We’ve been fans of Sommi Wine Cellars for some time now. We’re huge advocates of quality hand-crafted goods and the team at Sommi bring to the table a supreme level of craftsmanship with their cellars. They’ve recently brought to market their latest offering, the Brock Series Dual Wine Refrigerator. When you want to have your aged favorites stored nearby in a furniture piece that makes a statement, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the Brock Fridge. We were fortunate enough to chat with Vieng Oudom, Founder of Sommi Wine Cellars discussing the brand, company, and their latest offering. Here’s what he had to say…
Expanding on the ethos of what Sommi Wine Cellars is all about, marrying beauty, form, and function to produce supreme hand-crafted wine cellars… can you tell us a bit about how Sommi came about, it’s beginnings, the company’s design ethos and vision, and what continues to drive it further within its segment?
Sommi Wine Cellars was inspired by my sister “Sommie” who struggled to find a furniture-style wine cellar that was handcrafted locally, beautiful and complimented her home décor. With this inspiration, I put my mechanical engineering skills and passion for entrepreneurship to work to create a prototype that was later displayed at Domaine Serene Winery. The company’s design ethos and vision is to create innovative designs combining engineering with traditional craftsmanship with a vision to support the local economy by sourcing materials locally, utilizing local talent and supporting local organizations when possible. The wine cellar and accessories market consists of products mainly produced overseas with limited innovation. One of the driving forces at Sommi Wine Cellars is to re-engineer these products so that they are of the highest quality and are locally handcrafted or hand-assembled.
We stumbled upon Sommi’s blog post that discusses the hand-forged handles used in your cellars. With the extent that the company goes to in order to ensure the highest levels of craftsmanship… what’s the most unique, special, and/or challenging aspect of manufacturing one of your cellars?
Every single Sommi product is made to order using the highest quality locally sourced materials with a top of the line climate control system. It can take up to 10 weeks to design and produce a custom piece depending on where the material is sourced. There are times when we will actually source the material from an old 100 year old barn with our own bare hands. This process is time consuming and we’ve been fortunate to work with great clients that understand the details and the level of effort that goes into handcrafting each of our cellars.
You guys recently added a new item on your product line, the Brock Series Dual Wine Fridge. Where did the inspiration for this particular piece come from?
Many of our clients have requested the ability to store both red and white wines at two different temperatures. The Brock Series Dual Wine Fridge fulfills this need while meeting our design ethos. We named this new series after our first client, Lori Brock, the owner and interior design extraordinaire of Brock Design Group for believing in us and giving us a chance to show our talent.
With Sommi offering a custom line of products, what has been one of the most unique or hard to satisfy choice of materials or requests that has been implemented on a project to-date?
We love difficult and challenging products at Sommi Wine Cellars. The most challenging, but very satisfying project to date was our Las Vegas Penthouse Condo Project. Our client wanted us to transform our flagship Credenza design into a 10 foot wine bar with the ability to store glassware that would not obscure his view of the Las Vegas strip. The design had to be 4 different sections and assembled onsite so that they would all fit inside the condo elevator and through the narrow hallway. It took a team of 4 installers including myself to position the wine bar in place for installation. After installation, the wine bar looked like it was one continuous piece as intended.
A new cellar has just been finished, it looks magnificent, and you sit back to admire it. You can pour any bottle of wine as you appreciate the finished product. What wine do you pour?
This is a tough question. I am a wine enthusiast and love all types of wine. Being an Oregonian, I am a big fan of Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley but also love blends from Woodinville, WA and Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon. Some of my favorite wines are from Domaine Serene Winery, Granville Wine Co., Patricia Green Cellars, Brian Carter Cellars and St. Supery just to name a few.
Any final comments you’d like to share with readers about Sommi?
There’s an old adage that it takes a village to run a business. I’ve been very fortunate to be surrounded by a great mentor, an amazing talent of craftsmen and support from industry partners to friends and family. These individuals and businesses have helped bring the vision of Sommi Wine Cellars to reality. Their contribution and support fuels my fire for creativity and entrepreneurship.
Photo © Somm & Jey, LLC.