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Where Our Passion for Wine & Accessories Is Shared
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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!

Wine Enthusiast Wine Cellar Design: Vintage View

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 at 2:43:58 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

This post launches an exciting new series here on Winston’s Wisdoms, “Wine Enthusiast Wine Cellar Design” in which we will feature real photos of our custom cellar designs, put to use! Today’s featured cellar is a Vintage View cellar utilized by one of our clients, Custom Millcraft at Ocean Prime restaurant in Orlando, Florida.

Vintage View

The vintage view style makes the labels easily readable and creates a gorgeous display. If you are interested in building a cellar like this or of a different style, simply call us at 800.377.3330 and one of our wine storage consultants will be happy to help!

Where’s John and Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Cellar RV? At Ruth’s Chris

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 at 5:13:30 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

One of the most exciting things about having Wine Enthusiast design and build a custom wine cellar in your home, is a personal visit from John Seitz. John is not only one of our Master Wine Cellar Builders, but he travels across the country in the famous Wine Enthusiast Wine Cellar RV. We’ve been highlighting John’s exciting travels here on Winston’s Wisdoms. His latest project has been a beautiful custom wine cellar design at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in St. Louis.

Ruth’s Chris Wine Cellar Design


Ruth’s Chris Wine Cellar Design

Ruth’s Chris was so pleased with John’s work, they chose to write a piece on him:

The man Behind the Cellar
If you were looking to build your own customized wine cellar, and called any of the top cellar builders in the U.S., it would most likely lead to a visit from John Seitz.  His is the master cellar builder for Wine Enthusiast.  His is also the man responsible for the beautiful work done here at Ruth’s Chris in Rogers. He stopped in recently after finishing the new Ruth’s in St. Louis and I was fortunate to learn some about his line of work.
A carpenter by trade, Mr. Seitz was turned on to the idea of building wine cellars by a friend and has now been in the business for twelve years.  I like to think of him as a wine gypsy, as he travels approximately ten months out of the year.  He drives from job to job, very comfortably, in his luxury-laden American Eagle motor home.
Once on site, to create a room, John will plan and design every detail.  He takes into account what the owner likes to drink, collect, and save as well as the budget for the project.  Three to four days after the room is ready, John will go into production, usually installing storage for about 1,000 bottles per day.  His attention to detail is meticulous and the end result is always impeccable.  The tongue in groove woodwork spanning the walls is as much a work of art as the bottles it will soon store.
John Seitz’s work has introduced him to numerous celebrities, professional athletes, and CEOs.  He is given the VIP treatment when visiting wineries around the globe and his daily duties often include drinking wine on the job.  It is possible that he has found the perfect occupation for a wine lover.  John is truly a craftsman who has built a career that is tied to one of his passions.

To book your own appointment with John, fill out our Design Consultation Form or call us today at 800.377.3330.

Wine Wisdoms #38: Petite Sirah, Syrah?

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 at 12:45:20 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Petite Sirah and Syrah can be confused with one another when in actuality, they are 2 entirely different grapes.

Petite Sirah (also called Durif) is a thick-skinned black grape, which was an offspring of Syrah in the late 1800′s, but now it is entirely its own varietal. It creates an incredibly dense and tannic red wine that is often used for blending but can be found on its own as well. It doesn’t appeal to everyone but its fans are passionate. It even has an advocacy group, P.S. I Love You!

Syrah is a dark-skinned grape as well which yields powerful wines too, though not as dark as Petite Sirah. Syrah was first planted in the Rhone Valley of France but has now expanded globally, most notably to Australia where it’s known as Shiraz.

We offer both Petite Sirah and Syrah at

Wine Wisdoms #37: What’s Behind a Rose

Thursday, July 16th, 2009 at 2:08:21 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Rose Wine Contrary to popular belief, rosés are not often made by mixing red and white wines. The best method is called the saigné method which is essentially the same as the process for making a red wine, but the grape skins have a shorter period of contact with the wine (maceration). This yields a more pale-hued wine, rather than a red wine. This shorter period of skin contact means that rosés not only have a paler color, but less tannin and a different aromatic profile than red wines.

Roses can be made in a sweet or dry style and from a variety of red grapes including Zinfandel, Grenache, Merlot, Mourvedre and more.

As featured in the July issue of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, read more at

Multi-Temp Wine Storage For Reds & Whites: 1-Temp, 2-Temp, or 3-Temp

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009 at 3:09:03 PM
by David M., Wine Enthusiast Companies

“I’m wondering if I need to buy a Multi-Temp for my reds & whites?”2-Temp Wine Enthusiast Built-In Wine Refrigerator
This is a common question I hear from customers looking to buy a refrigerated wine cabinet. There is really no wrong answer to this, because it is all about your needs and lifestyle. For optimal aging conditions, we recommend all wines (reds, whites, champagnes and even ports) to be stored at 55 degrees. However, if you entertain a lot and prefer immediate wine service, then a multi-temp dual-zone wine cellar is a fine solution as you have compartments to instantly enjoy reds at 65 degrees and whites at 47 degrees. (Although you lose out on some of the benefits of long-term aging at these temperatures.) If you have the ability and time to take a red out, decant it and let it warm up to slightly below room temp, or you can chill a white down on ice, then a one-temp might be for you! One advantage to a single temp cabinet is that you generally can store more bottles in the unit.EuroCave Comfort 1-Temp

Most people are familiar with 1-temp or 2-temp units, Eurocave even makes a 3-temp model. The lower section houses approximately 12-18 standard size bottles, the temperature is set for white wine service. The very top of the unit has another separated compartment that houses approximately 8-12 bottles at red wine service temp, while the rest of the unit is at recommended 55 degree storage.

Of course if you have any questions or are unclear as which application would suit you the best, our Wine Enthusiast Storage Consultants are available at 800.377.3330 to make it easy for you!

Drink What You Like, Out of What You Like

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 at 4:42:12 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

The glassware you use should be a solution and not a cause for greater problems. This is why wine glasses come in a variety of materials and shapes, and we choose to offer all of them. While we try to educate our customers on the benefit of selecting an appropriately shaped glass to allow for greater enjoyment (and yes, it does make a difference!), some folks prefer something more casual like a stemless wine glass or something polycarbonate, for outdoor use.

Yesterday I read a post about drinking wine from plastic cups, on Serious Eats. In the post, Deb Harkness (who writes the blog Good Wine Under $20) spoke about a tasting hosted by Georg Riedel, where she learned the importance of proper stemware. She suggests that people ditch their plastic cups and spend about as much on a single wine glass as they would on a bottle of wine, among other things. The discussion heated up in the comments section. Despite good intentions, people seemed truly fired up by being told what to drink out of! I was surprised that something so harmless could cause such a stir.

Wine Wisdoms #36: Broken Corks? Don’t Stress

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 at 12:42:16 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Broken Cork

Corks can break and crumble on old wines, or when a clunky corkscrew causes a problem. Unfortunately this often leads people to panic: Oh no! My wine is ruined! It’s corked!

Don’t stress. If the cork breaks in half and the remaining half is stil intact, simply give it another go and see if you can extract the rest. If the cork has completely crumbled, the best thing to do is to push the pieces into the bottle so they don’t block the neck. Most likely, the wine won’t be harmed by the cork. Pour the wine and give it a smell to look for off-aromas.  If the cork is tainted, the wine smells musty, like wet newspaper, or it has no smell. In this case, you’ll have to discard the bottle. If the wine smells fine, just ignore those pesky cork pieces and pull them out as you pour.

Having a great corkscrew and a humidity-controlled wine cellar (to keep the corks moist) are two great defendants against broken corks. We offer a wide assortment of wine openers and corkscrews, wine cellars, and wine refrigerators, so you never have to deal with broken corks!

Decanter Design and Aeration (Plus, Our Contest Winners!)

Thursday, June 18th, 2009 at 2:48:20 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Because we offer a wide variety of decanters in many styles, we are often asked what the differences are. Does a decanter’s shape affect the wine’s aeration?

The answer is that it can, in subtle ways. Letting your wine “breathe” in a decanter softens harsh tannins and releases its full bouquet. The more space there is in the decanter, the more air can reach the wine. Thus a narrow, tall decanter would aerate more slowly than a wide decanter with a large bowl. The use of a stopper would affect the aeration as well because the stopper prevents air from getting in, slowing aeration. The opening at the top can make a difference too as this is where the air flows. The larger the opening, the more aeration.

In January we launched our first Decanter Design Contest, calling on our customers’ creative juices to design an elegant and exciting new decanter for us. Our first and second place designs are great examples of how a decanter shape can affect aeration.

Our winning design was a fluid-catamaran-like form with ample room for wine aeration. This decanter is expansive, allowing for faster aeration.

Catamaran Decanter Design

Our second place winner designed a more compact decanter which permits gentle swirling without exposing the wine to excessive air.

Celtic Decanter Design

One design allows for faster aeration by spreading the wine across a great surface area and the other is a slower process, in a more compact vessel. You might use the first decanter for a young, tannic wine that requires tremendous aeration and the second for a soft wine that requires less. The most important thing is choosing a decanter that is functional and looks beautiful on the dinner table! By the way, congratulations to our winners: Eric Hwang, Mark T. Maclean-Blevins and Bozena Wysowski!

Browse our full selection of elegant decanters here 

Wine Wisdoms #35: Wine Fining

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 at 5:11:14 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies


Fining is a process that goes on in the final stages of the winemaking process, typically when the wine is in barrel. Fining is used to remove unwanted sediment from the final wine. A substance is added to the wine which pulls the heavier materials together so that they congeal and can be removed from the wine in another process called racking. Most commonly egg whites or bentonite (a powdered clay substance) are used in the fining process. Fining can reduce tannin astrigency and yield a more clear wine but it is not always needed. Some wines are totally unfined, it is a choice that the winemaker makes.

Wine Wisdoms #34: What’s in a Vintage?

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009 at 4:29:38 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Brunello di Montalcino La Lecciaia All wine, (non-vintage excluded) has a vintage year associated with it. The vintage year is always the year that the grapes were picked, regardless of how long the wine was aged.  For example, a 2001 Brunello may not be bottled and available on store shelves until 2006, due to the time it ages in oak and bottle, but the grapes used to make that Brunello were picked in 2001. Wine can age in oak or stainless steel for months or years, before being bottled.