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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 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.

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.

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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.

 

REDS

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

 

WHITES

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:

Varietals:

  • 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.

 

Cheers!

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Vigilant Crafts Wine Lockers for Nine52 at 416 West 52nd Street

Posted By on July 18, 2016

Vigilant recently worked with Spivak architects and GAIA realtors of New York, NY to build a contemporary wine storage locker solution as part of their design and construction of a gorgeous, luxury condominium complex, Nine52, in the heart of historic Hells Kitchen in Manhattan. Its location provides a taste of American history in every step, and boasts delicious food and lively entertainment in a spunky neighborhood. The new condos channel the unique energy of the area by utilizing metal and wood to create an edgy and attractive living environment for their sophisticated residents. Vigilant helped foster this mood by handcrafting this ebonized mahogany wine cabinet with a natural interior.

Vigilant wine lockers multi-sized doors

Vigilant wine lockers with multi-sized doors.

The cabinet is the centerpiece of a shared wine lounge in the lower level of the building. It stands amidst a beautiful sunken garden, fitness center and conference center, and creates a sense of community amongst the wine loving residents. The atypical layout of the locker doors complements the unique, urban environment of the building’s style and the resident’s tastes. Each locker accommodates between 12 and 36 bottles of wine. This variation in storage capacity allows residents to select a locker based on their personal wine collection. Each locker is individually keyed and is climate controlled for ideal wine storage conditions, allowing for easy access to perfectly chilled wine.

Vigilant wine lockers stained in ebony

Image representing Vigilant wine lockers installed at Nine52 Condominiums.

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Custom Vigilant Wine Cabinet Makes for a Sophisticated Home Dining Space

Posted By on May 23, 2016

Constructed of custom species maple wood, this sophisticated custom wine cabinet (designed for a residential client in New Jersey) makes for one impressive dining space!

This exceptional piece is as functional as it is aesthetic.   The illuminated wine display stores up to 354 bottles of wine and features a dual-zone cooling system providing optimal storage conditions for both red and white wines.  A distressed two-stage finish and special trim, were custom manufactured to match the existing woodwork, providing a seamless fit into the room’s architecture.

The finished mahogany interior offers adjustable slotted shelves to accommodate a variety of storage needs. Removable wooden louvered panels conceal the cooling system while allowing for ample airflow to the unit. Argon-filled, dual-pane glass doors are insulated for efficiency, and a condensation removal system keeps moisture to a minimum.

As far as eating spaces go, we think this one is exquisite!  We’ll take our eggs with a side of red wine please – cheers!

 

Custom bank of distressed wood refrigerated wine cabinets with illuminated wine display.

Custom bank of distressed wood refrigerated wine cabinets with illuminated wine display.

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Vigilant Designs Custom Wine Lockers for Abenaqui Country Club

Posted By on February 8, 2016

Vigilant recently collaborated with Abenaqui Country Club in Rye, New Hampshire, to create custom wine lockers for their newly renovated lounge, the 1903 Room. The space received more improvements with the addition of Vigilant’s custom non-conditioned wine lockers for club members. The mahogany wine lockers feature framed tempered glass doors with adjustable euro hinges and an adjustable mahogany shelf in each locker. The wine lockers also flaunt a clear lacquer interior finish and a beautiful ebony stain and matte lacquer exterior finish. The brass hardware, finished framed end panels, and locker lighting create a striking look. The lockers include individually numbered brass plates, and individually keyed locks. Each locker can hold up to 14 bottles of wine, with a total capacity of 420 bottles.

Vigilant's wine lockers in the 1903 Room

Vigilant’s wine lockers in the 1903 Room

Dianne Guilmet, Abenaqui’s Food and Beverage Manager, met Vigilant’s owner, Charlie Griffiths, at a trade show in Texas. Dianne was immediately impressed with Vigilant’s products and during the course of their discussion, discovered that they were both located on the Seacoast of NH.

“The quality (of the lockers) is beautiful,” Guilmet says. “I was impressed with Vigilant’s responsiveness and attention to detail. And, being in such close proximity, Charlie was able to make a couple of site visits to ensure our project was moving forward smoothly.” She adds that the “1903 Room now includes a bar and a seating area, and the wine lockers match perfectly with the surrounding millwork, which has a rich ebony finish and dark green granite accents, which are the club colors.” Guilmet also notes that the wine locker program is already so popular that there are more interested members than available lockers, but club members are more than willing to share their lockers.