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This is the story about how I stumbled upon the Pinotage-stained French Oak strip that is now an integral part of all PlaasYuppie boards and plates, and how the Pinotage Series of PlaasYuppie boards was born.  This is also the story of how a discarded piece of almost 200 year-old French Oak can be recycled and up-cycled into a finely crafted masterpiece, ensuring it will add value and joy for generations to come.

The Initial Disappointment...

The PlaasYuppie Pinotage Series – and for that matter, the entire PlaasYuppie range! – started to take shape after a year-end function I attended at Wellington Wines.  One of the wine makers told me about the French Oak staves they use in the production of their Pinotage, and invited me to collect the discarded staves they had.  A couple of days later I obliged and went to collect some.

My first impressions ranged somewhere between severely unimpressed and totally disappointed!  This is what the stacks of staves looked like:

Nothing To Lose...

So much for the French Oak I expected, right?  But then again, I had nothing to lose… 

Back in the workshop I randomly selected a stave and sent it through the thicknesser planer.  The first thing that got my attention was the overwhelming smell of freshly-ground coffee!  As the stave emerged through the planer, I was struck by the sheer beauty of the wood – the darkest wood with the most beautiful grain you can imagine.  I couldn’t believe my eyes – the ugly duckling turned into the most beautiful swan right before my eyes!

I could see that the wood had a high moisture content, and a quick measurement with a moisture meter confirmed it.  I stacked the entire load out in the open, ensuring proper airflow between all the staves, and thus the natural drying process began.  I left the stack throughout the summer and the wet winter, and as the days started to heat up after spring, I started monitoring the moisture content.  As soon as that reached 10%, I moved the staves out of the open and into the workshop and started machining a few staves, getting them ready for a glue-up experiment.

Once again I was surprised by how well the glue took to the wood, and how strong the face grain joints proved to be.  After leaving the board for about a week to allow the glue to properly cure (overkill, I know!), I dunked it into a tank of water and left it to soak for a week.  I used top quality wood glue (because I always do!) for the glue-up, so I just wanted to see what the quality of the thin strips of wood was like.  After a week I took it out and left it outside in direct sunlight for another week.  I repeated this process for two months, punishing the board to the extreme to see determine the quality of the wood after it’s been submerged in Pinotage for an extended period.

Fresh from the Pinotage and planed to show the high moisture content.  From here it will dry for almost a year before being ready…

We Have A Winner!

My wildest expectations were exceeded!  The test board stayed in shape with minimal flaws from the harsh treatment, and I knew I had some very special wood to work with.  The Pinotage-stained French Oak was about to become an integral part of the PlaasYuppie range, and already the idea op a limited series of boards crafted from Pinotage-stained French Oak only was taking shape.  Supplies were always going to be limited, which meant I had to carefully plan the quantities of each board I was planning to make, whilst ensuring I would have enough stock for the regular PlaasYuppie products.

The very first Pinotage board I crafted was a Makhulu Braai Serving Board, and the decision was made to limit production to only 50 boards per year:

A freshly oiled board before the PlaasYuppie logo is laser-engraved onto it.

The origin of the wood and the long and exhilarating road it followed to end up in my workshop is such a fascinating story that it prompted me to create a matching “story brick” to share the uniqueness of the wood used to craft the Pinotage series of boards.  Each PlaasYuppie Pinotage Edition Makhulu Steak Serving Board has a matching story brick, and can be claimed below.  Below is a picture of the story brick: 

Not all wines are born equal. This PlaasYuppie Pinotage board is testament to the care and detail some wines are crafted with. The French Oak from which this board was crafted originated from carefully managed forests in France. Trees between the ages of 150 and 200 years were meticulously selected and harvested for their unique qualities and tannin content. Staves were cut from only certain parts of the trees, carefully dried and prepared over a period of 18 months, and then toasted to order.

These imported staves were inserted into wine tanks containing Pinotage, where the tannin in the wood added subtle hints of coffee to the wine. After 6 to 12 months the staves were extracted from the tanks. Once discarded by the cellar, we collect the staves and carefully dry them. Only the finest staves are then selected to be machined and crafted into the exclusive masterpiece you have before you. Limited to only fifty boards per year, this PlaasYuppie Makhulu Braai Board is the pinnacle of exclusive authenticity.

French Oak staves still in their packaging, imported from France.  About two years from here they will also become PlaasYuppie Pinotage Series boards, but first they have to help make some very special wine!

CLAIM YOUR PINOTAGE BOARD'S STORY BRICK

 Every PlaasYuppie Pinotage Series Makhulu Braai Serving Board has a matching “story brick” – a piece of off-cut that matches the pattern of the board, and has the matching serial number as well as the story of the origin of the wood engraved on it.  If you’ve bought a board at one of our retailers, you can claim your story brick below, and we will sendit to you absolutely free of charge!

2019 EDITION - PLAASYUPPIE PINOTAGE SERIES MAKHULU BRAAI SERVING BOARD

Plese note:  Boards listed in a green frame was bought by re-sellers and might still be available at the listed retailer.

#01 OF 2019

WINDMEUL KELDER WELLINGTON, RSA

#02 OF 2019

DICK & ALSOPP MICA WELLINGTON, RSA

#03 OF 2019

DUNSTONE WELLINGTON, RSA

#04 OF 2019

DUNSTONE WELLINGTON, RSA

#05 OF 2019

DUNSTONE WELLINGTON, RSA

#06 OF 2019

WELLINGTON WINES WELLINGTON, RSA

#07 OF 2019

WELLINGTON WINES WELLINGTON, RSA

#08 OF 2019

WELLINGTON WINES WELLINGTON, RSA

#09 OF 2019

WELLINGTON WINES WELLINGTON, RSA

#10 OF 2019

WELLINGTON WINES WELLINGTON, RSA

#11 OF 2019

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Pinotage-stained staves stacked to dry naturally.

2018 EDITION - PLAASYUPPIE PINOTAGE SERIES MAKHULU BRAAI SERVING BOARD

Only 20 PlaasYuppie Pinotage Series Makhulu Braai Serving Boards were produced with the 2018 batch of staves, and all the available boards are listed below.  Grab yours now!

#01 OF 2018

SOLD!

JACO

WELLINGTON, SOUTH AFRICA

#02 OF 2018

SOLD!

JACO

WELLINGTON, SOUTH AFRICA

#03 OF 2018

IN PRODUCTION

#04 OF 2018

IN PRODUCTION

#05 OF 2018

IN PRODUCTION

#06 OF 2018

IN PRODUCTION

#07 OF 2018

SOLD!

ANDRé

WELLINGTON, SOUTH AFRICA

#08 OF 2018

IN PRODUCTION

#09 OF 2018

IN PRODUCTION

#10 OF 2018

IN PRODUCTION

#11 OF 2018

IN PRODUCTION

#12 OF 2018

IN PRODUCTION

#13 OF 2018

IN PRODUCTION

#14 OF 2018

IN PRODUCTION

#15 OF 2018

IN PRODUCTION

#16 OF 2018

IN PRODUCTION

#17 OF 2018

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#18 OF 2018

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#19 OF 2018

IN PRODUCTION

#20 OF 2018

SOLD!

WELLINGTON WINES

WELLINGTON, SOUTH AFRICA

Almost done!  A PlaasYuppie Pinotage Series Makhulu Steak Serving Board and its accompanying story brick ready to be machined, sanded, oiled and engraved.

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