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Bruce Barnes designer of Winerax's modular wine rack storage solution

Bruce Barnes was a wine lover, but he was frustrated that so many people kept their wine in boxes or racks that didn’t allow them to see the labels. More importantly, he knew that storing wine upright risked drying out the cork and allowing air to oxidise the wine.

Fortunately, Bruce was also one of New Zealand's most talented industrial designers, notching up over 30 years in the industry. So when he couldn't find a wine rack that was perfect for storing his modest wine collection, he decided to design one himself, naming it WINERAX.  

When Trade & Enterprise New Zealand saw the initial WINERAX design, they granted Bruce an award to complete its development. After much research Bruce chose ABS plastic as the material of choice as it offers durability, dimensional strength and flexibility with rigidity.

Bruce’s design knowhow then got to work on creating an innovative solution that slots together easily with no tools needed, and one that you can easily configure to fit any space.

Sadly and unexpectedly, Bruce died in 2002. His dream, however, continues with WINERAX providing a practical, stylish and effective storage solution for wine lovers worldwide.

On Bruce’s passing, his family continued to run the business until in 2007 Steve and Bev Nathan on a rainy Saturday morning came across an ad for a small plastic manufacturing business. Intrigued, Steve called the agent, and when he was told the product was an innovative New Zealand designed wine rack it was a little like the guy (Victor Kiam) who liked Remington Razor so much he bought the company: “When I saw it I thought I wish I’d designed that!” says Steve.

Steve and Bev’s other business interests included a small vineyard growing chardonnay on the famed Ngatarawa Triangle with its own wine label, and WINERAX was quickly integrated into the family.

In 2016, approaching 10 ten years of developing the WINERAX brand in New Zealand, Steve and Bev were looking to pass the mantle on, and this is when Martin and Janine Bates had a similar damascus moment whilst looking through the classifieds.

WIth business backgrounds in Global Logistics and Finance, they were looking to add to their business portfolio that they had been building since returning home to Hawke’s Bay in 2011.

The simplicity of WINERAX’s “no tools required” assembly and the creative genius of its modular design, struck a chord, and they are now the one’s enlightened by Bruce’s original vision, and working to spread this beyond the shores of New Zealand so that wine enthusiasts the world over can benefit from this piece of Kiwi ingenuity.