Friday, August 22, 2014

Our First Large Order

The year was 2005, and it was early July. The weekend was coming close, and the pre-July 4th fireworks were just starting to ramp up at night. That wonderful smell of BBQ seemed to be everywhere in our suburban town of Westchester NY, and the mood was "Summer Breeze" by Seals and Croft.

Not all was good with my wife and I though, because we were struggling financially in jobs we weren't happy with for salaries we couldn't quite make work. Renting an apartment in an upscale town in Westchester is more than expensive, and we were paying quite a bit for a lifestyle of quiet pleasantries and security.

It was at this time that we created Winepine, and we were selling wine crates at a very slow pace, one at a time. This kind of unique wine cellar décor idea using original wine crates could either work or be flop, but I was determined to make Winepine successful. The problem was that I was putting in 8+ hours a day, plus another 4+ hours at home trying to increase sales for Winepine. My wife was beginning to question whether Winepine was a valid use of my time, and I was starting to get concerned myself. It was a stressful time to say the least, and the odds seemed stacked wildly out of my favor.

We lived in a fairly small apartment and didn't have the resources to purchase a storage area for the wine crates we brought in. That meant that all the wine crates had to be stored in our living space. At one point there were so many in our apartment that we actually had to make tunnels from the bathroom through our living room to the bedroom! Our landlord Jack was far from happy with this, and on several occasions I saw him looking up from the parking lot to our second floor apartment in both amazement and horror. There was easily 200 wine crates stored in our living room alone and it was getting out of hand.

Something needed to be done quickly because at the pace we were going we'd be out on the street next month. Selling one or two wine crates a day wouldn't cut it. Craigslist, word of mouth and personal ads weren't getting us anywhere. We needed to find a way to sell in bulk. I barely had two nickels to rub together, so we had to figure out a way to advertise our wine boxes and crates without breaking the bank.

Right around this time we had built a one page website for Winepine. We had found a website designer named Dave from Washington that was able to work on a shoe string budget, and deliver us a presence online. It was very exciting to finally have a functioning website, and we became much more optimistic for the future.

Along comes a phone call that would change everything...

Eric was a businessman interested in decorating his very large wine cellar. He asked me if I had wine crates to sell, and I most certainly did. He was looking to negotiate the price, and ended up making an offer that I accepted for 300 crates + shipping. This was a beautiful thing. With this order we'll be able to clear out the apartment while still making enough money to rent a storage space for future crates! It was a miracle and a dream come true.

Now the new dilemma: How in the world were we going to ship 300 crates? We had never done anything like this before. Every other crate we had sold was being shipped out through the post office, and we were actually wrapping them with this kraft paper that we bought by the roll at Staples. We were using arts and crafts tape, and it was more like we were wrapping gifts instead of shipping wine crates. We didn't have, and couldn't afford real cardboard boxes or commercial box tape. It was a very basic operation, and if my wife wasn't good at wrapping I don't know what I would've done.

This was a new adventure, and a kind of scary one at that. I thought long and hard about this. I'd spend hours looking out the kitchen window trying to figure out what we can do about this problem. It then popped out at me; Why not contact our UPS delivery guy Robert, and see if he had any ideas? Both my wife and I ordered from Amazon regularly, and we gotten to know Robert pretty well. He'd call us sometimes to make sure we were home when we had any deliveries. He was extremely courteous.

When I called him he had said that he does in fact drive a small truck part-time (Not UPS related), moonlighting for private deliveries when they come up. He quoted a reasonable price, and we agreed to move forward in two weeks. It was going to be a 4 AM Saturday pick-up and I thought to myself Wow. Robert is a big time early bird.

Fast forward two weeks to the night before the pick-up. My wife and I barely pulled it off to the last crate. It's 9 PM on a Friday, and we pulled the last staple from the last wine crate.  It was a long 12 hour day working 2 jobs and it was time to get some rest.

After sleeping for what felt like 5 minutes, the alarm goes off like a blaze of glory. We knew that waking up at 3 AM was going to be tough, but time was of the absolute essence. We knew that there was a lot of work to do and Robert was never late. He will arrive at 4AM on the dot. No time to waste..

My wife and I had to start carrying 300 wine crates, three at a time down our apartment stairs in the middle of the night. It took dozens of trips up and down the stairs to bring out the entire shipment to the truck. Fortunately no one else in the apartment building was woken up or disturbed, and Robert was more than helpful. We surprisingly filled the truck in under an hour.

A wonderful relief came over me when Robert put the last crate into the truck, closed the door and swung down the big truck lock. We shook hands and he got into the cab and was off. We did it. My wife and I hugged, as we overcame one of the biggest business challenges we had ever faced on our own. It was a great feeling. We watched the sunrise from the porch, and then walked over the deli to grab a cup of coffee.

I remember this event vividly, so it's easy for me to tell the story 10 years later. I learned a great deal  from this experience: If you believe in something and your instincts tell you it's right, you should keep going no matter what. Even if those close to you don't share the same enthusiasm, you should never quit. You can do it, and you'll somehow get through the adversities if you just keep pressing on.


Patrick -
www.winepine.com
168 Irving Ave
Portchester, NY 10573
914-565-0134
 
 
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Thursday, August 7, 2014

3 Perfect Places to Hold Your Very Own Wine Tasting Party


3 perfect places to hold your very own wine-tasting party

 

Among the socially elite and those with a taste for the finer things in life, there is little that brings a group of friends together quite as well as a night spent indulging in the vast variety of experiences found in the art of vinting.  When people come together to truly experience this thing so simple yet so luxurious,  a wine tasting of exotic and rare wines is often a favored event, paired with the ever-complex flavors of the world’s most wonderful cheeses.  Cheese, like wines, contains its own particular bouquet of flavors, and it is considered part of the wine tasting experience to pair them perfectly together.

 



 

But where would one hold a wine-tasting event?  The possibilities are as wide and varied as the tastes of the wines themselves, and one can even combine the theme of the wines selected with the venue one chooses to host it in.  Imagine for a moment you have a selection of delicious summer wines, light on the palette and sparkled with all the floral tastes of summer.  Each of these delightful bottles are arranged on well-appointed tables surrounded by the sparkling curves of good Waterford crystal, all arranged in the shade of parasols extended above your garden.  The fresh summer wind and smell of fresh cut grass will only serve to compliment the delightful array of flavors found within each of these bottles.  Even the shades will serve to compliment this, the bright pinks of blushes, the rose reds, even the clear sparkling whites that arrange your table will turn this outdoor wine-tasting event into a dash of elegance to be remembered.

 



 

In the winter, such a place can be difficult to find.  In many climates the winter months are cold, dark, and unpredictable, and so a different kind of warmth is called for.  Such warmth can be found within the walls of a sunroom, where the tall glass panes let the warmth of the winter sun in while holding out the cold of the winter wind.  Within these walls among the dark green plants that are vibrant even in these colder months, you can offset them with the deep ruby tone of some of the most popular dessert wines.  Each of these wines is best served on its own, and after a meal that compliments the thicker sweeter nature of these vintages.

 



 

Another excellent place to have a wine-tasting is in the presence of experts, many larger towns contain micro-vintners and places to accommodate those with finer tastes.  In these places you have the benefit of a large variety of wines, and often they serve 'flights' of wine that are served in smaller glasses, perfect for tasting a wide variety.  These places create the perfect atmosphere, with delightful food and the ability to sample large selections of wine without needing to buy an entire bottle on what may be a truly disappointing vintage.  Wine-tasting can be an expensive hobby, and this last option will definitely allow you to make the most of your experience.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Superstorm Workday Part 1


It was October 23rd 2012, and that was a long night. The power was out, and all you could hear is the howling of the wind mixed with the pattering of rain drops hitting the walls. At a few points during the night, the house started to shake a little, and this sent a little shiver up my spine. It was 2:00 AM, and I couldn’t sleep.

We had a large custom wine crate order for Anika, who was the marketing director for Etnies shoes. the order needed to go out next week, and we were only halfway through it. We had most of the cuts for the sides and frame done, but still had to sand, prepare and put the crate pieces together. I was wondering how on earth we could get this done on time.

Late or potentially troubled orders often give me insomnia. Perhaps it’s my nature to want to control just about every situation in my work, and when things happen that are out of my control I get antsy. This was definitely one of those times. One thing I do to try and get to sleep is tell myself how comfortable my bed is. That usually works, but the weather outside was affecting that sweet peacefulness which often ensues during my “Comfortable bed” thinking. Fortunately it was very dark all around me, so I was able to relax a little better and pass into the night.

As I awoke to that dull and stormy sky, a slight feeling of dread passed over me. The wind and rain were still going, and the storm seemed to be just as active as it was last night. Maybe even more so. There was still no power. I knew this was supposed to be a super storm, but I was hoping that the news was overblowing it. In the back of my head though I knew they weren’t. When you see the local weatherman trying to hide that true look of fear, you know it’s for real.

So I quickly got dressed and approached the kitchen to again be reminded that the power was off. No fresh brewed coffee today. I’m going to have to suffer through instant. I’m a bit of a coffee snob, and like the gourmet stuff. The stove still had gas, so I boiled a pot of water, and shot a dash of instant into the coffee cup. Once the brew was done, I poured the water into the cup. As I watched the water overtake those Folgers crystals, I briefly started thinking about Anika’s order. I knew we had no power in the workshop. My house is about 15 minutes away from the shop, and if Portchester got hit as badly as Rye did, it would be a miracle if we could power up the saws and sanders. I took a big swig of the coffee cup, winced a little at the sour taste, and walked over to my desk to grab my keys and wallet. I needed to know for sure if the power was out before contacting the crew to keep going on this critical order...
 
Part 2 coming soon...
Patrick
Winepine
168 Irving Ave
Portchester, NY 10573
914-565-0134
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Where Wine Meets Decor

We're coming up on the 10th year of Winepine, so I thought it would be a good idea to put together a picture montage of our favorite pictures. Included below are client projects, some of the types of wine crates and wine boxes we offer, and several custom-made crates and boxes we personalized for clients:


Padres wine bar with wine panels surrounded by a hardwood frame and marble countertop
 
 
A wine panel tray, with three finished semi-gloss panels and an alder wood frame
 

Wedding reception dance floor covered with 600 different wooden wine panels!
 

Bathroom vanity sink with original wine crates as drawers
 

Wine store that used wooden wine crate panels to showcase and match specific wines
 

Cork-framed wine panel artwork. Took two years (and a lot of wine bottles) for our client to make! Every cork is from a different vineyard.
 

Nearly complete kitchen wainscot with wine crate panels
 

Small wet bar covered in all kinds of finished wine panels
 

One of our first major projects. The wall of the rare wines room in Grapes the Wine Co.
 

A beautifully finished high-gloss Petrus wine box
 

Twenty-Five 12 bottle wine crates from different vineyards
 

Davanti Enoteca Restaurant Bar Wall featured in Look! magazine
 

Wine-themed stairs complete with Grand Cru panels and wine corks
 

Eat, Drink and Be Married personalized wine crate
 

Assorted Original 6 bottle wine boxes from various countries
 

Custom wine boxes made for Aloft Hotel's "Live in the Vineyard"
 

Three Domaine Romanee Conti 12 bottle wine crates. The most revered vineyard in the world.
 

1975 Dom Perignon Single Bottle Wine Crate
 

Double-Decker Doggy Bed
 

Custom Two Bottle Crate made for Santa Cruz Mountains
 

Gorgeous wine store using wine crates exclusively for display and storage
 
 
In celebration of our 10th year, we're introducing new lines (and expanding our current lines). We're also working on an e-mail list so we can give our clients exclusive deals, and a first look at our latest stock of crates as they come in.
 
Visit www.winepine.com to take a look at some of our additions, and feel free to e-mail me if you'd like to be added to our exclusive offer e-mail list.
 
 
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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bitcoin and a Special Wine Crate Offer

If you haven't heard of Bitcoin yet, it's a fairly new and very unique digital currency. I learned about it last year, and thought it may be the right time to add it to the Winepine website as a form of payment.  It's had a lot of mixed press lately, but I really believe that it's going to be revolutionary in the next few years.

What's really interesting about it is that you can produce Bitcoin yourself, from your home, and you can basically become your own bank. It's all legal because the IRS considers Bitcoin as property.

The problem you'll face with producing Bitcoin is that you need to purchase a lot of computer equipment to do it. The Bitcoin community calls this "Mining". You can also buy Bitcoin in the open market, and most people do just that.

When you mine Bitcoin, your computer equipment is doing tons of mathematical problems every second. Once the computer solves one of these problems you get a little (or a lot) of Bitcoin. The amount of Bitcoin you get is based on how advanced your computer equipment is (Or rather how fast it can solve the problems). The Bitcoin your computer earns is then sent to your digital wallet. You can actually link your smartphone to your digital wallet, and spend the Bitcoin by simply scanning it to anyone that accepts it (The list of vendors who accept Bitcoin is growing exponentially). You can also buy things online with Bitcoin really easily. The transfer is almost instantaneous.

The current issue with mining Bitcoin is that the computer equipment you need is specialized and very expensive. Plus your electric bill doubles if not more! I had a small Bitcoin mining rig and the electric bill jumped quite a bit. On top of this, the mathematical problems that your computer needs to solve gets more and more difficult, so you get less and less Bitcoin every day.

So why bother mining or buying Bitcoin? A lot of people say it's a pain in the neck to have to buy or mine Bitcoin first, and then spend it. For starters, the dollar bill is inflationary, and Bitcoin is deflationary. The value of the dollar goes down every year because more and more dollars are constantly being created. Bitcoin on the other hand will only have a total of 21 million in circulation. This is great opportunity for savers, and if the value of Bitcoin goes up, you'll be able to buy more things for less Bitcoin in the future.

Secondly, Bitcoin is really easy to transfer, and has incredibly low fees (Under 1%). Credit cards, Paypal etc., have very high fees so Bitcoin is great for business. They can be transferred instantly to anyone with a digital wallet, anywhere in the world

So we're seriously considering accepting it on the Winepine website. I'm looking for comments/thoughts on this, so please let me know what you think. Overstock and Tiger Direct currently accept them, and eBay may be adding Bitcoin wallets to Paypal, so I think we should start accepting it too.

In the spirit of Bitcoin, we're offering this Casa Lapostolle single bottle wine crate from Spain:

Flip top style w/ hinge


Deep engraving on the lid
 


Built-in bottle holding inserts
 


Dimensions: 17" L X 4 3/4" W X 5" H
 
This is the perfect crate to decorate your home, wine cellar or office with. It's made of unfinished solid pine, and has a nice, vintage kind of appeal to it.
 

Please e-mail me with the shipping address if your interested, or if you'd like purchase the crate without using Bitcoin - winepine@optonline.net


For the Casa Lapostolle wine crate, send .07 Bitcoin to the address below:
 
Thank you, and feel free to visit www.winepine.com to take a look at some of the other wine crates, wine boxes and wine panels we have in stock! Hopefully we'll be adding Bitcoin to the Winepine site soon.

Patrick -

 
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Friday, May 16, 2014

Beautifully Finished Wine Crates & Panels

Our new line of luxuriously finished wine crates and panels!

Smooth-sanded original wine crates + Professional finish = Just gorgeous!

The finishes we use are all imported from Italy. They come in different stain colors and styles such as:

Black Satin

Cherry-Walnut

Mahogany

Vintage Starburst

And many more different variations.

Semi-Gloss Cherry Walnut Exterior with a Mahogany Interior


Cherry Walnut w/ Dark Cherry Satin Interior - Lid is finished with both


Vintage Style Semi-Gloss Cherry Walnut - Corners gently finished in a slightly different tone


Every piece is designed to last for generations. The finishes are highly resistant to aging, and completely seals the crates from moisture. They look fantastic in wine cellars, and we can even match the hardwood schemes!

Take a look at how these pieces shine when they're completed:


We also can even finish the wine panels too. Currently we offer three styles:


And these panels will deliver this kind of look to your bar, restaurant, wine cellar or home:

 
Osteria Restaurant in Philadelphia
 
So what do you think? Our clients are getting more business, and creating new connections with their gorgeous new wall décor. Contact us for finished wine crates and panels to create an amazing, conversation-starting wall for yourself!
 
Call Patrick
914-565-0134
 
 
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Friday, May 2, 2014

7 Easy Wine Crate Storage Projects

Wooden wine crates are large, highly durable and look great in any setting. They don't just store wine, but can also be made to hold books, kitchen items such as spices, DVD's, Blu-Rays, vinyl records and even shoes. They're also stackable so they make for smart organizing.

Quaint reading nook - These are painted on the inside for decoration, but this isn't necessary
 

Modern pantry - This is a one piece that's a bit more professional and involved, but as a DIY work-around you can center the crates and drill them into the wall - www.remodelista.com


Wine Crate Nightstand - Here's a how-to on how to make a decorative bed side nightstand - http://theborrowedabode.com/
 


Shabby-chic style end table with a small cabinet
 

 
Burgundy style bike rack - Just drill holes in the bottom of the crate to match the rack screws
 
 

Wine crate bookshelf
 
 
 

Wine crate storage for vinyl records - Just add records! Please note that these particular crates need to be from wineries that make slightly oversized bottles. Vinyl records are 13" wide, and most wine crates are 12 1/2" wide. Some wine crates are 13 1/4" wide. Those are the ones you need.
 
origamimusic.blogspot.co.uk
 
 
These are the fairly easy projects you can do with original wine crates and boxes. Projects can get much more involved. You can paint crates all different colors, stain or finish them, add wall paper to the bottoms to create Limoges or shadow boxes, and even make spice racks and cabinets out of them. There are lots of creative things you can do.
 
Visit us at www.winepine.com to get some wine crates or boxes for your own unique project!
 
Patrick -
 
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