Rack & Ruin - unique wine racks fashioned in North Yorkshire

PUBLISHED: 00:42 02 July 2012 | UPDATED: 21:34 20 February 2013

Each wine rack is unique; its look dictated by the original timber

Each wine rack is unique; its look dictated by the original timber

How a home renovation project became a successful new business in Kirkby Malzeard

The print version of this article appeared in the July 2012 issue of Yorkshire Life

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Richard Greaves and Lesley Wood spent months renovating their home in Kirkby Malzeard, giving up their careers to concentrate on creating the perfect property. After week-upon-week of back-breaking work they finally thought theyd finished, but something a vital last piece of the jigsaw was missing.

We needed a suitable wine rack for our new atmospheric dining room, said Richard, who previously rescued the Freemasons Arms in Nosterfield, near Masham, from dereliction. I had an idea what I wanted, but I just couldnt find it. I searched everywhere, and even tried commissioning someone to make one, but without success.

So after possibly one glass of wine too many one evening, I decided to try and make one. After many months of both successful and unsuccessful attempts (our log burner was very busy for a while), Rack & Ruin was born.

All the timbers used to create the companys hand-crafted racks are sourced locally whenever possible and come from managed resources, focusing on British hardwoods such as elm, oak and yew.

Reclaimed timbers have also proved very popular, many coming from old textile mills, halls and even ships, said Richard. They have fabulous character. If only they could talk they would have some amazing tales to tell.

Customers can even supply their own timber if they want a completely bespoke finished product.

But, wherever the materials come from, Richard and Lesley strive to make each rack as stylish and individual as the wine their customers enjoy.

And the end result is not just good to look at, its practical too. The racks are designed to keep wine in a stable horizontal position, ensuring damaging agitation is eliminated, and that corks (where applicable in this modern screw-top world) remain moist and air tight.

Many of the designs also keep the wine at a constant temperature as solid wood is a great natural insulator, said Lesley, who worked in the printing industry for more than two decades and is now a part-time dog-groomer.

Richard does most of the heavy-lifting at Rack & Ruin, sourcing the timbers, then cleaning and creating the holes for the wine to rest in.

Its a dirty job and I often come home looking like Ive been coal mining, he said. Its sometimes very cold too hardly a romantic way to earn a living, but its certainly very satisfying to create something amazing, looking at it, and saying I made that.

While Richard makes the racks in between tinkering with old tractors, riding motorbikes and walking cocker spaniels Pepper and Grace Lesley provides the finishing touches and deals with customer liaison, photography, their website and all the pesky paperwork.

Its not easy working for yourself, she said. You never seem to switch off from work, especially with all the social media. But we are fortunate to live in a fabulous part of the county and enjoy what we do, she added.

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