Turning wine staves into flooring is a tricky process because a wine barrel has both longitudinal and latitudinal curvature. Individual staves are also wider and thicker in the center, tapering to smaller dimensions at the ends. In addition, the inside of the wood is infused with wine.
But all those drawbacks make for a better floor, says WineWood's Charlie Cramer. “What I look for is old barrels that have a lot of character to them,” he told us. “We pressure wash the wood but let some of the color stay in the deep parts, which gives it a nice patina.”
The company has developed a patented process that flattens the boards, which are then sanded smooth by hand. The process is zero-waste; leftover wood chips are sold to cooking stores for use in barbecuing.
The flooring itself is sold in a variety of styles. One version, called Wine Barrel Flooring, shows off the original shape of the staves, complete with nail holes and light-colored bands that reveal portions of the wood which spent its earlier life concealed behind the barrel's straps.
There's also a more traditional-looking engineered variety that mounts three 2-inch wide strips across in a standard cedar backed 6-inch wide tongue & groove configuration that's 7 feet long. “That's a completely different look; the pattern is made up of pieces that are all a bit different,” said Cramer. “A lot of people like that look.” All the engineered floors are manufactured using zero-VOC adhesives and supplied unfinished.
Cramer believes that the highest demand for WineWood will come from restaurants and other hospitality-oriented businesses, as well for use as flooring or wainscotting in home wine cellars.
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