Hi, I’m Barry Wax, and I invented and brought to market the VinGardeValise®, the safest way to travel with your wine. How I got here is really a story of making lemonade from lemons—with a little help from my friends.
The short version…sort of bittersweet, like lemons…goes like this: in May, 2010, I went in for what I was assured was “routine” retinal detachment surgery. I came out, after all the dust settled, with one less eye due directly to the less-than-stellar post-op care I received from the MD on-call after my surgery.
Because my vision was limited, I could no longer continue with my business of making a full line (some 50+ items) of wine accessories. So I was stumbling around, figuratively and sometimes literally, looking for something to do commensurate with my “revised” skill set. I was visiting a friend, Paul Thistle, in Indianapolis, Indiana, still trying to figure out what to do, when Paul said, “build me a suitcase for carrying wine.”
He said that what was on the market was not very good, too expensive and heavy, and, anyway, he needed a wine suitcase so he and Debbie (his wife) could easily take their wine to summer concerts on the lakes around Indianapolis. Of course, I said no. He said “yes…yes…and, yes” and won the argument so that started a three- year trek to create and figure out how to manufacture a suitcase suitable for safely transporting wine.
It took slightly longer than three years, 5 different suitcase prototypes, multiple trips to China to confer with the manufacturers and a willingness to stick-to-it (with some never-ending prodding from my friend Paul) to reach the take-off point and order our first container of wine suitcases. We announced the introduction of the 12-bottle suitcase in March 2014, received our first suitcases to sell in May 2014, and have continued to enhance, improve and offer new innovations steadily since then, moving from model 01, to 02, to 03 and our newest edition, 04, which has just been rolled out this fall.
While the models have evolved, our company has grown to a dozen staff who work virtually from all over the world. Our Cru is a very diverse group who know that our #1 core value is customer service. We look forward to sharing our VinGardeValise with you, so you too, can experience the safest way to travel with your wine.