“Wine is bottled poetry.”
— Robert Louis Stevenson
There’s something romantic about good wine, something convivial and indulgent.
It’s a beverage to be savored and shared, a pleasure associated with celebration and relaxation.
And for some people, it’s a theme to decorate a room or even a home around.
Wine-theme decor is growing in popularity as the ranks of wine collectors expand, said Marshall Tilden III of Wine Enthusiast Cos., a wine-products seller in Mount Kisco, N.Y.
Those collectors’ deep interest in wine is being reflected in their surroundings, said Tilden, the company’s sales manager of wine storage and wine accessories.
“People are just ensconced in it,” he said.
That’s the case with Ann Marie and Peter Spirk, who built a wine-theme gathering space in the lower level of their Bath Township home.
Ann Marie Spirk used to be a sales representative for a wine broker; her husband’s family owns a home in the vineyards of Austria’s wine region of Styria. They met at a wine auction, “so wine’s just a part of our life,” she said.
The room, with a heavy table and chairs at its heart, is a place where the Spirks like to entertain friends. They’ll put out a cheese board, open a bottle and visit around the table.
The couple was lucky to have able guidance in creating the room: Ann Marie Spirk’s father is Bath interior designer Alan Garren.
Garren gave the room a wine-cellar feel with soft lighting, a Spanish cedar ceiling, an antique tile floor and walls of stucco and stone. Hand-carved wood panels represent the stops involved in winemaking, and a likeness of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, watches over the room from his spot above a wine barrel that was a gift from a friend.
The room also demonstrates the importance the couple places on family and friends. A wine press similar to one Ann Marie Spirk’s grandfather used stands near the entrance to a temperature-controlled storage cellar, and wine-related photos of friends and relatives decorate one wall.
Although the room has plenty of space for storing wine, its purpose isn’t to save the bottles for the long term, she said.
“We’re not collectors,” she said. “We like to enjoy it.”
Enjoyment is central to the reason so many wine lovers are surrounding themselves with reminders of their passion, Tilden said.
He believes the trend is fueled by the increase in wineries around the United States that are producing quality products. People who travel to those wineries and enjoy their visits often want to reproduce that experience in their own homes.
When they spend good money on wine, they want to make sure they store it properly, so they’re investing in racks, coolers and other storage units, Tilden said. A wine rack that’s beautiful as well as functional lets them treat wine as a decorative accent, not just a beverage.
And it lets them show off a little, too. “There is a flash factor,” he said.
Wine decor expands beyond the primarily functional, though. Aficionados can decorate their homes with any number of wine-inspired accents — chandeliers made from bottles, coffee tables made from wine barrels, lazy Susans and wall plaques made from barrel ends.
Vellum lampshades that turn wine glasses into candle lamps are new from online marketplace Daily Grommet. Interior designer Diahann Potter created the shades, which fit atop a standard-size glass and can be stored flat between uses. Pop a nonflammable LED votive candle into a glass, top it with a shade, and you have a flickering lamp perfect for adding ambience to a dinner table or party.
Accents made from wine corks are especially popular, Tilden said. Kits are available for turning corks into trivets, wall hangings, serving trays and even table tops. The Spirks created a backsplash for their kitchen organizing center by using hot glue to attach corks they’d saved, including the cork from the first bottle they shared.
The trend is so big that Wine Enthusiast sells decorative containers to hold corks until you’re ready to use them, Tilden said. And if you want instant gratification, the company will even sell you the corks, he said with a laugh.
Interior designer Gillian Andrew noticed an abundance of wine-theme items when she attended the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market in January. “You kind of saw that everywhere,” she said.
It’s the look Andrew and her colleagues at Garth Andrew’s Interior Design in Bath have chosen for the room they’re creating for the Junior League of Akron’s Designer ShowHouse 2013, coming up in May. The company is redecorating the basement as a wine cellar and wine bar with a rustic modern look, Andrew said.
She said the space will be decorated in greens and plums, with a counter-height table made from an unrefined slab of wood, cubbies for wine and artwork of wine bottles and glasses. A seating area near the fireplace will incorporate dried grapevine with silver pods for the contemporary edge that is Garth Andrew’s signature.
Andrew is considering adding a chandelier made from wine bottles, or maybe one made from wine glasses.
“It’s been fun to look for these things and find them,” she said.
Fun, after all, is what wine decor should be all about.
Mary Beth Breckenridge can be reached at 330-996-3756 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also become a fan on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/mbbreck, follow her on Twitter @MBBreckenridge and read her blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/mary-beth.