They say its one thing to impress the fans, but quite another to impress the players. In your case Scott you have really impressed me. From you excellent use of materials, your waste-not/ want-not attitude, to your excellent craftsmanship, you truly have impressed me.
I can tell from your post that you put a lot of thought into your project, who the end result was going to be for, and what her personality and tastes were. I cannot think of any woodworker more deserving of the award and recognition you got from that winery.
By the way, the only thing I disagree with you on is regarding yourself as "cheap". You are hardly that, your an excellent woodworker who uses what they have to make something better. You are what most woodworkers should strive to become. Any woodworker could make something beautiful out of a piece of highly figured 16 quarter birds eye maple board 20 feet long, its making something gorgeous from an old wine making vat that takes skill, imagination, creativity and hard work.
As I said, you have impressed this woodworker. Congratulations on a dozen different fronts and thanks for belonging to Family Woodworking. You inspire us all.
I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"