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Developer of wine-storage system launches marketing

Rob Sabo

Wine racks have been around for centuries, but Chet Bassetti and his wife, Diane, couldn’t find a storage system they found appealing for their modest collection of bottles.

Now that they’ve designed one, they’re trying to build a business around it.

“We wanted to have a refrigerated wine room but also wanted it to look nice,” Chet Bassetti says from his luxurious home off Joy Lake Road on the Mount Rose Highway. “A lot of the wine rooms today look nice but just have diagonal racks and shelves. We wanted this to be more like a winery, when you go into their wine cave and see all the wine barrels.”

After talking to wineries and barrel-makers about their ideas and turning up blanks, the Bissettis designed a stackable storage system using rustic wine barrels. Each barrel is capable of storing 39 bottles. Their “wine cave” is a prominent feature located near the kitchen of their home.

Convinced they’ve found an unoccupied sales niche, the couple recently formed a business, The Barrel Rack, to sell their product. The company takes orders online at http://www.barrelrack.com, but Chet Bassetti says they’ve yet to make a sale.

“We are still focused on getting the word out about the business,” he says. “We have only just started. We just got the Web site up and running in late February.”

Bassetti, a retired Silicon Valley electrical engineer, started tinkering with the idea in 2004 and settled on a final design in November of 2006. He’s awaiting patent approval, although he didn’t create the design with a business in mind.

The couple plans sharply focused marketing to high-end builders, interior designers and architects.

“An entry- to mid-level home probably doesn’t have a wine cellar,” Bassetti says. “In talking to Realtors in the Reno area, they say 70 percent of the homes above a million dollars have some sort of means for wine storage, whether it is a wine cooler in the kitchen or a wine cellar. If we can even get a small percentage of those new homes and remodels, I think we will do just fine.”

The couple runs the self-funded venture from their home, and the orders will be manufactured and shipped by barrel-makers across the nation.

“We have gotten some prototypes, and it looks like we want it to,” Bassetti says. “We just have to maintain that the quality levels are what we want.”



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