Modern winemaking is a mouth-watering blend of family secrets and regional tradition combined with state-of-the-art technology. You’ve got vines that have crossed oceans and stood the test of time, producing grapes that are transformed into the best wines in the world by way of wineries employing the most advanced cooling and storing systems available. However, even the most advanced vintners in the world still rely exclusively on one constant to age their wines to perfection: the oak barrel.
The oak wine barrel is one of those iconic pieces that conjures up images of French and Italian hillsides, musty wine cellars, and centuries of traditional winemaking. But after four or five uses these beautifully hand-crafted barrels become nothing more than discarded piles of wood. Until now. Some clever folks have taken advantage of the solid wood, earthy tones, and craftsmanship and have re-imaged these barrels into everything, including the kitchen sink.
The handy folks over at Barrelly Made It in southern California have taken full advantage of the proximity to their winemaking compadres to the north, and now mold the staves of retired wine barrels from Napa Valley and Sonoma into exquisite custom pieces of furniture.
If you prefer to maintain the shape of the barrels to retain their original charm, consider these beauties in the bathroom. Designed by Native Trails these pieces named after world-renowned French wine varietals are sure to class-up any lavatory. The basin and accompanying mirror are finished with recycled copper, which doubles the clever upcycle factor on these pieces.
And if you feel like sharing your love of wine with the doggie in your life, treat them to a comfortable bed made from half a barrel. Orvis also lets you accessorize your pet’s space with their custom white-oak barrel raised pet feeder. It’s a great time to be a pup.
For those of you feeling a bit more DIY, find hundreds of classified listings for used wine barrels at www.winebusiness.com, the website of the wine industry, or the trusty ‘ol eBay where, unsurprisingly enough, the site has once again proven that you can find *anything* there.
If you’ve got a creative use for wine barrels, let us know.