An Indiana Wine Rack Maker

Written by Howard Hewitt. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on August 31, 2010 with No Comments

by Howard W. Hewitt

A growing appreciation for wine usually means buying more wine, drinking more wine, and sooner or later needing a place to put all that bottled goodness.

Wine storage systems and wine racks are everywhere with plenty of choices for wine consumers. Finding racks that hold more than a dozen bottles, though, can be a bit of a challenge in Indiana.

Radel Wood Products of Peru, is a commercial wine rack production company that will still build a custom rack for any consumer. Radel’s products are in more than 40 states across the U.S.

“We’re mostly a commercial business but we’ll build a rack for the individual,” Gerald Radel, a former newspaper pressman, said. “We do tasting rooms for wineries, custom tasting tables, products for wholesalers, but wine racks are our primary business.”

Radel was in the newspaper industry for years and after a couple of job moves decided to return to Peru to get into wood milling and custom work. When nearby Grissom Air Force Base closed its doors the enormous hangers became warehouses. Cost Plus World Market rented one of the former hangers to use as a distribution center.

When one of Radel’s friends saw wine racks in storage at the Peru base, they bid on building the 44-bottle racks and got the contract. Even with the ups and downs of the economy, Cost Plus remains Radel’s biggest customer. During a July visit, Radel and his six employees were busy finishing an order for 600 of the 44-bottle racks.

Radel started building wine racks in 1999 in his garage. He has grown the business and operates now from a building on the west side of Peru on U.S. Highway 24.

“We’ve been doing wine trade shows the last five or six years with the last three years really starting to pay off,” Radel said. “Most of our business is in the eastern part of the United States. I have two big customers in Florida.”

Radel is getting ready to build racks for a tasting room in St. Joseph, Mich. Earlier this year he worked a trade show at Grand Rapids.

His goal is to keep coming up with new ideas and ideas for custom racks. Though he has built doors for home contractors and even kitchen cabinets, wine racks are now his primary business. He builds racks in Pine, Alder Wood, and Oak in all shapes and sizes.

The wine woodworker became a wine drinker as his business expanded.

“I like wine,” he said with a laugh. “I didn’t drink a lot of wine until I got into this business but you have a tendency to accumulate a lot of wine. We like to visit wineries when we travel and you usually can’t leave without buying a couple bottles, maybe more if they’re a customer.”

He said Riesling was probably his favorite. Obviously, he doesn’t have any storage issues.

For more information, call 765-472-2940, his products can also be seen and priced at www.radelwoodproducts.com.

This article was supplied by Howard W. Hewitt, a former career journalist and now wine writer. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chronicle staff.

Howard W. Hewitt, Crawfordsville, IN., is a former career journalist and now wine writer. Read his wine blog at: www.redforme.blogspot.com

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About Howard Hewitt

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Howard W. Hewitt of Crawfordsville writes every other week about value wine for 18 Midwestern Newspapers. Read his wine blog at www.redforme.blogspot.clom.

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