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Cigars and Wine

Date: Tue, Mar 31, 2009 Wine Business

With it getting harder and harder to find places to be able to enjoy cigars and wine together...many customers are now asking for Joseph & Curtis to install "smoke eaters" or fans so that they can enjoy a cigar with their wine. In some cases we build the venting systems in either the wine cellar or the adjacent wine tasting room.

We have been selling humidors for years all around the world, but in the last few years our customers have pushed us into full blown cabinetry to fit within the custom rooms we build (built into the racking) or other cabinetry. The cabinets can be built to any size and are always lined with Spanish cedar.

We usually supply the customer with one of our humidification systems (battery or plug in) for cigar freshness.

(SNEAK PEEK shhhh - we just supplied a humidification system to a client DIY NETWORK "MAN CAVES" which will be featured in season 3. Stay tuned to our blog for the full story and don't forget to watch the episode on DIY!)

We can build the humidor cabinets with almost any wood species...but if its in a climate controlled space you want to use a species that can handle the cold and humidity. Check out our previous blog article titled "Which wood species is right for your custom wine cellar?" for more information.

In any and all of our humidors we offer custom engraving...Whether you want text or even a 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.

Check out the Napoli Humidor engraved with our logo.

Check out the Monte Carlo Humidor engraved with the New York Yankees emblem.

Please feel free to contact us regarding any humidors, cigar lighters, humidification systems or cigar cutters. Please allow 1-3 weeks for custom cabinet style humidors.


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The Wine Loft in Long Branch, NJ

Date: Sat, Mar 21, 2009 Wine Business

Joseph & Curtis recently completed The Wine Loft in Long Branch NJ which features a custom wine cellar and a 19' custom wine rack. The scene at the wine loft is like a very cool living room...a place to just hang out and have a glass of wine.

There are several comfortable couches as well as a bar, and yes a loft area with leather couches and a terrific view of the 19' custom wine racks that highlight the bar area.

Joseph & Curtis also built a custom wine cellar on the first floor with a window and cooling system.

The wine loft offers over 50 wines by the glass and well over 100 wines by the bottle as well as sparkling wines,ports, and all spirits. The wine loft also has a terrific menu (much like tapas but not Spanish) our choice is the filet mignon salad and the artisan cheese selections. The wine loft offers catering for private parties from as little as 10 to as many as 100.

The wine loft opens Saturday March 21 and is located at Pier Village 32 Laird st, Long Branch NJ. We highly recommend The Wine Loft for their outstanding wine list, the food, and relaxed and upscale setting.


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Closet Wine Cellar Conversion

Date: Thu, Mar 5, 2009 Wine Business

Not everyone is blessed with a room big enough for a true wine cellar. Please do not let that stop you. Most wine cellars are in the 8 x 10 and up range...but we have been noticing for the past couple of years clients asking us to think outside of the box and come up with other rooms (like a closet, bathroom, dining room, or even a master bedroom...just kidding on the master bedroom)

One such space was for a client in Scotch Plains, NJ...this client had a basement which already had a pool table and television area...that left us with two options: 1. mechanical room 2. a closet. We chose the closet (4 x 8) because it gave the client a great area for the cooling system to vent and for the condensate (the mechanical room)to discharge.

Once we started the demolition we went right to work on the floor (ceramic tile) and the vapor barrier (because we added cooling) and insulation and electric.

After those steps were complete we began to re-rock (mold resist) to paint ready walls...at this point we were able to take final dims and begin building the mahogany wine racks for the new wine cellar. While the racks were being built we also had our painter prime and paint the room (olive).

The custom wine racks consisted of adjustable shelving for bulk storage, high reveal display rows, diamond bins and of course our muralist creating a wonderful backdrop for the custom arch. We then installed a mahogany glass door so that the outside living space would have a complete view inside the wine cellar.

We are now in the process of converting that space into a tasting room...stay tuned.


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Wine Lockers Keep Your Wine Safe

Date: Thu, Feb 19, 2009 Wine Business

Joseph and Curtis are pleased to announce another happy customer! We recently finished a clubhouse with wine lockers for each member of the club.

Each locker is made of mahogany wood and can fit up to 16 wine or liquor bottles with room for cigars, poker chips etc. Each locker has a wire mesh front and a individual lock for privacy.

The lockers are getting very popular in places like country clubs, cigar lounges, restaurants (byob), locker rooms, hotels, and of course 50 and over communities. Restaurants without liquor license love the lockers because it makes there VIP clients very happy to feel as if they have "their locker" and it keeps them coming back to the restaurant.

Please give us a call or contact us online if you have any interest in a Joseph and Curtis wine locker. We can build the lockers to any size, depending on the square footage of the room we are building them for.


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Movie Review: Bottle Shock

Date: Mon, Feb 9, 2009 Wine Business

Filmed in the Napa and Sonoma valleys, "Bottle Shock" takes a romantic view of winemaking and the significance of that long-ago tasting in France (1976) where Chateau Montelena a small American winery bested the supreme French wines of the time and sent the wine industry on its head - putting California wines on the map for good. Based on a true story, Bottle Shock chronicles the events leading up to the famous 'Judgment of Paris' tastings, told through the lives of father and son, Jim and Bo Barrett.

A former real estate attorney, Jim sacrificed everything to realize his dream of creating the perfect hand-crafted chardonnay. His business, however, is struggling, and he's not only trying to overcome differences with his stoner son, but is also fighting off the banks.

Meanwhile in Paris, unwitting British wine shop owner Steven Spurrier hopes to revive his own failing business by sponsoring a competition (blind tasting) which will pit the traditional French powerhouse against the California upstarts.

Little did Steven and Jim realize that they were both on course to change the history of wine forever. Bottle shock delivers something for everyone...romance, intrigue,patriotism, and of course WINE. Its amazing to see how hard it was for the California wine maker in 1976 struggling to make ends meat...and being thought of as "hicks"...and to see the powerhouse California wine makers have become in 25 years.

God Bless America!!

Buy Bottle Shock at Amazon

View a trailer on youtube.

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Book Review: Passion on the Vine by Sergio Esposito

Date: Wed, Jan 28, 2009 Wine Business

If you have any interest in wine, food, Italy, or travel then this is the book for you. In 1999, Esposito founded Italian Wine Merchants in New York City. And as one of the directors of IWMH, Esposito continues to lead the store in raising the profile of Italian wine in this country and influencing both colleagues and collectors with cutting-edge selections and services. With more than 20 years of experience in the world of Italian wine, Sergio Esposito is recognized by industry insiders as the premier Italian wine consultant in the United States.

The book takes us through the authors childhood in Naples. His family moving to Albany NY. His lifestyle change between the two countries. His obsession with acquiring knowledge about food and wine...whether it was when he was a waiter, sommelier, or becoming an owner of Italian Wine Merchants.

Sergio takes you on a tour through the beautiful wine making regions of Italy, with up close and personal visits with some of the premier Italian wine makers in the world. You feel as if you are visiting with him...the way the author describes every detail...as if you were part of their family. You'll visit their wineries, meet their families and partake in meals the author shared with the wine makers. Together they discuss the importance of food and wine pairing, and how, when done well, enhance each other and represent one of the essential aspects of an enjoyable and elevated quality of life.

The book is funny and at times charming. When you open this book and begin to read, it is much like a bottle of fine wine that develops and evolves over time. Overall the book is a great read. It has a little for each of us. Those interested in how wine is made...those interested in Italian food...family...travel..think of it as part travel guide, part wine guide,and part reality show. In 1999, Esposito founded Italian Wine Merchants in New York City. And as one of the directors of IWMH, Esposito continues to lead the store in raising the profile of Italian wine in this country and influencing both colleagues and collectors with cutting-edge selections and services.

So buy the book at Amazon, open a bottle of Barolo or your favorite Italian wine and enjoy reading Passion on the Vine by Sergio Esposito.


Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars

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Madison, NJ - Custom Wine Cellar Design & Construction

Date: Wed, Jan 14, 2009 Wine Business

Our latest custom wine cellar project had pretty much all of the elements we could ask for...Design, tasting room, wine cellar, paint finish, cooling system, stone arch, and of course wine racking.

When we first met our homeowner, we walked what would become the finished basement and where we would be designing the wine cellar and tasting room.

We started with a blank canvas (1 cinder block wall)...we decided to take the clients to a previous cellar to get a first hands look at (un-stained mahogany and a stone arch) the customers decided that they loved the arch...but wanted a more "finished" look for the racking (we chose mahogany with a water based stain).

The stone we picked was irregular flag stone (3 different types for contrast within the stone). The homeowner decided to make the cellar the focal point of the new basement by adding 2 windows and a glass door which really makes the basement look fantastic.

After completing the framing, vapor barrier, insulation, Sheetrock, elect, stone arch we went to work on the cellar racking. The design took advantage of the obvious areas for display (under each window we built a custom stand alone display rack for the clients showpiece bottles. We also carried the display rows through all of the racking and in the center of the arch. We also added 2 sconces on the "legs" of the arch which really bring out the colors of the stone. The next part was the tile which was selected with the racking and stone colors in mind.

We picked out a reddish earthy tone tile, oversized and carried into the tasting room. Once the tile was laid we had our painter use all three of the "elements" of the two rooms...(racking, stone, and tile) and we came up with a distressed stone effect, which made the cellar and tasting room appear to be in the space for a very long time. We built custom mahogany cabinetry for the tasting room and finished the space with a wine barrel tasting table with 4 bar stools.

We used a "split" cooling system with the condensing unit sitting in the mechanical room. The homeowners were blown away with the final space! (the wife delighted with the tasting room and the husband about the storage space).

And once again everything was finished on time and of course on budget. Please do not hesitate to give us a call or contact us online for all of your custom wine cellar needs, and remember Joseph and Curtis Custom Wine Cellars perform all phases of the project from design, to construction, to stocking tips.

Check back for more...


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Which wood species is right for your custom wine cellar?

Date: Mon, Jan 5, 2009 Wine Business

By far the most popular wood species to use when building custom wine cellars are Pine, Redwood and Mahogany. Each wood species is unique in its own way. Like many aspects of wine cellar construction, many of your decisions will depend on whether or not a cooling system will be used; choosing your wood species is no exception.

Pine is the least expensive of the 3 popular wood types but it cannot be used if you are planning on utilizing a climate controlled system in the cellar...it will not hold up. One advantage of Pine wood is that it can be stained to match the aesthetics of the rest of the wine cellar.

Here is an example of stained Pine racking:

Here is an example of Pine racking (without stain):

Redwood is a beautiful wood species and comes in two choices - Premium Redwood and All Heart Redwood. Please note that Redwood does not stain well due to the oils present in the wood. Premium Redwood is the least expensive of the two redwood species and has much more variations and color in the wood whereas All Heart Redwood is much darker and consistent. It is a good idea to leave either Redwood unfinished. Redwood will withstand the humid conditions within the wine storage room because it contains natural wood preservatives within it.

Here is an example of Premium Redwood racking:

Here is an example of All Heart Redwood racking:

Mahogany is the last of the three wood species commonly used in wine cellar construction. Mahogany is ideal because it is the most durable. Mahogany will not warp or swell. It is resistant to decay due to dampness, making it perfect for the higher humidity levels typically found in wine cellars with climate controlled systems. For our customers that want that "furniture grade look" Mahogany is by far the best choice because it is ideal for stain and lacquer applications. Chemicals in stain and paint can travel through corks and ruin the flavor of wine! So if you choose to stain we HIGHLY RECOMMEND using a water base stain.

At Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars we offer a wide range of Mahogany species available; Malaysian Mahogany, Genuine Mahogany and African Mahogany to name a few. The Mahogany that we use is harvested from farms that certify the sustainability of their products.

Here is an example of Malaysian Mahogany racking:

Here is an example of Malaysian Mahogany racking (without stain):

For a sample of our mahogany species, or any other wood species we offer, please give us a call at (908) 337-2204 or contact us online, we would love to assist in bringing your wine cellar dreams to life!

Check back for more about building custom wine cellars.


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NYC Restaurant Wine Cellar

Date: Mon, Dec 8, 2008 Wine Business

Joseph & Curtis recently completed a custom wine cellar for a restaurant in NYC. The restaurant L'ARTUSI, which is located at 228 w 10th street in Manhattan, has a very dramatic and elegant feel. The owners came to us with an idea to build a wine cellar on the second floor (loft area) but were not quite sure how to lay the room out.

We decided to design the cellar with a very small footprint on the overall space of the restaurant as we all know how expensive square footage is in NYC. This type of design has become VERY popular with residential as well as commercial spaces because it enables homeowners to have a beautiful cellar without forfeiting large amounts of square footage to wine storage.

The total width of the wine cellar (which is shaped like a horseshoe) is about 40" with the 2 legs of the shoe being about 10' long and the middle wall being about 26' long.

L'ARTUSI was able to then conserve valuable floor space for a VIP room with custom sliders overlooking the wine cellar and the second floor dining room. From the beginning of the project there was much work to be done.

The initial work included gutting of the entire space; creating a vapor barrier, insulating, running all the necessary electric and HVAC for the lighting and cooling system.

We then had to re-sheetrock the entire space as well as frame the knee-wall (which became raised panel and picture frame moldings) and 5 separate exterior glass windows from the knee wall to the ceiling. Once that was completed and we had reliable wall and floor dimensions we went right to work on the custom wine racks (redwood)

L'ARTUSI had a very tight timeline as they hoped to be open before the holidays. We had to take on extra workers to accommodate this request. Once we finished the racking we had to have our mill and UPS expedite the shipping to finish in time for the grand opening. We had several of our installers on site for the commercial wine racking install.

The custom wine cellar came out magnificent, with plenty of bulk storage for more than 2,000 wine bottles as well as 3 different large format display rows as well as custom 750 displays as well. Our HVAC installed a ducted cooling system (we could not get access to the roof) which ended up being an upgrade from our original contract which we were happy to cover for our client since we have a very strong policy of never changing our contracts unless the customer decides to add additional features. The system has 3 separate supplies in the space and a very large return.

The last day ended up being a little harder than we thought with the glass install (5 pieces several of which were 4' x 8') and didn't quite fit the opening since they changed slightly when a veneer was put up for painting purposes. We had 2 of our carpenters as well as four of our glass guys working for seven hours to finish in time before the restaurant opened for there usual 5:00pm sitting.

Overall the project was a great success and the owners of L'ARTUSI we’re very happy with our services and how the overall custom wine cellar turned out. We have since dined at L'artusi AND we’re very impressed with the food and of course the wine list.

Please stop in and see the wine cellar on the 2nd floor and have a truly wonderful meal.

Stay tuned for more...


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Custom Wine Cellar in New Jersey

Date: Wed, Nov 12, 2008 Wine Business

We recently had the pleasure of completing a custom wine cellar made of 100% mahogany for a private client in Summit NJ. We were referred to the client by a designer we had worked with on a previous cellar in Westfield NJ.

The basement was unique (it was a 3' crawl space) which was dug out by hand and raised to 9' ceilings. We began by consulting with the homeowner and builder about the overall design of the finished space. Once we had an idea as to the finishes and materials of the basement we began to formulate a design and look.

The homeowner was very detail oriented, with African mahogany wood raised panel and coffer ceilings throughout the entire basement. We decided the wine cellar needed to blend with the overall look yet have its own unique footprint in the space. We decided to build the racking out of 100% Malaysian mahogany (which is a lighter species of mahogany than African) to really contrast the other woodwork in the basement.

The homeowner had a very cool idea of adding a cut out in the center of the wine cellar for a hand painted mural of his families Tuscan villa (it really makes the room pop).

The next step was turning a sump room closet which was attached to the wine cellar and turning it into a continuation of the refrigerated climate controlled space. We decided to go with "high reveal display rows" and a custom cabinet was fitted over the sump pump. The end result is a seamless transition which enabled more refrigerated custom wine cellar storage.

The next step was the door. We decided that a Brazilian Mahogany custom wrought iron door would be just the fit. It sits right between 2 windows and 2 half wine barrel cut outs. The cooling system is a split unit which is also wrapped in a mahogany grill cover to match the racking.

The last step was the "rope lighting" for the display rows which adds a perfect way to keep the heat down (led light) yet wonderful ambiance to the wine cellar.

Overall we were very happy to complete the project on time, and as always on budget. The homeowners were thrilled with the space and it was a pleasure working with them. In the end we were happy to help the clients stock their wine cellar and to introduce them to what we feel is the absolute best cellar management system.

Please check back for the next blog article about stocking your cellar and cellar management systems.

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Unused Basement Becomes Stunning Wine Cellar

Date: Sun, Oct 5, 2008 Wine Business

At Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars, we always enjoy the process of taking an unused space in a basement (picture a corner full of toys your kids haven’t played with in six years and a treadmill with laundry hanging on it!) and transforming it into a beautiful, value-added feature in a home.

We recently completed a custom wine cellar/tasting room in a beautiful home in Basking Ridge N.J. that began as just that. We approached the design from the outside in with an arched stone entrance leading to a massive hand made Knotty Alder and wrought iron Tuscan style entry door into the tasting room. We then repeated the stone aesthetic throughout the tasting room with two matching stone arches with custom diamond bin style wine racks on either side of them for “everyday” wine storage and inside the arch gave the customer a humidor cabinet with a display row on top.

An old wine press belonging to the homeowner’s father was brought into the tasting room and sits just adjacent to the entrance of the wine cellar. The dark distressed wood of the wine press and our All-Heart Redwood wine racks created an interesting visual contrast.

A large rectangular rustic dining table with chairs and a pair of vintage wine barrels that have been modified to become tasting tables provided ample space for entertaining. We finished the tasting room off with a mural of Tuscany (our client spent several years in Europe) which occupies the entire back wall and creates a dramatic backdrop for the room.

Opposite the wall with the mural is the entrance to the custom wine cellar. Repeating the wood species of the custom wine racks in the tasting room, we also built the custom wine racks in the cellar from 100% All Heart Redwood. A solid mahogany wine cellar entry door with a full glass panel allows guests to view the wine cellar without opening the door allowing the climate control system to operate efficiently. Although the space for the wine cellar was somewhat limited, we gave our client ample wine storage of nearly 1,200 bottles between the wine cellar and tasting room.

This beautiful custom wine cellar/tasting room has truly become a destination in the home. The owners are looking forward to dinner parties and hosting private wine tastings as well building their wine collection for years to come.

Contact Joseph & Curtis to turn your unused basement into a stunning custom wine cellar.


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How to Build a Wine Cellar in NYC (And Fill It, Italian Style)

Date: Thu, Oct 2, 2008 Wine Business

Saturday October 4th Joseph and Curtis Custom Wine Cellars will be at Italian Wine Merchants

108 East 16th Street
(between Park Avenue South & Irving Place)
New York, NY 10003
>>Google Map & Directions

Special Event: How to Build a Wine Cellar in NYC (And Fill It, Italian Style)

What happens to a wine that is not stored at 55 degrees and 70 percent humidity? How long should you hold on to your 1990 Barolo? What should you look out for when you store a wine?

Whether you are a budding enthusiast or a connoisseur, how you store your bottles is essential to the integrity of the wine.

This seminar, the first of its kind, explores wine storage options for the busy New Yorker with limited space. A professional cellar builder from Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars will lead the first half, discussing some options from the wine refrigeration unit to transforming your closet into a wine cellar.

An Italian Wine Merchants educator will also conduct a tasting and provide information on building a balanced collection; it is a nice opportunity to taste wines before they go into your collection. Six wines will be featured including everyday wines, entertainment wines, cellar-worthy, and a rare treat.

Please come and join us for what should be a great day to enjoy some fabulous wines.

If you are interested in attending please call 212.473.2323 x129

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