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Features for Custom Wine Cellars – Unique Individualized Wine Barrel Carvings — Part One

Features for Custom Wine Cellars – Unique Individualized Wine Barrel Carvings — Part One (A Processed Video Transcription of our Interview with Peter Forbes)


Wine Barrel Carvings – An Interview With the Artistic Peter Forbes

Jerry: I started in this industry in 1999, 13 years ago with a company.  It was a catalog company and I worked in a call center and they sold wine related accessories, everything from your basic cork screws, to stem ware and everything that is wine related.

Jerry Wilson of Coastal Custom Wine Cellars

Jerry Wilson of Coastal Custom Wine Cellars

I gravitated towards the wine cellars division because my career is a home builder in prior years.  I was very much in tune with the importance of accessorizing a wine cellar if you will, not just with wine racks, refrigeration and the door, but also all of the other elements.

When we came across your product, I was very intrigued by it simply because it’s personalized, it is custom, it is very unique and it makes a statement.

So I understand the importance of accessorizing a wine cellar; and now that I am more established in the industry (Coastal Custom Wine Cellars is two and a half or almost three years old) and we are much more established now, I want to focus more on the additional items other than just the basic components of a wine cellar.

Peter: I’m happy! I love the idea! I have been doing this (wine barrel carvings) for about 15 years now and I am

Peter Forbes and His Wine Barrel Carvings

Peter Forbes and His Wine Barrel Carvings

one of the very very very small handful people actually in the whole planet doing this. I believe it is a kind of resuscitation of an old art form. Going back the other year it is only getting known and like you said, the nice part of each one of this is it is custom made, they become heirlooms because they outlast that’s all.

I like and really enjoy working one on one with the clients. Sometimes they have no idea of what they want so we work on the wine barrel design together, which is fine because they become part of it. Other times they already have exactly what they want. Maybe a client requested just a name.

But the most exciting one is when we actually work together on the wine barrel design and quite often actually we become quite good friends, stay in touch and they become good friends. Some even for years we still stay in contact and share some great stories, which is the nice part of the whole deal.

Jerry: Exactly! Actually you do have a bond, not with everyone but certainly with those that you spent a deal of time on the phone and when you visited their home. I get Christmas cards from a few actually.

Peter: Absolutely, yeah! That’s great! My favorite one was somebody who is having a house built and the wife was sort of cautiously getting this back area for their new wine cellar and for weeks we have been sending these emails and when the barrel finally showed up the day that they got their house, the timing was perfect. He was absolutely relieved because somehow he has seen the emails and thought she was having an affair! So not only they did get the barrel but relieved that their marriage is still intact.

Jerry: Someone to drink the wine with.

Peter: Yeah!

Tim: So Peter maybe you can show us some examples of the type of what that you do?

Wine Barrel Carvings - Vineyard and Horse Design

Wine Barrel Carvings – Vineyard and Horse Design

Peter: I will show you this one. This one is for some private collectors who have their own wine cellar. This is the jumping horse in here. These people grow plants; they are horticulturists and the tough part of this one, it’s kind of hard to see, but in real life you could see it in the background underneath the horse those are all glass buildings.

So I’m actually having them carved something out of wood to make it look like glass, which is a bit of a challenge.  They have their own vineyard but they actually don’t sell the product. It’s been there just to make their own wine. They are actually doing that because they are horticulturists. So this is the design we worked on together.

Tim: I want to ask. How can you make wood look like glass? How do you do that? You are not giving away your techniques then huh?

Peter: Yeah! I was just a little done with the colorization and it worked in the end.

Tim: I’m curious. How did that work? When they ask for something, did you just come up with the wine barrel design? Did they show you what they wanted? How did you arrive at this look exactly?

Peter: First thing they wanted that was very tough was their logo. They wanted it there and they wanted a jumping horse somehow because that is called the Jumping Horse Vineyard. They also wanted to have the vineyard and some grapes. So I just got the list of things they want on there and it’s up to me to somehow put them together in a cohesive way.

Tim: So did you do a sketch for them first? They have an idea?

Peter: Yeah!  We worked back and forth on the sketches. I know I can get in trouble for this but I don’t charge people for that part, I really enjoy it. I know graphics people will charge it for doing this per hour.  I just start doing it. I think it’s just something nice to have a bonus or design something for free.

Tim: So when you do a sketch, are you doing something on the computer? Or are you doing a hand drawing sketch? Are you posting it to them? What’s the difficult process around that? How do you get to them then?

Peter: I’m old, Tim. I still do it with a pencil. I just use a pencil drawing. Sometimes I can get a logo and super imposed it on a blank barrel that I have just to get a general idea. But we kind of nail it down to what we want. We actually do a full size pencil drawing.

Tim: So do you send them the drawing? Do you take a picture of it? Do you scan them? How do they get to see it?

Wine Barrel Design - Red Back Spider

Wine Barrel Design – Red Back Spider

Peter: Yup, I just take a picture of the wine barrel carvings then put it on my computer and send them the picture.

Tim: Ah!  So you are not that old fashioned because you are actually scanning your drawing then and emailing it presumably.

Peter: Probably.  You’ve busted me.  You got me!

Tim: You’re techy! Okay.

Peter: Yeah!  I don’t mail it to them.  I have another one.  This one was interesting.  I had a client come in who work for an old mine out in Australia.  It’s called Red Back Mining, Red Back being red back spider hood, black spider hood.

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