Winston's Wisdoms - A Blog
Where Our Passion for Wine & Accessories Is Shared
Subscribe to Updates:
RSS  Subscribe via RSS Feed

About Winston's Wisdoms
Winston, the endearingly drawn gent you see raising his glass, has been the Wine Enthusiast logo for nearly 30 years—and the symbol of unsurpassed expertise in wine accessories and storage.

Winston's Wisdoms Blog is the place where our experts share their knowledge and answer some of the most commonly asked wine-related questions. It's the place where you can ask questions and share insights from your own wine experience. We welcome your feedback and invite you to offer your wisdoms to wine lovers everywhere!

Riedel Vinum Wine Glasses: Vinum XL & Vinum Extreme

Thursday, November 8th, 2012 at 5:21:36 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

For almost 300 years Riedel has been recognized for their elite line of glassware. Their fine crystal stemware has become synonymous with quality and elegance. Riedel VinumFrom founder Johann Christoph Riedel to the current corporate head Georg J. Riedel and his son Maximillian, Riedel has always been a family run operation and on the cutting edge of the glassware industry. But what is it about Riedel that sets them apart from all other wine glass producers?
In 1986, Riedel (pronounced like needle with an R) unveiled their revolutionary Vinum line of stemware. This became the first line of machine-made glasses in history to be based on the characteristics of each specific grape variety. Through years of testing by professional wine tasters, Riedel discovered that the shape of the glass significantly affected and enhanced the aromas and flavors associated with specific grape varieties. This is why a Riedel Cabernet Sauvignon glass is designed to direct the wine to the center of the tongue in order to accentuate their fruit and tannic nature whereas Riedel Pinot Noir glasses direct the wine to the tip of the tongue to highlight the fruit while balancing the acidity. This thought process and execution is applied to every glass in each of their several lines of stemware.

Riedel Vinum Standard round bowl Size: 8-7/8″H, 21-1/2 oz. $49.95 On Sale From $59

To keep up with the trend in “New World” wines, Riedel developed their Vinum Extreme line in 2000. Riedel Vinum ExtremeThe new design was intended to highlight the concentrated fruit and intense structure many of these New World wines display. The sleek lines and angles also seem to appeal to the younger generation of wine drinkers that are attracted to this style of wine. Like the Classic Vinum line, these stems are thinly cut and executed in lead crystal. The small amount of lead is utilized to help open up the wine allowing it to display its bouquet and aromas almost immediately upon swirling the wine in the glass.

Riedel Vinum Extreme Round bowl with angular shape Size: 9-3/4″H x 2-6/8″ Dia., 28-1/4 oz. $59.95 On Sale From $69.95

The Vinum XL line is what Riedel considers the perfect line of stemware for the new generation of wine and wine enthusiasts. It was designed for the big, bold and concentrated wines that are so prevalent in the wine marketplace today. The bigger the wine is, the bigger the glass needs to be and Riedel has accommodated those consumers who enjoy both their wines and glassware big, bold and sexy.Riedel Vinum XL

Riedel  Vinum XL Large, dramatic round bowl Size: 10-1/2″H, 33-7/8 oz. $59.95 On Sale From $69.95

Every Riedel Vinum glass has a thin lip, an elegant feel and over 300 years of innovation and design setting them apart from every other glassware company in the marketplace today.  Riedel Vinum vs. Riedel Vinum Extreme vs. Riedel Vinum XL? You can’t lose with these fine glasses, backed by centuries of experience.

Cheers to that! Do you own any Riedel glasses? Share your experience in the comments!

Wine Cellar Cooling Units: Choosing the Best Option for You

Thursday, August 30th, 2012 at 10:22:38 AM
by Marshall T., Wine Enthusiast Companies

I am often asked by our wine cellar customers which cooling unit would be the best option for them. Wine cellar cooling units can range from the simple to the intricate, from the forced air unit to the split cooling system and from the somewhat reasonable to the very expensive. There are significant differences between these units based on the way they vent, the decibel level (amount of noise the unit produces), how they get installed and how long they will last. To help navigate through these different cooling units, we have provided a breakdown of the three main types of cooling units along with some of the features and benefits which will help you decide what unit is best suited for your particular wine storage needs. I’ve laid the details out in the chart below, and then I will expand upon each option.

Cooling Unit Style Through the Wall Ductable Split
Life Expectancy 5-8 years 10-15 years 12-20 years
Venting Interior only Interior/Exterior Interior/Exterior
Max Ambient Temp 80 degrees Up to 110 Degrees Up to 110 Degrees
Installation Easy Contractor/HVAC HVAC Required
Decibel Level 55-65 35-55 35-60 *
Cost $1,000-$2,800 $3,000-6,500 $2,500 and up

*Higher decibel levels are for the condenser which is not inside the wine cellar

The basic type of wine cellar cooling unit is called either a forced air or a through-the-wall cooling unit. These units are reminiscent of a window air conditioner with a few major differences. The first, and most important, difference is that they CANNOT vent to the outside.* These units are only capable of venting into an interior adjacent room that is bigger than the maximum cooling capacity of that particular unit and stays between 50-80 degrees F. The upside to one of the units is that they are fairly cost effective and quite easy to install in a standard sheet rock wall. However, they may not last as long as some of the higher rated ductable and split systems (standard shelf life is about 5-8 years) and they will also be a little louder, so we would not advise venting these units into any real living space. Some of the better through-the-wall units include the N’FINITY, WhisperKool and Wine Guardian.

*One exception is the WhisperKool Extreme. It is the only forced air cooling unit that can vent to the outside, but it is considered a ductable unit as well.

The next level in terms of quality and functionality would be the ductable cooling units. They are similar to the forced air units in the sense that they are self-contained, meaning the compressor and evaporator are all within the same housing. However these units have the ability to be fully ducted affording you the luxury of situating the unit in a remote location, such as a mechanical room or storage area.  You could then duct the cool air into the wine cellar while venting the warm air to the exterior or another desired location. Certain ductable units, like the Whisperkool Extreme, can even be placed outside as long as they are protected from the elements of weather. They can handle ambient temperatures ranging from 0-110 degrees F. But the majority of ductable units are meant for an indoor application.
These units tend to have a lower decibel rating than the through the wall units and can have a shelf life anywhere from 10-15 years depending on how hard they have to work. Because of their increased function and shelf life, they also tend to be a bit more expensive. The only downside to this style of unit is that the ducts can only be run between 10-25 feet (depending on the manufacturer) and you still want to avoid exhausting the warm air into any kind of living space. A few of the top ductable units available on the market are the EuroCave INOA, the WhisperKool Extreme (with the ducted option) and the Wine Guardian units.


The last style of cooling unit is a split system. These can come in two forms: ductless or a ducted. Ductless is more common as the install tends to be a bit easier. Much like a central air conditioning set up, these types of systems have a separate condenser that can be placed outside or in a mechanical room. There are then two refrigeration pipes that run from the condenser to the evaporator that would typically hang on one of the walls of your wine cellar. In a ducted set up, the lines would connect to an air handler that you would then duct into your cellar, but this is typically only necessary in a rather large wine cellar. The benefits to a split system are vast. First of all, the evaporators are extremely quiet as only the fan is producing any sound since the condenser would be located elsewhere. Plus, those refrigeration lines can be run up to 90 feet away allowing for a variety of installation options. Most importantly, these units tend to keep the most consistent temperature and humidity levels which in the long run means the integrity of your prized wine collection is aging with the utmost protection. The shelf life on these units can be anywhere from 12-20 years and they are quite serviceable since they are similar in nature to a standard home split cooling set up.
The downside on these units is the cost. While the price of these units are in the same range as the ductable units, because refrigeration lines have to be run and charged with refrigerant the installation costs can be hefty. You would want to contact a local HVAC company to see what those costs would be before purchasing one of these units. However if it is within your budget this is really the best option for any wine cellar, regardless of size. While there are a number of units available, WhisperKool manufactures the most reliable split systems available, including their mini split for rooms under 500 cubic feet.


At the end of the day, there are many factors that go into the decision of which cooling unit to use including room size, venting applications, location and budget to name a few. We always recommend calling one of our Wine Storage Consultants to ensure you are making a selection that is the most appropriate for your particular wine cellar needs. You can reach them at 800-377-3330 and they are always happy to assist.

Meet Our Wine Storage Consultants: Dino Sapienza

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 at 10:31:11 AM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Today in the “Meet Our Wine Storage Consultants” series, we introduce Dino Sapienza. He has been at Wine Enthusiast for 6 years, helping customers build beautiful wine cellars in their homes. Dino is proud to tell us about his new home which included a built-in cabinet with capacity for 200 bottles. One might think that would be enough, but not for a Wine Enthusiast staff member! He instantly upgraded to a larger cellar and is already nearing the new capacity. Since taking our Summer wine class series and continuing to develop his love of wine, his collection just keeps growing!

What was your “Epiphany” wine? (Wine that first got you into wine)
The first wine that opened my palate was Ernest & Julio Gallo’s Deep Red Wine right from the “big jug” at Sunday dinners. Back in the 80′s the strong robust flavor and the way it seemed to go with any Sunday meal made it the perfect start.

What is the most memorable Wine Cellar you have built?
I designed a glass-enclosed room for a local restaurant in all Vintage View racking.  The client was looking to create a focal point behind his reception area. With the floor-to-ceiling Vintage View Racks we were able to provide around 400-bottle capacity in a small area that was illuminated. It created quite the talking point for patrons as they awaited their dinning experience.

What is your favorite Wine Storage Product and why?
I like the features and trust the long term storage of the Eurocave Comfort. Its ease of use, bottle capacity and its flexibility in storing all formatted bottles is what makes it the perfect fit for your wines.

How do you store your wine?
I maintain all my wines my EuroCave Performance 59 that is built-in right into my existing kitchen cabinetry. This wine cellar provides easy access while entertaining and provides the proper storage of all my new and old wines.

If you had to give 1 wine storage tip, what would it be?
Regardless of where you are storing wines, always keep in mind that a constant temperature, low light, minimal vibration and avoiding any fluctuation is what will mature your wines properly.
What have you drank lately that wowed you?
Recently I enjoy the Mediterra 2009  Poggio al Tesoro. This fine wine drank as well as a much more expensive Super Tuscan. The pairings with pasta and cheese made it a memorable night of entertaining.


Any questions for Dino on wine storage? Simply comment below!

How To Save Summer Herbs for a Winter Cocktail

Friday, July 13th, 2012 at 11:21:37 AM
by Jacqueline S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Summer is one of the best seasons for fresh ingredients. However, once the Winter chill is upon us it’s easy to start missing those aromatics. One of my favorite ways to battle these blues is to make simple syrup from herbs in the Summer and freeze it for cooking and cocktails during the Winter.

I always have leftover basil and lemon-thyme from perusing farmers’ markets in my flip flops as they’re my favorite Summer scents. It’s great chopped and frozen into ice cubes or to make the below simple syrup. Once it’s prepared and sealed you can forget about it in the back of your freezer until the snow falls. Add a few drops to Prosecco for a refreshing Aperitif or even pour it over a snow ball for an icy treat to bring back memories of lush gardens in July.

What are your favorite Summer herbs? Tell us in the comments below!

Basil/Lemon-Thyme Syrup


  • 1 Cup Water
  • 2 Cups Demerara Sugar (Sugar Cane Extract) or Brown Sugar
  • 3 Fresh Lemon-Thyme Sprigs
  • 3 Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1 Lemon Peel
  • Plastic Tupperware


  1. Bruise herbs with the back of a wooden spoon to release oil.
  2. Bring all ingredients less the sugar to a boil in a small pot.
  3. Once bubbling stir in sugar until it is completely dissolved.
  4. Take off the heat and let cool.
  5. Pour contents through a sieve and into tupperware. Wipe rim to avoid stickiness from the syrup and store in freezer.
  6. Forget about it.

For more information on farmer’s market cocktails check out our Farm-to-Table Cocktails piece from the August issue of the magazine.

Meet Our Wine Storage Consultants: John Tucci

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 at 1:28:15 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

This week in the “Meet Our Wine Storage Consultants” series, we meet John Tucci. John has been with the Wine Enthusiast for 6 years. Perhaps his love of  home improvement projects and carpentry led him to start building magnificent wine cellars for our customers! In addition, he loves attending sporting events and spending time with his family.

What was your “Epiphany” wine?
1999 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley.  I had the chance to enjoy this fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon with family on a special occasion several years ago.  I immediately purchased a bottle to cellar for a future special occasion. Can’t wait!

What is the most memorable Wine Cellar you have built?
I had the unique opportunity to design a custom wine cellar for a former local professional hockey player.  I was very excited to not only meet, but exceed the customer’s high expectations in achieving a magnificent custom wine cellar. Needless to say, it came out unbelievably!

What is your favorite Wine Storage Product and why?
Eurocave Wine cellars, they are about as reliable as you can get!

How do you store your wine?
I store my wine in a Eurocave Compact version. Although I wish I had the space to design my own wine cellar, I do not. So, the next best thing is to keep my wine in a Eurocave that combines the perfect balance between temperature and humidity.

If you had to give 1 wine storage tip, what would it be?
Try to always store your wine in an environment that combines a constant temperature with humidity.Cellar Recently Built by John
A constant temperature is the most important factor when storing wine.  The ideal temperature to store wine is approximately 55 degrees. Humidity is also very important when storing your wine. The ideal relative humidity for storing wine is approximately 60-70 percent. Humidity is crucial to keeping your corks moist and preventing them from drying out.

What have you drank lately that wowed you?
Recently, I enjoyed a bottle of 2000 Chateau Haut Marbuzet, St. Estephe.  This full deep red Bordeaux was amazing and certainly worth a try, especially with a nice cut of beef!

Wine Decorating Ideas: The “Most Pinteresting” Products on

Friday, March 30th, 2012 at 4:07:41 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies


Ever since the social photo-sharing site, Pinterest, launched, our customers have been feverishly pinning their favorite Wine Enthusiast products. It’s no surprise, as beautiful stemware, cork crafts and wine pairings make the perfect eye candy. To be honest, the level of enthusiasm has been beyond belief! We love seeing customers show-off their wine lifestyle in the fantastic boards they have been creating.
A selection of products has been far and away, the most “pinteresting.” Below are the top pinned products on Pinterest. Why do you think these are so popular? Are you on Pinterest? Follow us @WineEnthusiast and show us your boards!



Handmade Vintage Oak Whiskey Barrel Coffee Table ($795) – With over 10,000 pins, this handsome coffee table is a must-have item for Pinterest users who say “Love this!” and “have to have!” Use it as a living room conversation-starter and tuck your favorite wine magazines inside it, it is as beautiful as it is functional.

Pin It








Wine Bottle House Numbers ($14.95)- If one thing is clear about Pinterest users, they love expressing themselves. These Wine Bottle House Numbers allow owners to announce their oenophile-status to passerbys. Whether for a vineyard or a new home, people are showing their style with these hand painted markers.

Pin It 








Wine Cork Lazy Susan Kit ($129.95) – Our cork kits are perennially popular but the Lazy Susan size is the favorite among Pinterest users. Our guess is that this swiveling buffet not only preserves memories, it encourages sharing! And Pinterest is all about sharing. Pin It









Wine Bottle Oil Lamp Kit ($29.95)- Crafty pinners go wild for this kit which turns an old wine bottle into an elegant candle. What’s the most popular board it goes on? “Products I Love.”

Pin It










Heart Shaped Corkboard/Cork Trivet Kit ($24.95)- Pinterest users also express their love by pinning our sweet Heart Shaped Corkboard. This was a big hit on Valentine’s Day but continues to be sought-after as a lovely keepsake.

Pin It









Wine Glass Chandelier ($249.95)- Comments like “YES” and “fabulous” are just a few of the remarks made on Pinterest about this stem-filled chandelier. And the best part, as pinners say, it’s self cleaning!

Pin It










Recycled Wine Bottle Tealight Holder ($39.95)- Old wine bottles find a new use with these recycled tealight holders, sure to light up the tables of Pinterest users across the country.

Pin It









Meet Our Wine Storage Consultants: David Moseler

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 at 11:38:30 AM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Next in our Wine Storage Consultant series is David Moseler. David has been building wine cellars with Wine Enthusiast for 8 years. His design work has been featured on WNBC 4 New York. He enjoys traveling, cooking, spending time with his family and taking guitar lessons. He learned about wine through his history in the wine import business, taking classes at the WSET and  travels in Argentina to visit family.

What was your “Epiphany” wine?
I recall enjoying a 1998 Châteauneuf-du-Pape in Avignon France and something just clicked inside of me.  While in California, nothing compared to drinking Rubicon on their Estate

What is the most memorable Wine Cellar you have built?
A 2000 bottle cellar including redwood tongue and groove paneling on the ceiling and walls, a wrought iron door and it only took one design revision.  The customer asked me to design a cellar I would want and he loved it so much he said “I’ll take it!”

What is your favorite Wine Storage Product and why?
I love designing and building wine rooms.  It gives me tremendous satisfaction to see a basement or spare room transformed into a beautiful wine cellar that the owner can be proud of.

How do you store your wine?
Being that I live in a condo, I store about 180+ bottles inside of a Eurocave Performance 283 with brushed aluminum trim

If you had to give 1 wine storage tip, what would it be?
Enjoy your wine.  As much fun as collecting is, at times it is even more enjoyable consuming and appreciating how the wine has evolved.  I always buy at least 2 bottles at this point…one to drink now and one to enjoy in a few years!

What have you drank lately that wowed you?
To this day, I have never tasted anything that came close to the time I was dining at Gilt in the New York Palace Hotel and the sommelier offered our table the rest of an 1834 Madeira…heaven in a bottle.

Follow David on Twitter @WE_DavidMoseler !

Meet Our Wine Storage Consultants: Adam Dunefsky

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 at 4:08:32 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

This week in the series, we introduce our Wine Storage Consultant, Adam Dunefesky. Adam grew up in the Bronx just a stones throw from Arthur Ave, the Mecca for Italian Fare. His absolute favorite in the area however, is Roberto’s, for their sublime tubettini with grilled octopus. So it was an honor when Roberto’s decided to build a wine cellar and turned to Adam for his expertise. Adam not only helped design the wine cellar but helped pick out wine glasses, decanters and other accessories giving them the full Wine Enthusiast experience. Adam has been with the Wine Enthusiast for over 14 years and is one of the top wine cellar designers in the country. You can see one of his most recent cellars at Valbella in NYC.

What was your “Epiphany” wine?
I really got into wine after tasting the 1997 Joseph Phelps Insignia. This wine had complex aromas of fruit, chocolate and oak to go with an abundance of flavors. This wine really lived up to its reputation and left me wanting more.

What is the most memorable Wine Cellar you have built?
It’s a tough choice between designing Regis & Joy Philbin’s wine cellar and helping Eli Manning purchase a Eurocave. I was able to visit the Philbin’s home and meet them but I am also a huge Giants fan so meeting Eli was a big win too. Go Giants!

What is your favorite Wine Storage Product and why?
I love the Eurocave Wine Cellar as they are truly the best storage cellars for your wines. I will say that the N’Finity is a really good value wine cellar especially if you need something built-in. I also like that they have the stainless steel option which is great for kitchens.

How do you store your wine?
I store my wines in a Eurocave and will be needing another one soon as my collection is growing.

If you had to give 1 wine storage tip, what would it be?
My wine storage tip would be to buy something you can grow into. Too many people, myself included, buy a wine cellar that they fill to quickly and need another one! Give yourself room for growth.

What have you drank lately that wowed you?
Miner 2007 Oracle, Napa valley Red

Meet Our Wine Storage Consultants: Michael Dreyfus

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 at 12:33:10 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Continuing the “Meet Our Wine Storage Consultants” series, I would like to introduce Michael Dreyfus. Michael has been with Wine Enthusiast “as long as you would let a Grand Cru Bordeaux age”. He grew up and worked in the restaurant business and loves to wine and dine still. But he finds with the combined talents in the kitchen between he and his wife, plus their wine collection,  the best spot to eat is their home!

What was your “Epiphany” wine?
Some way too young bottle of Lynch Bages during the 1976 super bowl. My dad let me have a full glass with a steak during half time with my older brother. I was sixteen and remember how bitter it tasted, but now it’s a bittersweet memory!
What is the most memorable Wine Cellar you have built?
I have done a lot of sport, screen and musicians cellars. Fun when you see or hear them and say to yourself- I designed their cellar!
What is your favorite Wine Storage Product and why?
N’FINITY 50 . Great counter height with ample capacity. Reliable and practical. It’s size make it a cool place to show off my decanters on top and serve from as well.

How do you store your wine?
Upstairs in my den the N’FINITY 50 and some extra stash in a root cellar with redwood wine racks in the basement.

If you had to give 1 wine storage tip, what would it be?
All wine is best stored and aged between 50-60 degrees. Red,white or bubbly. Store in this range – take out about 30 minutes to bring to a service temp. Also wine is subjective –if you think it’s good – it is.

What have you drank lately that wowed you?
A Shiner holiday brew from Spoetz Brewery-Texas – Even a “Wine Enthusiast” appreciates a good brew now and then!

Meet Our Wine Storage Consultants: Alan Genee

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 at 11:11:06 AM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

This week meet Alan Genee our Director of Sales and Customer Services who has been at Wine Enthusiast for 12 years.  Alan’s passion for building and carpentry along with his psychology background  made him a natural fit for sales and our wine cellar design department. Whether it be a single corkscrew or a 10,000 bottle custom cellar, Alan’s main focus is to enhance the customer experience.

What was your “Epiphany” wine?
It was a 5 Puttynos Tokaji from the Royal Tokaji Wine Company. I have always had a bit of a sweet tooth and this wine sent me over the top! Dessert wines are still my favorite to this day.

What is the most memorable Wine Cellar you have built?
The custom wine cellar in our Wine Enthusiast showroom. It is something I had envisioned doing for many years, even when we were in our original location. Once we moved to our new headquarters, I was able to take the space from a simple floor plan to the lavish cellar that you see today. It’s wonderful to have our customers come through the door and marvel at this cellar while envisioning something similar in their own home.

What is your favorite Wine Storage Product and why?
I love the simplicity and efficiency of the Silent Wine Refrigerators. They are a perfect gateway for the novice collector into the world of wine storage. Also being close to NYC we have many customers who live in apartments that don’t have the room for the bigger units and are looking for the quietest solution possible.

How do you store your wine?
I have a modest collection that I store in our N’Finity Wine Racks with an N’Finity Cooling Unit. What I love about this system is that as my collection grows I can simply add on racks to my current cellar. It’s also fairly easy for me to assemble/install and I do enjoy the process.

If you had to give 1 wine storage tip, what would it be?
Whether it’s a basic wine refrigerator or a custom built wine cellar with all the trimmings, having a temperature-controlled environment for your collection is an invaluable investment. We have many customers who have lost wines over the years because they thought their basement or pantry closet would suffice. The truth is there are few places in the world that can maintain a steady 55 degree temperature year round without the use of some form of temperature control.

What have you drank lately that wowed you?
I have always been a Dolce fan, so one of my colleagues (Marshall) introduced me to Moshin Vineyard’s Moshin Poshin. It is another Sauternes-style dessert wine from California and it is simply delicious. It’s my new go-to after dinner treat.