By Brian Panowich
Photos courtesy of Vinworx
What is more elegant or charming than the right glass of wine served to the right people at the right time? The perfect wine can help create that timeless moment, bringing you back to that moment every time you pour from a future bottle. Now imagine if you had a space in your home to collect those precious bottles as gateways to those memories. And I’m not just talking about any space, but an area that matches its contents with the same refinement and style.
Welcome to Vinworx Wine Cellars.
If you close your eyes and picture a wine cellar, you might conjure up images from the movies or TV of a dark, dusty basement with cobweb-covered corridors and a shifty floor, or a room tucked away in the dark recesses of some castle somewhere. But the owner and proprietor of Vinworx Wine Cellars, Mark Rhodes, is turning that picture on its head. He is designing and building personalized, beautiful and classy wine cellars for people in all types of homes with spaces ranging from converted storage closets to full-size bonus rooms.
His humble story connects being in the right place and time with sheer will and tenacity. Rhodes comes from a military background. Born in France, he spent a lot of his life overseas, including Italy and Germany, before settling in the Augusta area. After meeting his wife, he relocated to Aiken, S.C.
Despite being born into a military family, Rhodes’ passion is woodworking. For years, he has designed and built furniture, mainly for his interest. But in the early 2000s, a local wine store asked if he would build them a wine rack to display their wares. Not one to back down from a challenge, Rhodes agreed, and designed and built what the store requested. He also printed a few business cards and let the world work its magic.
Soon after, his phone rang and someone asked if Rhodes could build something similar, but in his home. Rhodes designed his first wine cellar and then the phone began to ring again — and again.
In 2005, Vinworx was officially born. He created a website and the business turned from a side gig to a driving force in an industry that desperately needed someone like him.
“I knew right away that I didn’t want to be everything to everyone. There are a ton of contractors who build cabinets and such and can also try and do what I do, but I didn’t want to be just okay at everything. I wanted to be the best at one thing in particular. So I became the best at building wine cellars.”
Rhodes began investing in the idea of providing a laser-focused service to the people of the Savannah River Region. He started planning, designing and building gorgeous “functional works of art” across Georgia, South and North Carolina.
I asked Rhodes about the idea that only the upper echelon of society would be able to carve out an entire room in their home dedicated to wine. He was quick to ground me by saying that much of his business comes from closet conversions and unused space.
“We come in and assess the space you have, whether it be a closet or under-the-stairs area, and design the perfect cellar to fit your needs. We have built cellars that can accommodate anything from three hundred to five thousand bottles,” he explains.
“We realize that having a wine cellar isn’t priority one for most homeowners, but we also realize that shouldn’t stop anyone from having one. Not only do we work with the space you have, but we do our best to work with the customer to navigate the space and build it into something unique and special according to their individual needs.,” he says. “We don’t want to come in and force anything on a prospective client. We want to earn it. We want to earn the right to build something beautiful and functional that will last long after we leave.”
That last remark made me ask whether Vinworx guarantees the work. He chuckled, mainly because the question had never dawned on him. He equated it to whether or not a writer like me warranties their work.
“Would you stand by your work for an eternity?” he asks. Yes, yes, I would. So he replied by telling me there is a lifetime warranty on all his work.
Rhodes is an artist at heart. He isn’t a contractor vying to make as many dollars as possible in the world of home building, just to collect his invoice and disappear into the ether. He’s equal parts artist — wanting to see his work bring as much joy as possible to his clients — and independent businessman. He wants his customers to know that when they invite Vinworx into their life, they are getting a company that worries less about the bottom line than the visual appeal of the product.
So is a Vinworx wine cellar something for you? Allow me to answer that question. Do you love wine? Do you love the idea of having a space in your home that is unique? Do you want to work with a company that doesn’t require you to deal with several layers of nonsense? For years, Mark Rhodes and his Vinworx team have been working with people to achieve their dream cellar.
Remember that glass of wine that brings you back to that night out with your partner for the first time, or that sip of cabernet sauvignon that stirs up memories of a life-changing event? Travel into the world of collecting some of the world’s most valued treasures and call Mark Rhodes at Vinworx Wine Cellars. You have no idea where the trip will take you, and Mark is exactly the person you want in your corner to begin the ride.
Check out the world of Vinworx Wine Cellars at vinworx.com
“We don’t want to come in and force anything on a prospective client. We want to earn it. We want to earn the right to build something beautiful and functional that will last long after we leave.”
– Mark Rhodes
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