About Valley of the Vines

I didn't live here in the Napa Valley as a kid; my Grandparents, however, did so I spent a great deal of time here and as an unintended consequence became pretty well acquainted with the wine barrel. I've been kicking these things (barrels) around for years and have learned a great deal regarding how the barrel is built and the type of abuse it can, and cannot take. I have viewed what happens to barrels when left inside or out over long periods of time both with and without maintenance and protection. I have also witnessed what happens to a barrel when the barrel staves shrink without reinforcement. The oak selected for barrels, often from trees well over 100 years old, is typically a finer grade than that used for furniture. Wood from these older and larger trees is typically knot, blemish, and flaw free. All of which are undesirable imperfections that can impart uneven behavior within the wood during seasonal temperature and moisture changes causing parts of the barrel to shrink and grow at different rates which can cause it to leak. Each piece of wood used to fabricate a barrel is essential to preserve its integrity. If any one piece is missing or loose, the barrel will fall apart or collapse in on itself if left alone unless it is properly fortified.

I spend enormous amounts of time to make sure every item I produce is assembled perfectly. I am obsessed with constructing a quality and essentially flawless creation; subpar products never leave my shop. To provide these extremely high standards of quality, nearly every item I make undergoes meticulous sanding, disassembly, reassembly, reinforcing, cleaning, cutting, fabricating, sanding again, finishing, sanding, refinishing, sanding, and refinishing… I take extra care and time to painstakingly reinforce my designs to guarantee many years of faithful service and to insure that the structural integrity of what I produce will last long into the future.

I really enjoy good wine, I love the artistry of the wine making process, and I find the part played by the wine barrel fascinating. I have learned to love the barrel and don't like to see them wasted. From the perspective of someone who has worked with wood most of his life, It feels a bit tragic to see such fine material go to waste when a barrel is chopped up for firewood, turned into a roughshod planter, or ignored and left to rot. To help stop some of this tragedy, I am using my past experience with the wine barrel in combination with my over 30-years of woodcraft experience to continue the legacy of this fine material by recycling some of the best wood available into items that can be enjoyed by many, for years to come.

Much like the way the barrel is sent on its way by the cooper from the cooperage in its perfection, I strive to do the same by turning a repurposed authentic Napa Valley wine barrel into a perfectly constructed and functional piece of art that will last a lifetime.

In Vino Veritas!
Chris Klimen

All of our items are handmade in the Napa Valley - Proudly Made in the USA