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Our namesake the Baltimore Clipper Schooner, "Vigilant" sailed commercially on the world's oceans for over 130 years. For us here at Vigilant it represents superior design, durability, dependability and value. All of the wine cellars, wine racks, wine cellar doors, custom cabinetry and millwork, cigar and gun cabinets that bear the Vigilant name are crafted with those values in mind. We build our products using the finest materials and craftsmanship for the enjoyment of our customers.
July 2014
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DON’T LOSE MONEY buying cheap retail shelving

Posted By on July 23, 2014

If you are in the process of researching retail wine shelving for your new or existing wine store, there are many important factors to consider in addition to price. The cheapest option may not offer you the best value. Following are some of the key components we at Vigilant think are critical and are taken into account when hand crafting our wine shelving.

Quality Vigilant retail wine racks

Vigilant wine racking can be combined to make islands for wine bottle display and storage

 Design: The design of your wine rack shelving is a crucial component to achieve proper durability and functionality required for efficient, effective merchandising and organization of your inventory. The wine rack design is also crucial to ensure a functional, durable yet aesthetically appealing display. At Vigilant we have a team of design experts that can layout the best wine storage solution for your retail space.


The layout and aesthetic appeal of your retail store is an important part of increasing wine sales.

Structure/Durability: With retail wine racks and wine shelving, design, quality and durability are very important factors to consider. Given the tough environment of wine retail stores, quality and durability are key in determining how long your wine racks will hold up and how long they will maintain their aesthetic appeal. We use the highest quality hard woods, and time tested construction methods, when manufacturing all of our wine racks and wine shelving products.


Wine Bins and Wine Shelving must be sturdy for long term storage and heavy use


Sturdiness/Component Parts/Materials: Harder woods will hold up better under tough conditions, are easier to work with and accept finish well. A softer wood tends to get dinged up more quickly and can take stain unevenly. The thickness of the wine rack’s component parts: uprights, slats and panels also affect the racks durability and looks. The thicker the components parts, the more durable the wine rack. Since the shelving will need to support a great deal of weight, this is a very important factor. The rack should also be sturdy and free from swaying side to side, which occurs when poorly designed spacer bars are used. Snug fitting dadoed spacer bars that attach to the rack upright ensure the racks stability and avoid the rack wobble. We value quality and do not skip important construction components that are critical to long term wine storage needs. Learn about the Vigilant Advantage and what makes our products more superior.


A mixture of wine shelving, wine cubes and wine racks create an attractive layout for volume wine bottle storage and display

Protection: The wine shelving must be designed to hold up under heavy loads and designed so that the bottles are protected. If the front slats on a wine rack are not angled and the edges are not eased, bottle labels can tear and customers hands can get scratched. As a standard we have angled slats and eased edges on all our wine racks to ensure minimize these issues. Wine racks should also have a base or toe kick to be sure the lowest bottle placement is lifted off the ground to avoid breakage and loss of revenue.

Facings:  Facings, or the number of different wine bottles displayed for sale, is a very important consideration when choosing your retail wine racks. Customers tend to buy more wine when they can easily see wine bottle labels. We offer many display shelving options that can stand alone, such as island displays, or be readily integrated with wine racking or wine shelving.


Remember to ensure your wine is easily accessible in addition to looking good and being functional.

Back Stock: In many instances, the ability to store the remainder of a full case within the display rack is important, especially when there is limited back room storage in the store. Our wine bins with multiple divider slats, island display shelves, and Wine Wave Cubes all provide ample storage space for excess wine bottle storage.

Accessibility: While maximizing facings is always important, you also want to be sure that the customer can easily remove the takeaway bottle, without disturbing or taking the display bottle. Our attention to the components when designing and constructing our wine racks and wine shelving take this into account and provide easy access to wine bottles.


There are many ways to add signage for wine information, and sales and promotions.

Signage: Different types of display racks require different signage styles. Some will need only a ticket molding on the front of the shelf to reference the SKU and the price. For other styles, more information may be needed and larger signboard will be required. No matter what your need, Vigilant offers a signboard solution to meet that need.

Vigilant’s Hand Carved Wine Cellar Doors

Posted By on June 11, 2014

Hand Carved Panels in Wine Cellar Doors

Vigilant Woodworks is proud to announce our new, beautiful hand carved wine cellar doors at an introductory price of:
$3,225 (reg $3,465) for 30-32″ wide doors and,
$3,325 (reg $3,565) for 36″ wide doors.
Learn More…

NH wood sculptor Jeffrey Cooper

New Hampshire wood sculptor, Jeffrey Cooper, hand carves designs for Vigilant’s solid wood wine cellar doors.

We have recently partnered with Jeffrey Cooper, an expert wood sculptor located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire to offer our customers hand carved wine cellar doors of the highest quality, reminiscent of the traditional Arts and Crafts craftsmanship.

Jeffrey’s custom furniture pieces and unique sculptures have been featured in libraries, museums, hospitals and homes throughout the country. He is a juried member of the NH Furniture Masters Association and is an active participant in their exhibitions each year.  He is also a member of the New England Sculpture Association, the Guild of NH Woodworkers and now is a woodworking and sculpture juror for the League of NH Craftsmen.

Learn More about Jeffrey Cooper by visiting his website: cooperwoodsculptor.com

We are offering 3 standard design options: wine cellar, vineyard or grapevine or send us your own artwork and let us create a beautiful, one of a kind, wine cellar door for you.

Vigilant Hand Carved Standard Door Design Options

Our three standard design options:  1) Wine Cellar  2) Vineyard  3) Grapevine


Hand drawn artwork carved into a Vigilant solid wood wine cellar door by NH wood sculptor Jeffrey Cooper.

The process begins with a hand sketched drawing of the intended carved image. This can be one of our standard designs or it can be a custom drawing created from a piece of artwork of your choice.

Once the sketch has been sent to you and approved, Jeffrey then uses the old fashioned, traditional carving method to painstakingly recreate the design and transform a blank piece of wood into your hand carved masterpiece.

Hand carved panel for Vigilant's solid wood wine cellar door

A hand carving for a Vigilant wine cellar door in process at Jeffrey’s wood workshop

Once the carved panel is complete, a technique that takes about 6 weeks, we finish the process by carefully building the hand carved panel into one of our beautiful, solid mahogany wine cellar doors.

Hand carved solid wood wine cellar door

Our newest partner, Jeffrey Cooper, proudly standing next to a finished Vigilant wine cellar door with his hand carved panel

Contact us today to learn more about this process and how Vigilant can make your wine cellar door a truly remarkable piece of art. (888) 812-4427


Wine cocktails…the Perfect Summer Sipper!

Posted By on June 9, 2014

wine cocktails

Wine Cocktails rise in popularity in the summer due to their light crisp flavors


Looking for something new to add to your favorite light summer beverages? Why not experiment with wine cocktails? They’re crisp and wonderful sipping coolers that compliment the sizzling summer heat as they offer a wallop of freshness and customarily have lower alcohol content. Following are some varieties of wines that are good choices for your cocktails. But remember to take your personal tastes into consideration. If you prefer a Cabernet over a Merlot than it makes good sense to use your preferred wine as the base in your cocktail.

Champagne:The effervescence of Champagne makes it a very popular choice when mixing a wine cocktail. It is typically mixed with liqueurs, fruits and sodas and produces a satisfying thirst-quenching result.


An Italian sparkling white wine that is an affordable substitute to champagne. Made from the Prosecco grape, which delivers a sweeter flavor and fruity aroma, this wine is perfect when combined with fruits and fruit juices to achieve a balanced flavor.


Sparkling Wine

Sparkling wines can range from very dry to semi-sweet. The drier wines pair well with sweeter partners like cordials and fruit. In the sweeter wines, many forged from fruits like strawberries, watermelon and cranberries, offer a natural sweetness and extract of fruit that adds another layer of seasoning to wine cocktails. Consider adding some acidity like lime juice or citrus to help create symmetry with the sweetness.

Pinot Gris
Pinot Gris wine cocktails are perfection when combined with stone fruits like peaches, cherries, apricots and fruit juices such as apple, cranberry and pineapple.



Moscato is another fruit-friendly bubbly wine with a lighter style that can be mixed with an array of fruit juices.


A light-bodied Italian red wine with floral and spicy aromas is a great wine for more exotic cocktails like Sangria that pair savory items like brandy, tequila, triple sec and lime juice.



A red wine like Merlot can be mixed with a variety of fruit and juices but it is recommended to blend fruits like cherries, berries, black current and plums to compliment the wine grape’s natural flavor profile.


Most Importantly — Be Creative

Don’t be afraid to add your own creativity when making a wine cocktail. However, before randomly mixing ingredients, consider the four basic flavor profiles of sweet, sour, spice and savor as well as your own profile partiality.


You can develop your own degree of sweetness for cocktails by using ingredients such as sugar, agave, maple syrup, molasses, honey and juice. A simple syrup is easy to make by taking one part wine variety and one part sugar, pulverize an herb or fruit into with a blender and strain it.


Sour adds acidity to a drink. Use lemons, limes, citrus and even wine or vinegar to add tartness.

Make sure you balance your drink so that it is not too sweet or too tart. You can always counterbalance a sweet drink with some sour and vice versa.


Ingredients like cayenne pepper and Tabasco sauce add a needed spice to wine cocktails because they do not contain as much alcohol as regular liquor that naturally feels like it’s spiced. Experiment with spices and spiced fizzes that appeal to your palette.


Savory profiles found in herbs, spices and vegetables, make a cocktail interesting because they help harmonize a bitter or sour flavor of a fermented wine or added ingredients.


Understanding these principal flavor profiles will make it easier to be creative with your wine cocktail medleys. Experiment and be as wicked as the summer sun or as playful as waves that tickle a sandy beach.

Need some inspiration? Check out this index of over 200 wine-based cocktail recipes







Anatomy of a Refrigerated Wine Cabinet

Posted By on April 3, 2014

An elegant restaurant experience is created through a combination of dining room atmosphere, food presentation, interesting flavors, and wine. For clubs and restaurants with large wine collections, this means keeping wine bottles at perfect temperatures for serving and for long term storage. An increasingly popular appliance for the industry is the refrigerated wine cabinet. If you are considering acquiring one or more of these practical cabinets, you might want to take a short anatomy lesson.


Vigilant Woodwork's bank of custom refrigerated wine cabinets for the Bokx 109 Restaurant.

The trendy lounge and dining room at the Bokx 109 Restaurant at the Hotel Indigo in Newton, MA, features a bank of custom wine cabinets in full view of the guests, enhancing the atmosphere and allowing the restaurant to sell more wine.

The outer shell: The cabinet body should be constructed of a high R-value insulated material. Structural Insulated Panels, or SIPs, having an R-value of at least 10 are favored, and the cabinet should be sealed against condensation. Be sure you are not buying particle board, and look for exterior-quality solid hardwood door jambs to ensure cabinet strength. Check to see if the interior is finished. Durable finishes protect the cabinet against moisture and spills.

The feet: Be sure your cabinet is equipped with commercial-grade adjustable leveling feet. The cabinets may be filled with 600 pounds of wine, so it is vitally important that the cabinet is level to ensure a tight door seal.

Vigilant's refrigerated wine cabinets find a home along one wall of the Martingale Wharf Club's dining area

A bank of refrigerated wine cabinets line one wall of the new Martingale Wharf riverside restaurant in Portsmouth, NH. Note the etched glass logo on the doors.

The doors: The front of your cabinet will be made up of a glass door, so for the sake of energy efficiency, be sure to demand high r-value glass, preferably double-paneled and argon-filled. Better glass prevents a common problem of condensation on the glass surfaces and helps prevent loss of energy. An exterior grade weather stripping and heavy-duty bommer hinges also ensure proper door alignment and seal. For best cabinet performance, the wood portions of the door and jambs should be solid wood and at least 1 ¾-inches thick.

The internal systems: The heart of your wine cabinet is its cooling system. In a busy setting where the doors will be opened and closed often, the cooling system has to be able to keep up. It should be quiet and reliable, commercially rated, and vibration-free. In addition, there should be a mechanism for removing condensate to prevent water damage. Your installation may involve a ducted, ductless or split cooling system with or without humidification. Consult an experienced engineering team with specialized expertise in fine wine storage.

Wine cabinets shown with accent lighting in Salt Restaurant.

In the SALT restaurant at the Wentworth-by-the-Sea Hotel in Newcastle, NH, the custom wine cabinets and display lighting lend a dramatic backdrop to the lounge area.

Appearance: Many of these cabinets are built as fine furniture and belong in the dining area in view of guests. Soft, warm display lighting enhances the beauty of the cabinet and its contents. The wood exteriors can be custom stained to match existing millwork, making an attractive accent piece for the room’s décor.  Look for a variety of furniture styles to match your traditional or contemporary dining room or lounge fixtures. An expert design and architecture team can help integrate the design, functionality and performance of your wine cabinets.

Consult with the Experts at Vigilant Woodworks: Our refrigerated wine cabinets are backed by our satisfaction guarantee and the best warranty in the industry. Our team includes woodworkers, designers and consultants with experience in providing solutions for wine storage with superior beauty and performance. From your first phone call, you’ll be connected with the industry leaders in the installation of commercial-grade, furniture-quality refrigerated wine cabinets. All of our products are crafted in the USA by New England artisans in our Dover, New Hampshire woodworking facility.

Answering the Wine Temperature Dilemma

Posted By on March 11, 2014

Long Term Wine Storage Temperature

The length of storage needed determines the best storage temperature.

Having your wine stored under perfect conditions in your home or business can present many challenges.  First, there is not one magic temperature that is perfect for all wines at all times.  Are you storing old-growth Bordeaux’s for the long term or a Chardonnay for dinner tonight? Maybe you are doing both.  For simplicity, we’ll leave humidity out of this discussion but in general the relative humidity for wine storage should be about 60-65%.

As we travel the country designing and installing wine cabinets and wine cellars in hotels, restaurants and homes, we inevitably end up in the middle of the wine temperature debate.  How do we safely store our wine and still serve it at the best temperature? What if we have whites and reds in the same cabinet? What are the ideal storage and serving temperatures?  The answers to these questions are not simple, but serious consideration should be given to them as part of your plan to purchase a wine cabinet(s) or build a wine cellar or small wine room.

Serving wine temperature

Serving wine temperature varies based on the grape variety and region

Storage Temperature:
There is fairly universal agreement that the best long term storage temperature is approximately 55 F degrees.  Any temperature greater than 65 degrees F will cause wine to age prematurely, and storing wine in cooler than 55 degree temperature will slow the aging process.

Serving Temperature:
Serving temperatures vary greatly depending on the wine’s grape variety and its region. We provide the following Proper Wine Serving Temperature list showing recommended serving temperatures for various wines, starting as low as 39 degrees for sparkling whites and going up to 65 degrees some heartier reds.  Wines served too cold will lose flavor, balance and aroma.

If you are regularly storing and serving both red and white wines, you will probably need a duel zone cabinet – one higher temperature zone for reds and one lower zone for whites. You must decide what is more important, having wines ready to serve immediately at the perfect serving temperature or keeping them preserved for the ages.  If there is a clear answer, then set your cooling zone(s) accordingly and load your cabinet (reds and whites can share a zone, but you’ll have to warm or cool one of them prior to serving).

If you need red and white zones for both serving and storage, you should add a third zone.  In that case your zones will look like this:

Zone 1: 44 degrees for serving whites

Zone 2: 55 degrees for all long term storage

Zone 3: 64 degrees for serving reds


Vigilant Refrigerated Wine Cabinets

Vigilant’s Refrigerated Wine Cabinets can be conditioned for wine storage, serving wine or both temperatures.

Vigilant’s refrigerated wine cabinets can be configured to accommodate any wine storage or serving needs. Call us today and speak with one of our cabinet specialists: (888) 812-4427.

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