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Star-Bulletin Features

Wednesday, September 27, 2000

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Wine Vines give glasses an identity.

Beads and wire
turn stemware into
classy glasses


Betty Shimabukuro

Dang. Put my wine glass down on the buffet table, and which one was it? Maybe the one on the right, but what if that one belongs to the weird guy? He might have cooties. Dang. That was good wine, too.

As if we don't have enough to worry about in life, there comes the social embarrassment of wine-glass confusion.

Enter the Wine Vine.

Jiffy Schneider is making some of the cleverest things you never knew you needed. She takes coils of wire, threads them with beads and makes "identifiers," the industry term for something that sets one wine glass apart from another. Handy for large gatherings, or just to dress up a glass.

She's selling the items at the rate of 600 to 700 a week from the small business she runs out of her home on Bainbridge Island, Wash., a 35-minute ferry ride from Seattle.

In Hawaii, her sister, Kaleo Schneider, manager at Roy's Waiokola, and her mother, Bobby Lou Yeakel, owner of Buzz's Original Steak House, are coiling and beading as well, and their creations are making their way into stores such as Executive Chef and Compleat Kitchen and the Kailua shops Island Treasures and Under the Hula Moon.

They sell in packs of four different designs for about $12. Fancier versions, with the wire completely threaded in tiny beads, sell for about $8 each.

They are popular for wedding parties (decoration and favor in one) and sell especially well in Napa Valley, Jiffy Schneider says.

Schneider, a bartender, came up with the idea at a July 4 party in 1999, when she was given a wine glass with a bead strung through a hole in the stem. It made it easy to keep track of her glass.

She and her mother started experimenting and within months she was a part-time bartender, full-time wine-viner. "It's totally fun."

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