Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Wine Country Craftsman is happy to announce (Late) that we are doing No Shave November. 

Around the shop it has become a bit of a competition, among those who decided to participate.
This picture is from the first day of NovemBeard, where our newly babyfaced staff was forcibly posed for freshly shorn fashion photoshoots.

Chuck, Rene, Mark, Dave.
Mike, Eli, Mark, Some British Guy
While these guys may not have been keen on shaving given how the ladies have recently decided that a furry face was a needed decoration for any truly manly face.
But sadly, not all were able to participate in our effort to raise awareness of "Man Cancer"  The picture below is a small sample of how much of a hard time we are giving them.

We will be holding a vote at the end of the month to decide who grew in not only the best but also the worst beard in the shop.
If you want to be able to vote: follow us on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

It's Dave

New faces again?

That's right folks, thanks to the upcoming holiday season we have added a few new faces to the shop.
Let's start our introductions with Dave.

There is a quality tool
Dave is semi-pro competitive eater (I imagine) who is waiting for Subway to host a contest before going pro. It's currently tuesday and Dave is on his 5th foot of Subway (I'm not making this up) He eats roughly a field goal's worth of these things every week .  Dave's most recent job was doing something else for some other company in some sort of role (I interviewed him but didn't record it or pay attention). Currently Dave is our: Assembly Section Shop Helper On Lead Electrical.
Dave is excited about his now role in the shop and tries very hard to live up to his title.
If you love Dave, you'll go to our shop and buy some stuff he'll have to wire.

Thanks for reading our newsletter and sorry it took so long between them, We'll have further introductions to the new staff soon :-)

Here is bonus Picture of Chuck for you

Friday, September 18, 2015

An oasis of serenity: the WCC garden

This summer sure has been kind to our tummies here at Wine Country Craftsman! From the last frost in March until the first big October freeze, our onsite garden rewards us with tasty abundance.

There's really too much to list, but here's a partial survey of the goodies we were enjoying just today: squash, tomatoes, peppers, artichokes, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, grapes, lavender, various mints, catnip, sage, caraway, rosemary, basil, oregano...and of course flowers that attract bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

Anyone who works at the shop or visits is welcome to browse the garden for snacks or a treat to take home. Lots of our artisans supplement their lunch with fresh tomatoes and so on, and whoever shows up to work on the weekend is treated to a BBQ with fresh estate ingredients.

Pest control is handled by the shop's rescue cat, though he doesn't bother the garden's resident toad. The back garden is the one place on the grounds where dogs aren't allowed, for maybe obvious reasons (hint: don't eat the mint from the front garden!!).

Besides feeding us, the garden gives us a great place to conduct meetings or escape for a quiet and relaxing break. Especially in our busiest seasons, a few minutes of picking blackberries can go a long way toward calming the mind and relaxing the eardrums.

Now that nighttime temperatures are dropping into the 40s again, it feels like it we're in a race against time. It won't be long until most of the garden goes dormant for the winter; then we can start planning for next year's feast.

Hey, we LOVE gardens! Share a picture of your visit to our garden—or you in your own home garden—and we'll share a 10% coupon for your next purchase here!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Hey! Wanna help us raise funds to support women facing cancer? To observe Stand Up to Cancer Day, for the next 24 hours—from now 'til noon Friday—we're donating 10% of all sales to Breast Friends.

Breast Friends logo
From their website: “Breast Friends ensures that no woman goes through cancer alone. We are a unique resource for women, their families, friends, co-workers and community minimizing the fear and isolation of cancer. For over a decade our programs have empowered thousands with emotional support and hope. We are survivors and professionals helping others celebrate the joy of life. Breast Friends provides emotional support to women and their families all over the country.”

In addition to their incredible array of online resources, in some lucky regions they provide personal care and host events. We're partnering with Breast Friends to support their mission of expanding to new, underserved communities. Help us help them!

Go to our Etsy page to check out our awesome handmade goodies. Buy anything (or everything!) and we'll automatically set aside 10% of the sale price for Breast Friends. You can also donate directly at the Breast Friends website—tell 'em we sent you. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New things around the shop!

Having new stuff is always fun. We have gotten a lot of new things as of late.

A shipment of stylish hats has arrived! 
New tools, new shop dogs, new shop cat, new social media, and even a few new faces. So now I will present the new folk!

I couldn't get a welding picture without burning my retina 
ELY: This young welder walked in off the streets about two weeks ago looking for work, so we gave him a tryout. His welds were great and he meshed right in with the crazy people we employ on a regular basis.
He learned his craft in the 9th grade when he took a metal shop class that lit a desire for fusing steel at high temps for hours on end.

Anthony: A level 8 rogue with a natural 20 charisma is now the shipping department. He got a job here due to his previous employment at the liquor store where the office staff made their twice weekly stockups. Anthony (or Tony as I call him) is a problem solving machine! Just the other day he showed me how to open a box with a scimitar.

That bandsaw was floating away
Charles, Chuck, Skippy, or simply "The Kid":  Skippy is the shop's version of the "Best boy," happy to sand, drill holes, go on supply runs, make product, or his favorite duty, "Lean on things." Chuckles loves working with metal and brings a levity to the shop floor that makes the days go by faster and even, dare I say, more fun. If you have ordered from us recently I bet "The Kid" probably leaned against it before it got shipped out to you.

What Cody looks like when you bust into the kiln and yell "POLICE!"
Cody:  This one-time international award winning skateboarder (that's what I imagine) is our shop helpie-helperton! You have a job that is going to take hours of standing in the sun doing the same thing over and over while your brain melts slowly out of your ears and nose? Cody would be happy to do it! It seems as though he's never had a bad day and no matter how hard we try we can't give him one.

uuuummm the picture says it all.

Chelsea: A former member of the "Foot Clan" and a "twerking instructor" showed up one day and started running the glass cutting department. If your order has glass incorporated into it then this lady cut, ground and mounted it with the extreme focus and dedication that only an enemy of the Ninja Turtles could muster. Although she has retired from her former life of daily ninja assassinations she still stalks and takes down any challenge we throw her way.

Reach for the sky
Greg: This Cal Poly grad recently joined our co-op pirate-ninja staff and took to it like a [insert good metaphor here.] After an achilles injury sustained while on an undercover mission with the CIA that he's not allowed to talk about, he took over the wiring department (the only job in the shop with a chair) and rocked out the sockets, shedding new light on otherwise dim projects.

Ric "The office nerd": This raging hipster came to us by way of the fabric industry; after working in textiles for 12 years he wanted to move to somewhere with sparks flying and bandsaws roaring! So he now works in our quiet office. This D&D playing Brony is the sexiest one in the office! He is in charge of social media, website integration, and writing the blog posts ;-)

This is Chuck Norris
And Arnold

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Day in the Shop

A normal day in the shop is anything but a normal day, but I'll try to give you some highlights.

Welding in the Central Coast heat requires a strong constitution.

Nine to five? No! Michael seems to live here; Nick arrives at 5 am with Bekki close behind at 5:30; most arrive by 7 and the rest of us seem like slackers, dragging our near lifeless carcasses through the door at quarter to 8.

Sand that thing, Son!
Quiet Cubicles? If the sound of an angle grinder singing baritone while belt sanders and countless drills fill in the chorus sounds relaxing, this may be the shop for you. But somewhere over all that noise you can still hear the Bee Gees belting out "Staying Alive" on disco Thursday.

Annoying Coworkers? This makes me think of that quote from "Rounders" where Matt Damon says, "If you can't spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker." You see, I was told that "There's one in every workplace," but I can't find them here...I'm starting to be paranoid that I can't spot them because it's me.

Boring office job? Michael offered to make coffee for the office staff this morning (ok, I was the entire office staff this morning, but still). When he delivered the cup it smelled as if a bottle of Crown was used in place of water in the brewing process. "Are you trying to wake me up or knock me out?" I asked.
"It gets the creative juices flowing," he replied and went off to play with power tools, laughing like the joker in the Adam West Batman world.

You know what that is? AWESOME! that's what that is.
Lame Team Building Days? We have a pretty much weekly BBQ out back where the boss provides all the meat and booze anyone could reasonably be expected to consume in an afternoon. It's the only weekly work party I've been to that has a designated driver system in place. There are Kung Fu Fridays where our resident Kung Fu instructor gives an intro to Chinese martial arts lesson.

This plate was gone in 13.4 seconds.

The point is, coming directly from Corporate America to Wine Country is a bit of an adjustment. Everything you wanted at your old job is there and available and it's so amazing you have a sense of disbelief. Take this blogpost for instance, I wrote it and tried to run it past Michael, "It's your website man, make it how you want... you seem tense, let's have a drink."

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Story of Madness

This shop is full of stories. That's what happens when you take a bunch of mad geniuses and give them tools, toys, materials, and booze: great things, each of which has a great story. We're usually too busy kicking out the things to stop and tell their stories. But we've got this new guy who thinks he can help us tell them, so we're gonna let him try. (Go easy on him; he's new.)

So here's where we'll let the stories out. Watch this space for behind-the-scenes photos, mini-profiles of our awesome artists, DIY tips, and drunken ramblings about the joy of creating art.
Photo of Bekki Young
Bekki Young, Shop Director

So let's meet Bekki!

She's our Shop Director, and she has been kicking ass here since 2013. If you've placed an order, Bekki has touched it. She assigns every project to the artisan most suited to create it. When stuff hits the fan, she jumps in to fix it firsthand, troubleshooting challenges in the production process and building things when time allows.

Bekki also does the brilliant handpainting for custom orders and special products, including winebots like the KISS band and Tiki collection, and one of a kind barrel heads like our shop's 9/11 tribute. Bekki says her work is inspired by the other artists at the shop, and credits madman Keith for his creative genius in breathing life into winebots and other barrel ring products.

Hey, we're going to be doing this at least once a week. You ought to come back and see us every so often. Anything you want to see? Leave your questions and requests in the comments and we'll do what we can to show off what we're up to. Welcome to the madness!

Bekki painted this shield, inspired by vintage art, onto this barrel head built and stamped on September 11, 2011.

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