VERNE IN ENGLISH

The Canadian company reinventing the Spanish wineskin

The Colborne Bag Company crowdfunds an update aimed at a younger, North American market

A shot of wine before getting back to that spreadsheet...
A shot of wine before getting back to that spreadsheet...

It was once a common sight, particularly among cowboys in Hollywood westerns. Now the Colborne Bag Company is using everyone from John Wayne to Ernest Hemingway to educate today’s consumers on the uses of the wineskin – a modern-day wineskin that is, which combines traditional materials with a trendy design manufactured in Spain and soon to be exported to Canada and the US.

“It’s the perfect way to carry wine, it looks good and it’s made for sharing,” boasts the promotional video created by the Canadian entrepreneurs to help launch a successful campaign on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform. A reference follows to Ernest Hemingway, author of For Whom the Bell Tolls and a regular at the annual sanfermines bull runs in Pamplona.

The entrepreneurs asked for Canadian $7,500 (€5,200), a figure reached in the first few days of the campaign – which they say exceeded their expectations.

Kelvin Elwad, the driving force behind the initiative, says the idea of marketing wineskins in his home country came to him as he travelled around Spain. “I found one in a shop in Valencia,” he says. “I’ve always liked them and I decided to take one back to my girlfriend as a souvenir.”

Elwad and his girlfriend took the wineskin along to an open-air performance of Shakespeare in a Toronto park. “Everyone was asking what it was and I realized there were a lot of people who needed to be shown how to use it,” recalls Elwad.

To modernize the look, Elwad and his fellow entrepreneurs contacted Canadian graphic designer Jack Curtis, who created the model in the Kickstarter campaign

Something of a hispanophile himself, with a love of paella and clothes by the Seville brand Scalpers, Elwad says he realized that the wineskin tradition had been lost in Canada. “In the past, we would always take one on skiing or camping trips,” he says. “And I realized that young North Americans were missing out on the chance to use a beautiful and practical product.”

Elwad says it is essential that Colbourne’s wineskin be made in Spain, so the company is contacting Spanish manufacturers with a view to establishing a production center here. “Some of them have been handcrafting wineskins for more than a century,” he says.

To modernize the look slightly, Elwad and his fellow entrepreneurs contacted Canadian graphic designer Jack Curtis, who created the model seen in the Kickstarter campaign.

The new-look wineskin isn’t the company’s first product but Elwad says it has huge potential. Perhaps it might soon be seen at the Coachella or SXSW festivals, helping revelers quench their thirst while listening to Arcade Fire or James Bay.

English version by Heather Galloway.

More information