Welcome To Vigilant's Blog...

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 our wine cellars, wine racks, wine cellar doors, wine cabinets and lockers, custom cabinetry and millwork, and cigar 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.

Our Mission to Create the Most Secure Wine Lockers

Posted By on July 18, 2017

Prestige, exclusivity and security are a few words that come to mind with the growing wine locker trend.  This was the vision that Vine Vault owners Michael Lamb and Elton Potts had in mind when they sought out Vigilant to create custom wine lockers for their wine tasting rooms in both Atlanta and Austin. Vine Vault’s mission is to create an all-inclusive wine storage experience fit to delight any oenophile. The facilities are the Fort Knox of wine storage with the option of securing your most prized collection in a “vault-within a vault.”  The Austin Vault is sealed behind UL Class 125, a bank grade door and can withstand 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit – enough to give John Dillinger a run for his money.  But in all seriousness Vine Vault has created an unparalleled experience keeping its members bottles protected and stored in optimal conditions.  The Vine Vault also includes white-glove concierge services, appraisals, insurance, delivery and tasting rooms fit for the most formal occasion or to just simply enjoy a glass of wine.  When asked to take on this project we knew we had a high standard to uphold and we were dedicated to delivering superior results.

Vine Vault wine storage facility

After some back and forth we finally nailed down the perfect design of wine lockers for their tasting rooms. Both locker banks were handcrafted out of solid mahogany to create a classic look of luxury. In Austin, we created a bank of 28 lockers standing 9 feet tall and 10 feet wide securing up to 12 bottles for each member. In Atlanta, we crafted a bank of 54 individual lockers designed to hold up to 12 bottles of wine. The Atlanta Vine Vault lockers stand a whopping 13 feet high and 12 feet wide including a customized rolling ladder, allowing members to easily access their wine.  To complete the look and add to the “prestige” we included brushed nickel nameplates so members can easily find their personal treasured wine collection.

Security was our next priority and we knew it needed to be top-notch to add to the “exclusivity.” In the past we’ve done a lot of lock and key security systems. But this time around, we knew we needed something a little more high-tech so we agreed upon digital key pads. Each locker harnesses state-of-the-art technology allowing members to create their own secret passcode for access to their collection.

Now, no locker bank is complete without the latest climate control technology to keep members wine at the optimal temperature. Austin was outfitted with a self-contained cooling system behind removable wood-framed louvered panels. In Atlanta, we installed a remote ducted cooling system allowing each locker to receive the ideal air-flow. In addition to the cooling systems, each locker is fully insulated keeping everyone’s wine at an ideal temperature.

Refrigerated wine cabinets created for the Vine Vault

In the end, everything came together perfectly, adding the cherry-on-top sophistication to their tasting rooms. At Vigilant, our number one priority is customer satisfaction that’s why we were delighted to hear that the Vine Vault team was happy with the results and that they will be calling us for a third location, set to open in Miami later this year. To learn more about Vigilant’s offerings visit our wine lockers page or call us at 1-888-812-4427.



Incorporating Wine into Contemporary Home Design

Posted By on March 30, 2017

Custom refrigerated wine cabinet in NYC residence
Wine dates back as far as history, so it is no surprise wine has earned its reputation for being traditional, however, it’s the 21st century and gone are the days of wine storage being limited to traditional styles. Wine is no longer confined to dark cellars as wine collections are becoming something to showcase — statement pieces even. While your ultimate experience will always be in the pleasure of its consumption, a fine bottle of wine can also be considered as art. Why not display your wine collection so you can enjoy it no matter when it’s consumed.

By bringing wine out of the dark and into the light, wine cabinets present us with an opportunity to involve wine within our interior design and home décor. Even those with walk-in wine cellars choose to incorporate wine cabinets into their main living decor for both presentation and convenience- it is a true example of form meets function. A wine cabinet in a dining room, open plan kitchen or even a space such as a foyer or hallway provides a display for those exceptional wines or allows easier access to everyday wines. A custom wine cabinet also has the ability to change the tone of a room and create that ambiance that wine does so effortlessly.

Wine storage has been very traditional in style until now. What is the cause of this change? Well, in short, because design changes. Wine may be a constant, in that it’s more or less the same now as it was 100 years ago, but the way we store and display it does not need to be so rigid. As home design meets the 21st century, so does wine storage design. Our wine cabinets can be custom designed with contemporary lines and materials to blend seamlessly with a contemporary environment. What makes one wine cabinet contemporary over traditional? There are three main stylistic elements to a wine cabinet such as wood color and finish, the style of interior racking and hardware. By veering away from natural wood colors, choosing more modern interior racking such as metal racking or pegs and customizing hardware one can quickly, and easily, create a contemporary style. We are capable of full customization, meaning there are no design limitations and cabinets can match any style and décor.

A great example is a contemporary wine cabinet project we recently completed in New York City. This client had a very contemporary décor and needed a cabinet that would lend to the style of the space. This custom refrigerated wine cabinet was designed and built to meet our client’s style and storage specifications. Due to the location where it would reside, the cabinet was designed to have glass side panels and full glass panel doors to better showcase the wine and to provide more aesthetic appeal. Learn more about what makes this wine cabinet unique and the project details by visiting us here. You will also find more cabinet design ideas in our gallery.

Contact us today to discuss how a Vigilant wine cabinet will fit into your home design.

Wine cabinet in contemporary space

Custom wine cabinet by Vigilant Inc.

Cleaning Out Your Closet…and Converting it into a Wine Closet

Posted By on November 23, 2016

wine closet, wine room, wine closet conversion, under stairs wine room

It seems that regardless of your home’s size, it can be a struggle to find enough room to store everything. With limited space, home owners and interior designers are always seeking intelligent design to best utilize what little space is available. What they are finding is that despite how full their closets may be, they’re often extremely underused. Closets have evolved into spaces where we conceal random belongings that often have no real use in the home. Converting a regular closet into a wine storage closet is becoming recognized as smart option for underutilized closet space.

No matter the shape or size, utilizing a closet for wine storage can be an effective solution. You don’t need a large, walk-in closet to have a usable space for a wine closet conversion. A small closet works well as a wine cellar and also as a great space for a built-in wine cabinet.

What do you need to convert your closet into a wine closet?

1. An available closet: It can be near the kitchen, dining room, living room or even in the basement. Any size space is suitable for wine storage. Large closets may be converted into walk-in wine closets, while smaller closets can be converted to reach in wine storage or designed to accept a built-in wine cabinet.

Before wine closet conversion

Helpful tip
*Tip: don’t have an available closet? Get creative and find if there are any unused spaces in your walls, such as the odd space under the stairs. With some construction work, these space can easily become a wine closet.


2. Wine racking: Standard closets can easily incorporate our Vigilant kit wine racking and for those closets that are odd shapes or sizes, Vigilant offers custom wine racking to suit.

After wine closet conversion

Helpful tip
*Tip: get the most out of a small space with diamond bin wine bulk racking for a higher bottle capacity.



3. Wine cellar doors: Don’t overlook the importance of the wine cellar door. An insulated wine cellar door not only helps in the regulation of temperature and humidity, but is what differentiates your wine closet from an otherwise regular-looking, old fashioned closet.

Wine cellar door

Helpful tip

*Note: if you are converting a small wine room that you cannot walk into, be sure that the door is the width of the closet so you can access all wine storage areas with the door open. French doors provide a great way to both view and access wine rooms. Vigilant can build custom French doors, so regardless of your doorway size they are always an option- even for more narrow doorways.


4. Cooling system (optional): For those seeking long-term storage of their fine wine or for the distinguished wine lover, a cooling system can provide the ideal wine storage environment and the luxury of having wine readily available at the perfect serving temperature. Though cooling systems do involve additional work and expense, including the addition of vapor barrier, insulation and electricity, Vigilant can make your cooled closet conversion easy.

Wine cellar cooling system


5. Wine: The ‘icing on the cake’, fill your wine closet with your favorite bottles of wine and always have wine on-hand for your enjoyment no matter you and your guest’s tastes and preferences. The purpose of having a wine closet is to enjoy it, granted it’s hard not to.

Wine closet conversion


See examples of wine closet conversions and get more design ideas.

If you simply cannot part with the belongings in your closet to make room for a wine closet, or if you’re not looking for such a permanent wine storage, wine cabinets are a great option. Vigilant offers wine cabinets in a variety of sizes and finishes, to fit any decor and space.


Humidors in Motion

Posted By on November 23, 2016

Despite living in an ever-changing, fast-paced world, cigars have managed to remain steeped in rich tradition and are one of the few things that remind us of a slower time. The beauty of the cigar is that in most ways it has remained constant. Unlike many other industries, the cigar industry doesn’t require continual evolution and technological advance. With an increasingly digital and fast paced world, people are inevitably becoming more mobile. What if cigars could move with us without compromising their ideal storage environment? That’s exactly what we have been developing with custom cigar humidors in motion.

Imagine having a built-in cigar humidor cabinet on-board a yacht and enjoying a perfectly stored cigar at sea. Or instead of a bulky desktop humidor box, imagine storing your cigars in a built-in, removable cigar drawer. These are some of the features we have designed into our mobile humidors.

The distinguishing cigar aficionado knows not all humidors are created equal. Most think of humidors as stationary desktop boxes or humidor cabinets. The pull out cigar drawer or “humidrawer” is not front of mind because of the constrictions caused by the humidification system. Electronic humidification systems require power and the use of distilled water. A pull out cigar drawer using this type of humidification system would be encumbered by the power cord and would allow water to spill and splash causing damage to the humidor. This restriction was addressed by our experts by designing a custom system that utilizes a special humidification agent and a flexible retractable power cord. This enables the humidrawer to function in conjunction with the system, allowing the humidor to maintain the ideal environment for the storage of cigars.

Moving off land and onto the sea, the yachting world is no stranger to making ideas come to life. It’s an industry where if you can dream it, you can do it, from on-board submarines to anti-paparazzi lasers that block photographer’s cameras from capturing images. However, when it comes to storing cigars on your yacht, the rolling and sometime turbulent motion requires a customized humidor solution, strategically engineered to account for its home on a moving vessel. One such project included the custom built-in humidor we designed and handcrafted for the stateroom on the 100 foot luxury charter yacht, King Baby. This beautiful humidor was designed and crafted so that guests can enjoy the pleasure of smoking perfectly humidified cigars as they cruise the waterways. Until now, cigar and yacht lovers were often restricted to small cigar humidor boxes, but with the help of Vigilant now seafarers can enjoy the true luxury of a built-in cigar humidor and leave the small cigar humidor boxers behind.

Much of what we do is custom made and because we have people—not machines designing and building our products, we are able to build humidors without traditional limitations. Much like the yachting world, what we produce is only limited to the imaginations of our customers.


Holiday Wine Selection Made Easy

Posted By on November 18, 2016

The holidays are a time to celebrate, unwind and enjoy the company of family and friends. However, that’s not entirely the case when you are hosting the event that is the holiday dinner party. Any host will agree- it takes a lot of work to make the holiday dinner successful. It’s no surprise that during the holidays wine sales are higher than for any other season throughout the entire year. If there wasn’t enough pressure on the host to prepare the a delicious meal with mouthwatering sides and desserts to tempt even the fullest of stomachs, add in the stress of choosing the perfect wine to complement the affair.

Wine isn’t there to just look good and set a festive and celebratory tone, ideally wine should also enhance the flavors in food. During holiday suppers and dinner parties, it’s not only the variety of the foods on the table, but also the differing wine preferences of your guests that adds to the difficulty of choosing the right wine for the table. Considering the heavy, pre-winter foods that generally involve seasoned meats, heavy starches, savory dressings and crisp vegetables and your guest’s vastly different wine tastes, the task of wine selection can be daunting. How does one know which wine to serve?

First and foremost: relax

Well, to start there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ wine to serve. It’s ultimately a matter of taste and preference.  For those without a go-to wine or those looking to veer off the path of routine wines, the good news is that there are some lesser known wines that are likely to send you and your guests’ palates to sensory delight.

While there is no one size fits all of holiday wines, there are common sentiments among connoisseurs and sommeliers. You are not likely to hear a sommelier suggest the classic holiday Beaujolais or the Chardonnay butter bomb. Of course this doesn’t help you make an informed decision as to what to put on the table for your guests to enjoy.

Hold off on serving your best wines

Even if you’re the most distinguishing wine enthusiast, don’t feel compelled to bring out your best wines. If you have the pleasure of owning a wine cellar, this might even be a good time to put a lock on it to avoid the late night wine cellar raid that is so common when hosting a dinner party. There are many other wines that will complement the meal just as well. The holidays are a time of indulgence, but that doesn’t mean it demands your finest wines.

Regardless, there are certain things to look for in your bottles of wines:

What to look for:

  • Bright & fruity wines. Super-dry wines can die in the presence of all that fruit, sugar and salt. Look for whites with a bit of residual sugar. Reds are more difficult as they’re almost always dry, but shoot for a fruity red with sparse amounts of spice.
  • Lower alcohol content. For a family affair, and to avoid that sleepy feeling after the meal, chose wines with lower alcohol levels. Bigger reds and whites tend to be higher in alcohol content so chose lighter options with lower alcohol levels.
  • Tannin-level. Tannins pair best with foods higher in fat such as beef and pork by creating a balance of oils and fats. If you’re serving a meat such as chicken or turkey, which are generally lower in fat, look for low tannins. If you’re serving a fattier meat such as beef or pork, a wine high in tannins would be a better choice.
  • Low (to no) oak. Oak-heavy wines are typically more intense and will likely overwhelm the flavors in typical winter dishes. Stick to the old rule: “smoke with oak” on this one.
  • Medium body. A rule of wine pairing is that the body of the wine should match the food. Typical holiday foods are not quite rich enough to warrant a full bodied wine, but beware going light doesn’t mean playing it safe- it means you’ll simply lose your light wine to the richer food. A medium body is also generally easier to drink and pairs more easily with an array of foods and will please a wider array of guest’s palates.



Most commonly served red: Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is a solid choice (assuming you’re picking a good quality pinot), because a high-acid, low-tannin Pinot with bright cherry and cranberry flavors will pair well with most holiday dishes. Some other grape varietals to consider include:

  • Grenache blends: Red fruit flavor profile with subtle spice undertones that are generally soft on the palate.
  • Zinfandel: Light-bodied with moderate tannins offer a bold taste due to higher acidity.
  • Pinot Noir: High acid and low tannins with dark fruits and floral notes present a nice medium-body.

Reds to try:

  • Grenache blend
    • Rioja Bordon Crianza, Bodegas Franco-Espanolas 2010 ($13), Spain
    • Morgan Grenache/Syrah ($14), California
    • Yalumba, Old Bush Vine Grenache 2011 ($19), Australia
  • Zinfandel
    • Montevina Zinfandel 2006 ($11), California
    • Rancho Zabaco Reserve Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2010 ($8), California
    • Feudo Monaci Primitivo 2002 ($9), Italy
  • Pinot Noir
    • 2012/13 Arterberry Maresh Pinot Noir ($25), Oregon
    • 2006 Pencarrow Martinborough Pinot Noir ($18), New Zealand
    • 2005 Chateau de Sancerre Rouge ($21), France
      • OR: Bodega Chacra, Barda Pinot Noir 2007 ($24), Argentina



Most commonly served white: Chardonnay. While most often served, this isn’t always the best choice. It may sound logical to match butter-rich foods such as mashed potatoes, yams and butter-smothered vegetables with a buttery Chardonnay, but not in this case. The richness of the Chardonnay can overpower the food flavor. Instead, try a white that will work to bring out the flavors in your dishes with one of the following:


  • German Riesling: May be dry or sweet, but usually on the sweeter side. Fruity flavor with touches of peaches or apricots and a floral fragrance.
  • Viognier: Floral and fruity, essences of peach, apricot and pear with low acidity.
  • Pinot Gris: From the same grape variety as Pinot Grigio, it is light and fruity with medium acidity.

Whites to try:

  • Riesling:
    • Rheinhold Haart Piesporter Kabinett ($18), Germany
    • Ryan Patrick Riesling ($10), Washington
    • Rocky Gully Dry Riesling 2006 ($15), Australia
  • Viognier:
    • Domaine Triennes Saint Fleur 2010 ($15), France
    • Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier 2009 ($14), California
    • Flagstone, The Rumor Mill Viognier 2012 ($18), South Africa
  • Pinot Gris:
    • Lucien Albrecht Pinot Gris, Cuvee Romanus 2012 ($20), France
    • Acrobat Pinot Gris, King Estate Vineyards 2013 ($14), Oregon
    • Kris Pinot Grigio 2003 ($11), Italy


How much to buy

After deciding on what wines, you’re left with the decision of how many bottles? A popular way to estimate is to consider that one bottle will equate to four glasses of wine and on average people drink one glass of wine per hour. So, if you have 8 wine-drinking guests (including yourself of course) and you expect three hours of eating from hors d’oeuvres to dessert, you could estimate you would need roughly 3 hours X 8 = 24 glasses of wine and divide that by the four glasses per bottle gives you an estimate of roughly six bottles of wine. Of course, consider your guests and how much they tend to drink at holidays. Maybe you can do with a bit less, or you might just need to grab another bottle …or two.

In a pinch?

If you find yourself at your wits end or making a last-minute wine purchase, consider a sparkling wine. They are a good option for a one stop, cover all bases-type of holiday wine. The very nature of serving bubbly adds to the celebratory atmosphere and it feels especially festive so close to the New Year.

  • Champagne: Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Non-Vintage ($16), France
  • Prosecco: Bele Casel Prosecco ($15), Italy
  • American: Tattinger “Domaine Carneros” Brut 2008 ($27)


Worried about pleasing your finicky vegan cousin or buttery Chardonnay-loving aunt? Suggest they  bring a bottle of their favorite wine to share. After all, the holidays are about sharing.

So embrace the process of selecting the wines for your dinner table and remember that the holidays are a time to enjoy the company of family and friends.