentive and by selling the excess electric energy produced back to LIPA.

Q. Does Osprey offer a wine club?

Yes. We offer 15% and 20% discounts throughout the year as well as quarterly shipments/pickups of first release varietals. Check out the Wine Club page on our website for more information.

Q. Please tell us your winter/summer hours.

A. 11-5 Sun-Fri and 6pm on Saturday during the winter. 11-6 Sun - Thur and 9 on Fri
and Sat during the summer.

Q. At Joseph and Curtis we have clients all over the country...does Osprey ship nationally?

A. We ship to all the states that we are legally able to.

Q. Are tours of your vineyard available?

Yes...by appointment.

We would like to thank the folks at Osprey's Dominion for their time, and their friendship. To all of our blog readers and fans, you know we only interview the best in the biz so we implore you to check out Osprey for some excellent wines to add to your collection.


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Home Wine Cellars

Date: Wed, Feb 17, 2010 Wine Business

The days of the wine cellar being banished to the basement are over. Our clients love for wine combined with the entertaining aspects of today’s modern wine cellar, are asking J&C to incorporate designs for a first floor wine cellar. We’re doing conversions of butler pantries, bathrooms, bedrooms and stand alone spaces.

For example, one of our latest custom wine cellars is designed for raw space which was conveniently located next to the family, dining and living room, just steps from the kitchen. Now it’s a stunning wine cellar and destination spot.

The wine cellar features redwood wine racks, cooling system, cathedral ceiling, custom niches for knick-knacks, a mahogany, wrought iron arched door way and a window view to the dining room. The cellar holds over 2,300 bottles. The split cooling system has the coil in the wine cellar. The condensing unit and condensate line are run to the basement.

Homeowners love the feeling of dining with the ambiance of the nearby wine cellar. They also enjoy the convenience of the close proximity of the cellar. As guests arrive, the wine cellar becomes a focal point and guests are excited to tour the new use of space.

It invites you to enter….where you are destined to share not only wine but memories as well

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Heidi Barrett Speaks with Joseph & Curtis

Date: Sat, Feb 6, 2010 Wine Business

When it comes to making wine there are those that make wine...and then there are those that make wine! The name Heidi Barrett may or may not ring a bell with you but it should. Heidi is considered the Babe Ruth of the wine making industry. Heidi began attracting praise at the age of 25, when she helped turn around Buehler Vineyards. She then went on to "cult" status when she created "Maya" a California Cab blend for Dalla Valle which received consecutive 100 point scores from Robert Parker. She then became a superstar with her work at Screaming Eagle, which became the biggest cult cab in the world. Her first vintage was 1992 and became a 100 point wine from Mr Parker. A single bottle of Screaming Eagle fetched $500,000 at the Napa Valley Wine Auction in 2000. Heidi now makes incredible wines under her own label, La Sirena.

Heidi was kind enough to spend some time with Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars. Please enjoy getting to know this wine making legend.

J&C: most kids dream about being a doctor, a fireman, a New York Yankee, etc...was there ever a doubt you would become a winemaker?

Heidi: Sure, I almost became an oceanographer or a marine biologist. I still love all things ocean but get my "fix" with regular scuba trips where I can fish ID my heart out. Plus it's so darn beautiful under there, maybe the most beautiful part of the planet that very few people get to see. La Sirena means "the mermaid" in both italian and spanish so it was a way for me to combine my two passions into the winery name and also reflect the magic element of both.

J&C: being a parent of 2 myself... please tell us about growing up with your parents and how they helped shape your career and passions.

Heidi: Well, with a scientist/winemaker dad and an artist mother it's no wonder I was attracted to winemaking. I spent a lot of time visiting my dad at work in various wineries as a kid. My sister and I both loved being there and we thought it was normal. "Doesn't everyone's dad do this?" We also did a lot of art as kids, something I still do today. My Dad never pushed me into the wine world which I'm thankful for, allowing me to come to it on my own, but we started tasting wine very young, learning flavors and even a bit of chemistry. Winery work became my summer job in high school since who else will hire you when you're a kid except your family? Davis was the obvious choice for college once I had been working in the business and knew I liked it.

J&C: At what age did you find yourself passionate about wine and wine making?

Heidi: Really senior year in High school when I had to buckle down and pick a college was the start but doing internships in both Germany and Australia where I learned so much was very exciting and inspiring. Passion for it builds over time. The more you learn, the better you get, the more fun it is.

J&C: Have you ever worked anywhere else but in/on vineyards?

Heidi: Not really. I was a waitress for a few months doubling up with my cellar crew day job when I first graduated from UCDavis in 1980 and had zero money. We worked 10 hour shifts starting at 6:30AM til 5, then I'd go work at the restaurant til 11.

J&C: Who are your biggest influences?

Heidi: My Dad for sure. I have learned so much from him. I used to talk his ear off to and from work with so many questions when I was working in the cellar. Also Justin Meyer (first hired me out of Davis at Franciscan and Silver Oak), Jerry Luper ( I was his assistant winemaker), and Alfred Hoffmann (Germany-taught me about balance in wine). Also Gustav Dalla Valle- became a close personal friend and a bit of a mentor. I got to help him create his dream and put his brand on the map at the time.

J&C: I happen to know you graduated from UC Davis...memories of that experience?

Heidi: It was a great time of life. Some pretty amazing winemakers came out of my class. I remember Randall Graham always asking a ton of questions. We all made wine in 5 gallon demi-johns in the basement of the wine dept. At that time there was no pilot winery like what they have now. Working in Ann Noble's sensory lab was fun. We all loved Ralph Kunkee for microbiology.

J&C: Do you think its more important (for wine making) school experience or real world hands on experience?

Heidi: I think it's about 50/50. You need the foundation of education but there's nothing like working hands on to get the picture.

J&C: Please tell us about some of the vineyards you have worked for?

Heidi: There have been so many over the years and some interesting winery owners in the mix too. One of my favorite jobs was working with Gustav Dalla Valla, a larger than life character with an amazing zest for life. I'd be at the winery doing routine labwork and he'd stand over my shoulder telling me all these incredible stories of his life. He started the company Scuba Pro, and was a contemporary and competitor of Jaques Cousteau. He had so many adventures , I can't even begin to list them all here. He died in 1995 and I sure miss him. Screaming Eagle was another interesting chapter for me. I was fortunate to be winemaker there from day one in 1992 until it was sold 14 years later in 2006. It was a wild ride to create something like that that was so successful right out of the chute. The hard part was that I set my own bar so high and created the expectation of greatness each year. To keep that quality year after year no matter what the vintage dished out was alot of pressure and certainly a challenge. One of those things where you rise to the challenge being pushed like that with everyone watching for the slightest bobble. When you are at the top, you find out who your true friends are. The sale came as a complete shock to me. So many changes have occured there, it's just not the same little jewel it once was. There are so many stories to share , not sure how much space you have!

J&C: Is there one special quality one needs to be a world class wine maker?

Heidi: Versalility, patience, experience, and attention to detail.

J&C: Since your cult wine "Maya" received 2 100 point scores from robert parker (the 92 and 93) as well record breaking bids at the Napa Valley Wine Auction...as well as a bottle of your 6 liter 92 screaming eagle which sold for $500,000 how do you top that?!

Heidi: I've actually had 5 100's so far and made a number of other wines that I thought had

the potential for that score. It's really one man's opinion on any given day so not something we can control or expect as winemakers. I really try not to focus on the scores, it's certainly nice when you get a good one, but it can also be a big distraction from the task at hand- making the best wine you can, every year. Now I'm working on that same quality with my own La Sirena and a similar blend for the Cab that I used to make for SE.

J&C: Please tell us about La Sirena.

Heidi: La Sirena is my own little winery where I make just the wines that I personally love, Cabernet Sauvignon, of course, Syrah, a fun red blend of 7 varieties called Pirate TreasuRed, and a dry Muscat Canelli called Moscato Azul. I work hard at making the best wines I can each year in small quantities. These are all wines of great depth, purity, personality, and balance made with finesse and alot of experience. We grow some of our own grapes, Cabernet and Syrah and contract the Muscat Canelli from our neighbors vineyard. We work with a few other growers as well who farm specifically for La Sirena to our standards. The winery was founded in 1994

with 200 cases produced the first year. We now make about 2000 a year divided between all the wines, usually making no more than 400-500 cases of each. So, small production wines with a winemaker with a 30 year proven track record equals the real deal, wines of pedigree.

J&C: What does La Sirena mean?

Heidi: The mermaid in Italiian and Spanish.

J&C: Please tell our readers what the average day for Heidi Barrett is like.

Heidi: My days really vary and usually involve many different things all in the same day. Of course it depends on the time of year but right now I do alot of tasting going winery to winery, troubleshooting, working on blends, sometimes doing local wine deliveries, and warehouse which usually involves driving the forklift. Other days are office related, selling wine, working with distribution and setting up wine events, ordering bottling supplies, doing cork sensory trials, my tasting group, bottling, meetings with clients, etc. And this is supposed to be the slow season!

During crush there are almost daily vineyard visits between all my clients, tasting alot of grapes and juices, tasting all fermentors and making adjustments daily, crushing, pressing, filling barrels, some labwork, records, you name it and it's seven days a week then. With each season there are different things going on in the winery so it really varies week to week what I work on. Plus I try to fit in a bit of exercise and my other interests when I can. I haven't watched television in years! I don't think I could fit it in although I do love watching the Olympics so will go to a neighbors house to watch some of that.

J&C: Any passions outside of the wine and vineyard?

Heidi: Many- skiing, scuba diving, art- painting, making jewelry, ceramics, gardening,

flying helicopters (I'm close to getting my license) kayaking, fly fishing, travel.

J&C: Favorite places to travel?

Heidi: Anywhere tropical.

J&C: What is the most pressing issue facing the wine industry?

Heidi: Protecting our appellations. So when it says Napa Valley it IS Napa Valley. And now

we can say Calistoga on the label which is very exciting with the new Callistoga AVA

being accepted.

J&C: Favorite foods?

Heidi: Wild blackberry pie, watermelon, salmon, chocolate (naturally), fresh blueberries,

and roast wild duck with pomegranate sauce.

J&C: You have seen some amazing changes in Napa...what do you feel is the biggest

change in the last 25 years?

Heidi: There have been so many changes I've seen since living here in the late sixties. My

sister and I used to ride our horses to the vet when there were no fences between the vineyards. We've seen so many new wineries spring up and huge changes in viticultural practices, vine spacing and land use rules. We have alot more upscale restaurants and fancy shops in the towns now. It all used to be pretty casual around here. Land prices have gone through the roof for a good acre of vineyard property in the last 25 years. All in all, it has kept it's amazing beauty and is still a great place to call home.

J&C: What's on the horizon for La Sirena and Heidi Barrett?

Heidi: Hopefully, continuing to make even better wines and bringing more notoriety to La

Sirena as some of the best wine in the world. I love it to become the new Screaming Eagle! The wines are just as good, it's just not as famous yet so it's still affordable.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Heidi Barrett, a wine making legend. Please check out La Sirena's website for more information about Heidi and her latest wine creations.


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John Hammond Grammy Nomination

Date: Thu, Jan 28, 2010 Wine Business

In a recent blog we reviewed Rough & Tough, the latest recording by our good friend John Hammond. We are thrilled that Rough & Tough received the Grammy nomination for Traditional Blues Album of the Year. John last won a Grammy in 1985 and has had several nominations since.

John performed recently at the City Winery in NYC.

City Winery, with its custom wine racks leading down to the subterranean wine cellar is a perfect backdrop for a wine lover like John.

He also sat in for a few songs with The Blind Boys of Alabama. The Blind Boys and John sang 'One Kind Favor', written by Blind Willie Jefferson and the crowd went wild.

A few weeks after the performance at City Winery, we had dinner with John & his wife Marla. We opened a bottle of Obsidian Ridge Cabernet, a big chewy cab that with proper wine cellar storage should age for years to come and also happens to be one of John's favorites.

This wine is a perfect example of why California Cabernet is so sought after. John & Marla share a beautiful duplex loft, and although the space will not accommodate a wine cellar, we are working on a design for a custom wine rack to hold John's favorite wines. Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars raise their glasses to a good luck toast for a Grammy win on January 31st . Who knows, a custom Grammy rack?


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Fontodi Wine Dinner at Italian Wine Merchants

Date: Tue, Jan 26, 2010 Wine Business

At Joseph and Curtis Custom Wine Cellars one of the luxuries that comes with our business is the ability to try some pretty amazing wines. In doing so we are able to recommend to our clients which wine to stock their wine cellar with. While a lot of attention went to Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2007 last year, for me the highlight of 2009 was the release of the 2006 Super Tuscans.

Sassicaia returned to form with monster grip and concentration, Masseto again comes in as Italy’s number one cult wine, but it might be Flaccianello that stole the spotlight. I actually agree with Wine Spectator in crowning this the wine of the vintage with its 99 Points. I have been fortunate to do many blind tasting with Chris Deas and Italian Wine Merchants, and Flaccianello, along with Bruno Giacosa, are two routine winners.

And ironically, it’s the lower scoring 1999 example that I think may be drinking best. Its always great to see ratings on different wines...but nothing beats the real thing. We love to help our clients build beautiful wine cellars as well as fill them! Here is a great opportunity to taste some amazing wines and great food as well!


Special Winemaker Dinner with Fontodi Flaccianello
Featuring Giovanni Manetti, a vintage vertical of Flaccianello, and more

Wednesday, February 3, 2010
7:00-10:00 PM

Perhaps the most talked about wine of the historic 2006 Tuscan vintage is Flaccianello, but the legendary Super Tuscan wine that delivers the structure and longevity of a classic Brunello, has long been a staple in Italy’s cache of great wines. For this event, Fontodi winemaker, Giovanni Manetti will fly in to lead a vertical of Flaccianello and much more. Experience back vintage Flaccianello (’99,’95, ‘88) including the iconic 2006 release. Fontodi also crafts a highly regarded Chianti Classico that we will pour alongside their flagship Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna del Sorbo as well as other cult favorites.

Fontodi Wine Tasting:
Pinot Nero 2006
Syrah 2000
Chianti Classico 2006
Chianti Classico Riserva 1993
Vigna del Sorbo 2006
Flaccianello 2006
Flaccianello 1999
Flaccianello 1995
Flaccianello 1988 (magnum)
Vin Santo 2001

Click here for details.

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Hospitality Wine Cellar Design

Date: Wed, Dec 16, 2009 Wine Business

To the many fans of our website, we are happy to announce that we will be soon be introducing our new hospitality and design page to showcase our restaurant and hotel projects.

You will continue to see our ongoing residential projects for custom wine cellars and the many new exciting designs for our one-of-a-kind wine racks and wine storage. But here is a sneak preview of a recent restaurant project we completed.

Artisans Brewery & Italian Grill (formerly known as Basil T's in Toms River, N.J.) sought out the design services of Joseph and Curtis Custom Wine Cellars to emphasize their new focus on wines. Artisans is known for their cigar room; the in-house brewery and the excellent food and service. Now, they wanted to be able to showcase their selections of excellent wine. We sat down with the Gregorakis family and put their ideas and our designs to paper.

We took advantage of four arched, open niches and created custom wine racks for the space.

With our bare hands, we custom made these wine cabinets at our shop and did the rest of the carpentry on site in phases. The custom crafted wine cabinets featured accent lighting, wine racks and glass doors .

The first phase was done in about one week, allowing the other areas of the restaurant to remain open. Once the two cabinets and niche spaces were completed with the new wine cabinets and double doors, we moved to the front space, which also took us about one week for the custom racks to be built and installed.

Customers continue to compliment the owners on the new, extensive wine list, showcased in the beautiful custom wine racks.

We highly recommend the cigar room (which we personally have tried several times) where you can eat dinner or just lounge on the leather couches and watch a ballgame.Next time you're in the Tom's River area, stop in for a great meal, fantastic wine selection and (if you indulge) step in to the humidor for a cigar at Artisans Brewery & Italian Grill.

Overall, the entire project was completed on time, on budget and as always the clients were delighted. We will be reviewing the wine list of Artisan's and many other restaurants around the tri-state area on our new hospitality page which will be published January 1.

Bon Apetit!

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Holiday Sale - Cigar Accessories

Date: Sun, Dec 13, 2009 Wine Business

Check out our Holiday 2009 Newsletter. Enter HOLIDAY during checkout for 5% off your order - offer valid until December 31st.

Happy Holidays, cheers!

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Wine Soiree In-Bottle Aerator and Decanter

Date: Mon, Nov 30, 2009 Wine Business

Joseph & Curtis are proud to introduce our friend Andrew Lazorchak, from Wine Soiree. After meeting Andrew and learning about his innovative in-bottle wine aerator and decanter, we had to bring him in for one of our famous Q&A blogs so our readers can learn more. We only work with people who are as passionate as we are about building wine cellars. So let's get right to the conversation!

Where did the idea for Wine Soiree come from?

Soirée has been a happy-go-lucky story. The core to Soirée is the 3 partners (I’m one) which were all intrinsic, in their own right, to the development of Soirée.

At the crux of it, the genesis for Soirée came when I (Andrew Lazorchak) got the opportunity to design a home Wine Bar for long-time family friends, now business partners. That was in 2004, by 2005 we were sitting around the Wine Bar that I designed, and were drinking some Napa Cab.

My NYC cynical side was poking around at some of the accoutrements that they had received as gifts, one of which I gave to them. We started to talk about these wine accessories and how they helped wine, I was barely a wine novice at this time. And can you blame me, I was most baffled by a pewter Sea Horse that hangs in a decanter and agitates the wine as the wine gets poured in. Who thought of this?

Anyway, after a few more occasions at the bar and the ever-infamous cocktail napkin sketches (note I was/am an architect), we looked at each other and said, “Wouldn’t it be fun to make our own.” And as I love to say, “3-years later, we were right, It’s a lot of fun!” The development of Soirée seems like it took a few weeks in hind-sight, but we spent 1 year and a half in development with our Factory. Personally, I was intrigued in the branding packaging, and stylization of a consumer good. And what was crucial, is that I had the capability and desire to do all of the 3-D modeling prototypes, graphics.

As a team we developed Soirée casually at nights for seven months. And ultimately we had designed a much more complex object then what we currently sell. It took us a bit to realize how fragile wine is, and that we had to respect the way wine is handled by an “aerator”. It was really fun though, and the fact that we all enjoyed the struggle and massive learning curve, keep in mind none of us have ever brought a product to market, made every little success that much bigger. And the reality of glass production was what really defined the ultimate design - we realized that glass can only do so much without costing a fortune. And we never considered plastic, we have always been adamant about glass, I will remain stunned at the amount of plastic wine aerators on the market.

How long has it been in existence?

We started in 2006 – we had our first samples in-hand by summer 2007 and sales waiting to go. We made our official debut in 2008 at the Boston Wine Expo – the biggest show in North America. (we sold out at that show and were located in the absolute back corner, it was awesome!)

I see Soirée called an aerator and a decanter?
(1) What’s the difference in the 2 names
(2) Why is it so important to decant?

Great questions:

(1) A decanter is traditionally used to remove sediment from wine. Soirée is truly an aerator – a device that rapidly and conveniently adds air to wine. As the vast majority of wines are clear fined (filtered), sediment is rarely an issue. And I find that most wines 8 years of age or older will start to give off sediment (Sediment is either residual from the winemaking process or is the chemical result of wine “melding” or aging. We mix up the terms, as most people intuitively get the idea of decanting to mean to air-out a wine.

(2) I just finished a wine show in Texas, and got this question from a lot of people, as Aeration is still a new concept to most people. My token answer goes as follows: Have you ever heard the expression, “You have to let the wine breathe.”? I ask this to a lot of people, and they all say, “ya.” So I point to a sealed bottle of wine and say that this bottle is hermetically sealed, devoid of oxygen. It has been in slumber for X years. Like everything else in our atmosphere it is activated by the presence of oxygen, and when you uncork the bottle, it is just now seeing oxygen. Like a bear coming out of hibernation or doing aerobics in the morning, you need to get oxygen going through its veins to allow the wine to come to life. That is the simple idea – the Soirée adds air – in turn it makes wine taste better. And to be thorough, I want people to know yes you can aerate all wines, even whites? Really, Whites? Yes!

My rule of thumb is any wine 8 years old or younger can handle aeration, if it’s older aerate to taste. That is a great thing about an aerator like Soirée - if you have drank half the bottle and the wine is drinking well you can always pull off the Soirée and finish the bottle normally. Soirée let’s you customize how much air you want in the wine, something you can not do with a decanter. And a fun fact is that 90% of all bottles are drunk within 24 hours of purchase, and young wines (despite some erroneous blogs) benefit MOST from aeration (ask a winemaker if they ever shook a wine bottle or put wine in a blender, they’ll all have a story about this.). And yes whites can benefit with aeration, white wines jump aromatically with aeration, and reds increase aromatically but more so have increased mid-palate expression and finesse on the finish. (this is a deep topic, as acidity, sediment, and wine structure are all factors, I could go on for a while and put most people to sleep with these details.)

You talk about Active Decanting vs Passive Decanting on your website, can you explain this more?

Well first off cheers for perusing our website! We also got praise from enobytes.com that awarded Soirée The Best Bet and gave us a nod for having passionate content. I am glad to know people are reading it!

Traditional decanting: The process was invented to “clear” the wine or pour the wine into a decanting vessel, leaving sediment in the bottle. The wine then sits and passively decants for a period of time. Soirée by its physics – causes the wine to open up every time you pour by having air bubbling up into the bottle (think of the glugging of milk). This bubbling takes place when the wine bottle is being poured Up-Side Down and air “glugs” up into the bottle.

Then, when the bottle is turned right-side up, the wine then sloshes back down mixing up the wine in the bottle. As a result – the wine in the bottle will get exposed to more oxygen with very pour – allowing the whole bottle to actively “decant” as you pour. And the sharp question here, is if one pours a glass or two with the Soirée is the bottle then safe to save for another day. The answer is yes, of course we always recommend that you finish the bottle (that’s our joking answer) but yes as long as you have better than a third of the bottle left, seal the bottle, refrigerate it, and even use an inert gas like Vineyard Fresh (these are the proper ways to store wine for max preservation), your wine will be good for a day or 5.

J&C is now a proud retailer of the Wine Soiree...whats the price?

$22.99 is your price as we agreed. We, Soirée, like to retail for $24.99 + S&H as we aim to not compete with our retailers. We love to give our retailers every advantage as they, like you, are our best advocates. (check it out in the Joseph & Curtis store)

What’s on the horizon for the soiree?

Global domination, just kidding, well, hopefully not. But from the get-go people have encouraged us to diversify and make variations on a theme. Even some of or our retailers are like – what miracle product are you going to invent next? We have decided to stay a single SKU company until we have the confidence that we are clearly the leader or a strong rival. I like to say if we can be what Pepsi is to Coke, I am cool with that, we just better be Pepsi or Coke. And you can bet we’ll work like rust until we are.

It’s hard enough to introduce one product to the world, why make more work? We have ideas “on the drawing board” that will compliment Soirée, and keep in mind I am an architect turned wine lover (mid-level sommelier), with a passion for branding. So you can bet we’ll do something involving design, brand, and wine – ya that’s vague. But honestly – this whole endeavor has been one lucky move to the next (supported by little sleep and lots of work), but if I were to guess I’d live in Napa Valley and be flying around the country selling Soirée back in 2007 when we started – I’d say you’re nuts but I am an “anything’s possible” kind of guy. So there will surely be new endeavors – but none that are going into action just yet.

What’s the funniest story about the soiree?

Hmmm, this question is a tough one. I am split on this answer, cause I’ll never stop getting funny names that people call Soirée and well the fact that we are doing so well stupefies me sometimes. But, you wouldn’t believe how many people come up to me at a tasting and ask, “Hey is that a Wine Bong?” and what makes this funny, is that they are commonly over the age of 60, - I love to retort, “What’s a bong?” They never expect that answer – and then we all laugh.

And then there’s OneWineDude.com who said in his review, ” The Soirée looks like a glass Christmas tree ornament, or a sex toy for the very, very adventurous. Or an elegant alien spacecraft for extraterrestrial fleas…Soirée does indeed seem to aerate the wine…” This review was before some other aerators came out, I’ll leave that one alone, but this was a hell of a review to read, not knowing Joe’s sense of humor – but without getting too mushy, the overall craziest thing is that we have made it happen – my business partners and I look at each other sometimes and say, “All this because of a glass ball.”

And we are not referring to money, we got time before this is paying mortgages. But such a novel, Yet Effective, product has enabled so much fun, opportunity, great employees, international distribution, and a lifestyle that most people mock me for. Ohh ya, my friends love to tease me, “Ohh work must have been real tough today, another wine tasting or “sales” in wine country.”

Ya, I get a lot of crap –but as Gary Vaynerchuk is promoting in “Crush It”– when work is 100% passion you don’t need a vacation and weekends don’t exist – and that is because you don’t need them – you are 100% happy with everything you do. And to my friends that call me a workaholic – they’re right – but they can’t say I am not having fun.

Thanks again for this opportunity to talk about Soirée, we are so excited for all of our growth and the many loyal fans and friends we have made along the way. We look forward to the coming years and thank every one that has helped make us what we are today. Try every wine you can, and drink every bottle like it is your last.

Well that wraps up our Q&A with Andrew Lazorchak, from Wine Soiree. We hope you enjoyed reading another edition of our blog - now go get your Wine Soiree from our store, it makes a great gift for the holidays! We can giftwrap it for you as well, check it out in our store.

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Antonio Galloni at Zachy's Nov 14th

Date: Fri, Nov 13, 2009 Wine Business

Check out what our friends at Zachy's have going on tomorrow, definitely worth stopping by their store if you are in the area. Maybe you will want to pick up a case of wine for your wine cellar. If you haven't taken your wine experience to that next level yet, check out our wine cellar design page for some ideas.

Enjoy the event at Zachy's,

Antonio Galloni and Value Wines! Saturday, November 14 | 12-4pm | In-Store

Come join us this Saturday November 14th as we welcome Wine Advocate wine critic Antonio Galloni here at the store. Antonio called us a few weeks back as he was very excited for the release of the team's new book - Parker's Wine Bargains, The World's Best Wine Values Under $25.00.

The release of this book could not be more timely as everyone is looking for the best bang for the buck in their daily wine purchases. Each of the The Wine Advocate's critics has taken the time to isolate wineries/wines that consistently produce wines of superior quality in the under $25 category. They then take the time to point out recent vintages that are/will be available which gives the consumer an EXCELLENT reference tool to search through the thousands of selections from around the world.

This quick reference book is a must have for bargain hunters and will also make an excellent gift for the wine lovers in your life.

We have taken the time to carefully go through this new book and are very excited to welcome Antonio to the store this Saturday as we take a tour of the wine world to see what the Wine Advocate has sought out for us.

This will be a great opportunity for people to load up on values for Thanksgiving which is just a couple weeks away. We are tasting with Antonio over a DOZEN selections from the book!

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Wine Tasting Rooms Gaining Popularity

Date: Thu, Nov 5, 2009 Wine Business

As home wine cellars become more and more popular, wine tasting rooms are as well. A wine tasting room is simply a room set-up to enjoy your wine, food, and friends. It can become the main entertaining space in your home. It is also a room or space that isn't 56 degrees like a wine cellar with a cooling system!

Some common features of a wine tasting room:

  • dishwashers for glass ware
  • cabinets for storage
  • wine racks for obvious reasons
  • custom built Joseph & Curtis walk-in humidor or desktop humidors
  • smoke-eaters to enjoy Room 101 Cigars
  • murals and paint finishes
  • tables
  • flat-screen and touch pad music control
All of these features make for some great nights in the tasting room! If there is not enough space to have a dedicated tasting room...try a barrel with a table top, or a bar. We have included some pictures and a video of our latest completed cellar...enjoy!


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Wine Cellar Murals

Date: Sat, Oct 31, 2009 Wine Business

Joseph and Curtis is proud to announce our custom wine cellar mural division. All of our wine cellar fine art options are hand painted and created to the customer's taste and dimensional needs.

These timeless masterpieces are created on canvas and they can be painted in acrylics or oils. Choose from our collection or simply send us any image idea. Custom artwork such as vineyard scenes and other wine motifs will be created around your specifications.

Our wine cellar paintings are often used in archways or any open space. They can also be framed. For those who prefer their wine cellar artwork painted directly on the walls, we have talented artists that will travel to paint murals worldwide. There will be additional costs to cover travel expenses depending on the location.

At Joseph and Curtis, we have always felt that there are many things that separate our wine cellar company from the rest, but one area we would like to highlight is our design team. From start to finish we can turn any space into a true masterpiece - regardless of budget or physical space.

Contact us now


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