• Giving wine barrels a new lease on life

    October 8, 2020 • LIFE, STORIES

    Winestains is a unique Australian homewares brand that values sustainable design and life’s simple pleasures. The father-daughter duo behind Winestains, Kristal Spencer and Peter Ruchs, reign from the picturesque Barossa Valley in South Australia where they handcraft quality and innovative designs from retired wine barrels.

    Wine barrel waste

    Working in the wine industry since he was 15, Peter’s experiences opened his eyes to the waste generated by the industry, particularly the waste of old wine barrels. Medium-sized Australian wine producers buy up to 750 new barrels each year. These barrels which are made from the top 20 percent of French and American oak trees are only used up to three times before they are discarded.

    It wasn’t until Peter reached his fifties when he discovered a way to give this waste a new life. Peter salvaged some discarded wine barrels from the winery he was working at and turned them into surfboard-shaped cheese boards.

    “We used one of the boards ourselves and gave some to friends and family who all loved the product and story behind it. That is when it clicked for me that this could be a viable business,” Peter recalls.

    Crafted to share + inspired to create

    Kristal encouraged her father to start a business and in 2011 they launched Winestains.  Aiming to enhance people’s food and wine experience, each design is crafted to share and inspired to create. From wine glass holder picnic stakes to cheese boards, each design is functional yet charming with unique colours and markings that illustrate the sustainable story of its past.

    “The timber has a beautiful red wine stain which we try to maintain as it adds character to the product and is part of the history of the timber’s past life,” says Kristal.

    Innovative upcycled designs + forest regeneration

    What separates Winestains from a lot of other brands is their innovative designs.  Kristal and Peter try to push the boundaries of what can be done with a wine barrel. The focus of each design is to use every part of the barrel including the heads, hoops and staves. This is all part of the story behind their products. For every product sold, Kristal and Peter also plant a tree to support forest regeneration. To date, Winestains with the help of its customers have planted 7042 trees.

    “Even though our products are made from upcycled timber we strongly believe giving back is an integral part of operating a responsible and sustainable business.”