Current Trends in Wine Cellar Design – Part 1

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It’s almost weekly that I receive an email from someone thinking about building a wine cellar in their home, and looking for my personal recommendation on a good wine cellar builder. Of course there’s wine cellars and there’s wine cellars. My “wine cellar” consists of my closet containing a 200 bottle wine rack and no temperature control. It does the job…for now…but for those looking for something a little more serious, I always send them in the general-direction of my good friend Curt Dahl, one half of Joseph and Curtis Wine Cellars. They are based in New Jersey, but have been completing quite a few projects recently here in Florida.


Here’s a 2-part Q & A I recently had with Curt, regarding current trends in wine cellar design…

You guys have been in this business for a little while now. What are some of the biggest trends you’ve seen in the last couple of years?

In the bigger cities the trend has definitely swung more to the contemporary-side of wine cellar design. That seems to be the direction our younger clients also go. The suburbs tend to be more traditional, with wood. The urban areas are glass,metal, and clean lines.


Are there any trends in wine cellars that have started to die-out?

I think most people realize that it takes a professional to build out a wine room/wine cellar. Builders, designers and architects have started (in the last couple years) to hand over all of their wine cellar projects…there are a lot of details and many things that can go wrong if not built out and designed properly. Bars are also one trend which seems to be dying out…people still put them in… but less and less I’ve noticed.


Obviously you always meet the needs of whomever you’re working for, but what would you say is the most popular style of cellar you’re asked to build i.e. modern and contemporary, or more conservative? 

Its 50-50! It really is. We always keep a close watch on design trends…and I’d like to think we help dictate that with our design team. We always try to design our wine cellars and cabinets with a timeless design in mind…so right now we are implementing both contemporary and traditional. As you said, it’s all about who we’re working for.


In your opinion, at what point do you typically see people starting to make the jump into a “serious” wine cellar? Is it based purely on volume of bottles, or value of wines?

I think it’s both of them….but also a little-thing called the “wine bug”. I think peoples’ passion for wine continues to climb with no end in sight, it seems! Wine collecting can be rewarding and it’s truly a lot of fun…it’s a cool way for adults to slow time down and really get to own specific spaces (adult playrooms) in their homes.


What are your personal favorite cellar building materials?

Wood is White Oak or Alder…for contemporary stainless steel


What’s the “average” size cellar you typically build, in terms of bottle volume?

I would say about 1,000 bottles is our “average”…but we can go as low or as high as people want.


Do you ever find people outgrowing their cellar and wishing they’d gone bigger?

Oh wow…absolutely! Almost all of them! Seriously. The way that we try and approach it is to have our clients figure-out what they “need” then add 25% to the bottle capacity. That’s my biggest piece of advice to anyone looking to build a wine cellar. You’ll be surprised how fast you’ll outgrow it!


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Ridge, Three Valleys, Sonoma

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Ridge, Three Valleys, Sonoma


65% Zinfandel, 20% Petite Sirah, 9% Carignane, 3% Mataro, 2% Alicante Bouchet,1% Grenache and a partridge in a pear tree.



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There’s a Time and Place for Everything…

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There’s a Time and Place for Everything…

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Between the Seasons: Winter Red Wines and Spring White Wines

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Just another small article I was asked to write for Jacksonville Magazine’s “Taste” edition…

Winter Reds


PetitePetitPetite Petit, Lodi, California – $14.99

If you’re looking for a “little” something to warm yourself up during the colder months, there could possibly be no wine more fit for the purpose than Petite Petit. Named after its blend of Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot grapes, don’t be mistaken for thinking this is a “small” wine. Since Petite Sirah is known for its high skin-to-juice ratio (the grape makes-up the majority of the blend), the wine is ultra-concentrated and jammy; with blackberry, blueberry and raspberry dominating the palate, all held together with well-integrated oak. A “big” fireside crowd-pleaser!

borgogno-dolcettoBorgogno Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont, Italy – $18.99

Located in the town of Barolo, Borgogno is well-established as one of the premier producers in the Langhe region of Piedmont. It’s a little-known fact that the name Dolcetto translates to English “little sweet one.” Interesting, since the wines made from the grape are certainly never sweet! Very rustic in nature, with an upfront mix of savory and earthy elements. The fruit eventually makes its way through, revealing blackberry, plum, a hint of ripe raspberry and a certain leathery and nutty quality toward the long finish.

domaine-bernard-baudryBernard Baudry Chinon Les Granges, Loire Valley, France – $15.99

Considered to be the most important red grape of France’s Loire Valley, Cabernet Franc is believed to have been brought to the Loire from Bordeaux region. The Baudry is a beautiful example of what the Loire Valley is capable-of, even at the more affordable end of the scale. Sour cherry and ripe raspberry throughout, with a hint of blackberry in the middle and a little forest floor/dried herbs toward the finish. The Baudry would pair perfectly with “peasant French” cuisine of all types.

cremisan-red-wineCremisan “Star of Bethlehem” Red, Bethlehem, Palestine – $15.99

Almost forgotten and very-much “off the beaten path,” Israel’s Cremisan winery is currently being brought out of obscurity by the most unlikely of sources: Jason Bajalia, owner of Jacksonville’s very own Casbah Café.

The wines are produced from vineyards in the Holy Land of Bethlehem, and made by one of the most famous wines consultants in the world: Italian winemaker Riccardo Cotarella. Initial aromas and flavors of stewed raspberry/strawberry and red cherry, quickly turns into bacon fat, tobacco and a mixture of spices.

All wines available from Riverside Liquors and Royal Palm Village Wine and Tapas.
Cremisan wines due for release in March. Jacksonville retailer TBC.

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Great Chefs of Jacksonville IV

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Eight of the city’s top chefs (four per team) will gather to cook and compete, all to the delight of a hungry audience.

Dinners will be treated to four individual courses (eight dishes in all, two per course) prepared by the dueling teams and paired with wine. Patrons will judge each course, picking one favorite dish from the two served. Ballots from each course are then collected and tabulated, with an invited panel of judges serving as the final arbiter in the event of a tie.

Team City includes Chef Christopher Cohen from bb’s, Chef Ian Lynch from Ovinte, Chef Tom Gray from Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails, Chef Steve Thurston from the Good Food Company and Bar Director Brian Brininker from Taverna. Team Beach includes Chef Patrick Moran from TPC Sawgrass, Chef Brett Smith from Vernon’s at Sawgrass Marriott, Chef Joshua Agan from the Flying Iguana and Chef Danny Groshell from Ocean 60


TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse


Great Chefs IV will take place the evening of Thursday, March 20. Check-in opens at 6 PM, featuring passed drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Cocktail hour begins at 6:00 PM with the first course served promptly at 7 PM.

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A Good Babysitter is Hard to Find.

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