Thursday, December 18, 2014     Volume: 15, Issue: 41
Signup

Weekly Poll
Why is car insurance so expensive on the Central Coast?

Because illegal immigrants drive around without licenses or car insurance.
Drunk drivers.
Too many rich people driving expensive cars.
Dumb people on their cell phones causing accidents.

Vote! | Poll Results

RSS Feeds

Latest News RSS
Current Issue RSS

Special Features
Delicious
Search or post Santa Barbara County food and wine establishments

Santa Maria Sun / Cover Story

The following article was posted on October 21st, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 32 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 32

Eco-art: Santa Maria craftsman makes wine barrels into beautiful furniture

BY AMY ASMAN


SHOWROOM READY
Pictured is a selection of the wide variety of furnishings and decorations that eventually will be sold from the Eco-Wine Santa Maria workshop.
PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER

View additional photos of the Eco-Wine Santa Maria Workshop.

Watch videos of the Eco-Wine crew at work.

Jose Pedro Meza Santos has intimate knowledge of wine’s lifecycle. When he moved to the United States from Mexico 27 years ago, he picked grapes as a field hand. Four years and several college courses in English later, he served as floor supervisor at winemaking plants for Cambria Winery, then Meridian Vineyards.

But when Meridian shut down its Santa Maria plant and moved north to Paso, Meza decided it was time to try something new. He stayed close to his wine roots and started selling wine-barrel planters at festivals and at roadside stands.

“I’d be selling planters to other people who would make furniture out of them and I’d always say, ‘Someday I’m going to do that. Someday I’m going to do that,’” he said.

About five years ago, Meza finally made good on his promise.

Now, with the help of his family, he makes and sells all kinds of furniture assembled from used wine barrels. He owns a store in Solvang and, starting this month, he’s selling pieces at his workshop in Santa Maria.


MULTIPURPOSE TABLE
He’s young still, but Rafael Ramirez Santos Jr. (right) makes tables. This particular one was a special order for a customer in Southern California. Owner Jose Pedro Meza Santos helps Rafael Jr. with the fitting of the metal band for the decorative siding.
PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER

“You could use the barrels as planters, but furniture will last forever,” Meza told the Sun while on a tour of the workshop.

Here are some of the pieces he makes: Lazy Susans, cutting boards, platters, wine racks, chairs, benches, bistro tables, and stools. He also makes decorative crosses and wine carriers.

“People like to give those as wedding presents,” he said of the carriers.

When the barrels get to the workshop, Meza and his employees open them up and leave them to dry—for one year.

“If you don’t let it dry long enough, there will be too much moisture in the wood,” he explained.

After the drying time, the craftsmen scrape about a quarter inch off of the insides to get rid of any still damp, unusable wood. Then they take the barrels apart and use the pieces to make furniture. The wine stains give the wood a beautiful burgundy finish, which is advanced by a mineral oil and Vitamin E polish.

Meza said his favorite pieces to make are the wine racks, “because I like to drink wine. I make a little bit of wine, too. Not for commercial use, but for personal use.”


Go eco-shopping
Eco-Wine Furniture’s Santa Maria store is expected to open this month at 619 S. Oakley Ave., suite A. The Solvang store is at 485 Alisal Road, suite 137. For more information, or to place an order online, visit ecowinefurniture.com.

Most of the pieces he makes are custom orders.

“A lot of ideas come from my customers,” 
he said.

Now take a peek inside Meza’s workshop and see how those ideas come to life.

 

Contact Managing Editor Amy Asman at aasman@santamariasun.com and Photographer Steve E. Miller at semiller@newtimesslo.com.

 

PHOTOS BY STEVE E. MILLER

 

 

 

 

VIDEOS BY STEVE E. MILLER