What do billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, former Amway CEO Dick DeVos, and celebrity adopters Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have in common?
At first glance, not a whole lot. To see the connection, you would have to look at their wine cellars, designed and painstakingly built by Revel Custom Wine Cellars, which someone familiar with the company described to me as “the Bentley of wine cellars.” (Revel will emphatically not reveal customer names, but I have other sources vouching for these high-powered wine owners).
If you thought the wine cellar did not need reinventing, you were wrong, or at least in disagreement with Revel founder James Cash, who has a day job as COO of Michigan-based Christman Capital Development Company, a diversified construction and real estate development company he has been with for 20 years. CCDC has made a reputation as an expert on historic structures, hired to restore the Michigan State Capitol Building, the Golden Dome at Notre Dame, the Virginia State Capitol Building, President Lincoln’s cottage next to Arlington Cemetery, and is currently working at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
“We manufacture a proprietary form of wine cellar cabinetry, based on two patented innovations: sliding drawers and rotating lazy Susans specifically designed to hold wine bottles and wooden wine cases. Everything we do is custom.”
In short, Cash knows a thing or two about nice buildings. But it was not until he decided to add a wine cellar to his own home that he realized the existing limitations of the industry. Once again the old adage proved true: necessity really is the mother of invention.
“The idea came to me as I was planning to build a cellar in my home. Before I had the cellar, I had a typical wine ‘rack’ in my basement with individual square openings that you insert the bottle in with a ‘cork out’ orientation. Having been frustrated for years with having to pull out one bottle after another, rotate it so the label is ‘right side up’ so I could read it, and then put it back in the rack, often scraping or tearing the label in the process, I said to myself, I just want a drawer that I can pull out that will reveal four, five or six bottles that are already right side up.”