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.

What’s Up With Cigar Store Indians?

Posted By on December 11, 2015

The Native Americans introduced early 17th century European settlers to tobacco, teaching them how to plant and harvest it properly. It’s said that Sir Walter Raleigh introduced Europe to the tobacco plant after his voyage to the Americas, and it soon become a valuable commodity. Tobacconists were turning a great profit and cigar shops began opening through the country. But there was one issue; a great deal of the population was illiterate. Waves of immigrants were entering the country and wouldn’t be able to read the shop signs. The cigar store Indian solved this problem.

Tobacconists began using the cigar store Indian as an advertising tool to represent their business. The idea was similar to red and white barber poles outside barber shops or the show globes that represented apothecaries. Native Americans were the natural choice, as many people associated them with the introduction of tobacco. The figures were often three-dimensional, life-size and stood on the sidewalk to draw customers.


An Antique Cigar Store Indian

Many of the artists who carved the Indians were originally ship and masthead carvers. When the demand for boats declined, they had to find another source of work. Some of the Indians were made of cast iron, but most were wooden and painted in the carver’s home or workshop. The female statues were often carved with a papoose and had a headdress of tobacco leaves. The male figures were often ceremonial-looking and carried a tomahawk or weapon. All were brightly painted and incredibly intricate.

This visual advertisement proved successful up until the 20th century. Sidewalk obstruction laws were implemented in the early 1900s and many of them were destroyed or melted down during the world wars for other purposes. Today, these figures are often seen as offensive or as perpetuating a hurtful stereotype. Even though they’ve fallen out of favor, some of the original pieces are sold for up to $500,000 and are considered folk art. Some cigar store Indians stand outside tobacco stores, so keep your eyes peeled the next time you go to buy a cigar. Or if you already have an impressive cigar collection, check out our handcrafted cigar humidors to keep your investment in top notch condition.



Turn Any Space into Your Dream Wine Room

Posted By on November 24, 2015

Wine storage requires space. Some are lucky enough to have plenty in their homes, but if you live in a small apartment or condominium, you may have limited options. But you’re not out of luck; there are some unsuspecting places that can be transformed into an impressive wine room.

It’s not necessary to have a sprawling wine cellar in your home to tastefully display your wine collection. A contained space can (believe it or not) hold up to a few hundred bottles without looking too crowded. The answer is finding a location in your home that can house your wine in a controlled environment. It is important to keep your collection out of a direct sunlight, safe from vibrations, and at an acceptable temperature and humidity. If not, your prized bottle of vino might age more rapidly than you would like.

A great option is turning your closet into a wine storage area. This is a surprising and awesome way to make use of the space, if you don’t mind switching clothing out for wine. A reach-in wine closet can be outfitted with Vigilant’s premium wood wine racking and our handcrafted wine cellar doors, or you can choose to install a built-in refrigerated wine cabinet instead.


A converted wine closet flaunts mahogany wine racks

Our wine cabinets are perfect for wine collections in a smaller space, as there is no build out. They ship fully assembled and ready for installation. Another factor to consider is cooling costs; conditioned wine cabinets are on average 60% less than if one was to cool a traditional wine cellar. Easily customizable, they have an array of storage options and design features that you can alter to match current décor in your home. These features include style, size, wood species, finish, hardware, and even LED lighting.  Wine cabinets are truly a great way to utilize the space and guarantee a perfect wine storage environment.


This small residential wine room features custom built-in wine cabinets for maximum storage

Another option is to put that space under the stairs to good use. You can easily convert unused space under a flight of stairs into a dazzling wine room. You can choose wine cubes or wine racking to house your bottles, along with other available features such as diamond bin storage and a decanting area. Curved corner racking proves helpful in limited space, as it allows for a seamless transition around corners. Even a basement alcove or a pantry can be converted into a small walk-in wine room. Vigilant can help determine what’s right for you and your home, as well as what cooling system or humidification is needed. Visit our Small Wine Rooms and Wine Closets page for unique ideas and suggestions.

Vigilant Designs Unique Cabinetry for the Tasting Library

Posted By on November 18, 2015

The Tasting Library, a new wine tasting/retail store recently opened in Sheridan, Wyoming. Their unique concept offers customers the chance to “try before you buy;” allowing them to sample an array of fine wine and spirits before actually making a purchase.

Vigilant's beautiful metal wine racks. Photo by Ron Richter

Metal wine display racks. Photo by Ron Richter

Danyelle Heide, general manager of Star Liquor, parent company to the new Tasting Library, asked for Vigilant’s help to design custom wine cabinetry to house special wine dispensers for 44 bottles of wine and display a selection of bourbons, tequila, and single malts. The challenge: design cabinetry that would blend seamlessly with the surrounding cherry millwork and provide the functionality required to house the dispensing units and provide storage for retail stock. Vigilant created custom wine cabinetry to include open areas for the dispensing units, diamond cube bulk wine bottle storage and cubbie inserts to house oddly shaped wine bottles. They also include hanging wine glass storage, locking storage cabinets and wine display areas with LED lighting accents. The metal wine display racks provide a perfect separation between the sampling area and the bar. Real cork floors, granite counter tops and hand-blown glass pendant lights add a pleasant, homey atmosphere.

Custom cabinetry designed for the space. Photo by Ron Richter

Custom wine cabinets, storage bins and wine displays for the tasting bar. Photo by Ron Richter

The Tasting Library also offers craft brews, specialty cheeses, high end olive oil, coffees, and other items to compliment your wine purchase. In addition to wine tasting, clients can enjoy an array of light appetizers and small cheese plates.

The Tasting Library, 700 N Main Street | Sheridan, WY |307-655-5056

Vigilant Crafts Wine Cabinets for Hotel Hershey

Posted By on July 21, 2015

Vigilant partnered with Shea Design out of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Steve McNulty of Hershey Entertainment to fully revamp the Circular Restaurant at the Hotel Hershey in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The stunning hotel overlooks Milton S. Hershey’s iconic chocolate factory and was modeled after a hotel Mr. Hershey had visited in the Mediterranean. Vigilant has worked with Hotel Hershey in the past, previously on a custom wine cellar and cabinets.

 Wine Cabinets

Wine Cabinets in progress at our plant in Dover, NH

A series of cooled wine cabinets, made from beautiful black walnut, were fashioned to enclose the hotel’s new private dining area. The cabinets are fully insulated, with 1-3/4 inch thick solid black walnut framed, insulated glass doors and back panels with applied divided lite. A series of stainless steel metal rod bottle holders can store up to 600 bottles of Hotel Hershey’s choicest wine. Raised panel top and base cabinets nicely conceal the cooling system and ducting. The wine cabinets are dual zoned, meaning the water is cooled using ducted split systems. This enables the hotel to house both red and white wine at the ideal serving temperatures for guests. Attractive LED lighting completes the elegant look of the cabinets.

Installed cabinets in the Hotel Hershey dining room


Private dining enclosed by custom wine cabinets

Vigilant Designs Custom Wine Cabinets for Hawaiian Resort

Posted By on July 7, 2015

Vigilant constructed these custom wine cabinets for the new Bali Hai restaurant at the Hanalei Bay Resort in Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii. The former Bali Hai restaurant was destroyed by fire in 2011, and we were contacted by Jim Mehta and Ed Colson of HBR Enterprises in Hanalei, Hawaii to help in restoring the restaurant. The project began in August of 2014 and involved designing a bank of wine cabinets with a capacity of at least 900 bottles of wine.


Bali Hai custom wine cabinets

Our New England craftsman built the cabinets from African mahogany with a custom finish, matched to the client’s existing millwork. They stand 12’6” tall and span a width of 117” and are able to store 960 bottles of wine. They’re also 32” deep to accommodate double-deep wine bottle storage.

The Bali Hai cabinets sport solid mahogany wine racks with a double high reveal display row and RGB color-changing LED lighting, which illuminates the cabinets with varying shades of light. A custom rolling ladder was added to allow for access to the upper most wine storage. A remote water cooled, ducted system maintains the perfect environment for proper wine storage. Because of an open-air, humid climate, Vigilant utilized special moisture-resistant materials and a high-R value glass to ensure long-term durability, efficient system operation to minimize condensation risk. These necessary steps ensure the long term integrity and beauty of these furniture quality wine cabinets.


The cabinets flaunt color-changing LED lighting