Title:
Wine Bottle Rotation System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The wine bottle rotation system (10) includes a wine rack formed from a pair of vertical support members (12) having a plurality of horizontal support members (14), or shelves, mounted therebetween. A plurality of rollers (18) are rotationally mounted between pairs of horizontal and vertical support members (14, 12) and are spaced apart such that a wine bottle (20) can be received between two adjacent rollers (18). Driven rotation of the rollers (18) causes the wine bottle (20) to rotate, thus preventing the settling and accumulation of free sediment (21) within the wine bottle (20) by the binding of sediment (21) to the inner glass wall of the bottle (20), decreasing the amount of free sediment (21) within the wine.



Inventors:
Jaskowski, Troy D. (Salt Lake City, UT, US)
Application Number:
11/795597
Publication Date:
10/16/2008
Filing Date:
08/22/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/77, 366/214, 366/233, 211/1.51
International Classes:
A47B73/00; A47F7/28; A47G23/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PAN, YUWEN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MORRISS OBRYANT COMPAGNI CANNON, PLLC (4505 S WASATCH BLVD, SUITE 270, SALT LAKE CITY, UT, 84124, US)
Claims:
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property of privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. A wine bottle rotation system, comprising: a support frame having a pair of vertical support members and at least one pair of horizontal support members disposed between the pair of vertical support members; a plurality of rollers rotatably mounted to the at least one pair of horizontal support members, adjacent ones of the rollers being spaced apart in order to be adapted for receiving a wine bottle therebetween; drive means for rotationally driving the plurality of rollers, whereby when the wine bottle is received between an adjacent pair of the rollers, the adjacent pair of rollers causes said wine bottle to rotate, thus preventing settling and accumulation of free sediment within the wine bottle.

2. The wine bottle rotation system as recited in claim 1, wherein said drive means comprises an electric motor.

3. The wine bottle rotation system as recited in claim 1, wherein said drive means comprises a manually driven crank.

4. The wine bottle rotation system as recited in claim 1, wherein said at least one pair of horizontal support members comprises a plurality of pairs of horizontal support members, each of the pairs of horizontal support members defining a support tier, said plurality of rollers including a plurality of sets of rollers, each of the sets of rollers corresponding to a respective one of the support tiers.

5. The wine bottle rotation system as recited in claim 4, further comprising a plurality of horizontal drive belts, each of the sets of rollers having at least one of the horizontal drive belts joining the rollers within the set for simultaneous rotation of all of the rollers in the set.

6. The wine bottle rotation system as recited in claim 4, wherein each said set of rollers includes a plurality of gravity rollers and a drive roller, each of the drive rollers connected to and driven by said drive means.

7. The wine bottle rotation system as recited in claim 6, further comprising a plurality of vertical drive belts, wherein said drive rollers being joined by the vertical drive belts for simultaneous rotation of said drive rollers.

8. The wine bottle rotation system as recited in claim 7, further comprising a plurality of horizontal drive belts, the horizontal drive belts joining the rollers within each said set of rollers for simultaneous rotation of all the rollers in said set.

9. The wine bottle rotation system as recited in claim 1, wherein said at least one pair of horizontal support members includes first and second horizontal support members, said first horizontal support member having a plurality of recesses formed therein, each said recess being dimensioned and configured for receiving and supporting the neck of the wine bottle.

10. The wine bottle rotation system as recited in claim 1, further comprising a user interface connected to said drive means for allowing a user to selectively control said drive means.

11. The wine bottle rotation system as recited in claim 10, further comprising a timer connected to said drive means for allowing a user to program user-selectable timed rotation of said wine bottle.

12. The wine bottle rotation system as recited in claim 11, wherein said timer is programmed to rotate the wine bottles one-quarter of one turn at timed intervals.

13. The wine bottle rotation system as recited in claim 11, wherein said timer is programmed to rotate the wine bottles in one long, slow, continuous rotation.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to racks for storing bottles, and particularly to a wine bottle rotation system for turning wine bottles continuously or at pre-set timed intervals to promote the binding of free sediment to the inner glass wall in the wine bottles during the aging process.

BACKGROUND ART

During aging, wine often forms particulate matter, which is known as “free sediment.” Stationary storage of wine bottles can result in the settling of the sediment within the wine bottle, which can alter the taste and quality of the wine if decanted with the wine. In order to prevent the accumulation of free sediment within the wine, it is necessary to agitate the sediment within the bottle, but not to such a degree that would alter the quality of the wine or provide undue stress to the fragile glass bottle. Since free sediment is undesirable, it is necessary to have a system that promotes the binding of free sediment to the inner glass walls of the bottle, which would reduce the amount of free sediment in the wine.

Due to both the fragility of the glass of the wine bottles and the delicate nature of the wine, it is necessary to provide gentle rotation of the wine bottles, while simultaneously providing support and providing for display of a collection of the wine bottles.

Thus, a wine bottle rotation system solving the aforementioned problems is desired.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

The disclosure is directed to a wine bottle rotation system. The system includes a support frame with a pair of vertical support members and at least one pair of horizontal support members. The horizontal support members are disposed between the pair of vertical support members. A plurality of rollers are rotatably mounted to the horizontal support members. The rollers are spaced apart so that they are adapted to receive a wine bottle. A drive means rotationally drives the rollers so that when the wine bottle is received between an adjacent pair of the rollers, the rollers cause the wine bottle to rotate, thus preventing settling and accumulation of free sediment within the wine bottle.

These and other features of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings..

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is an environmental perspective view of a wine bottle rotation system according to the present invention.

FIG. 1B is an environmental front view of the wine bottle rotation system according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an environmental top view of the wine bottle rotation system according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a fragmented side view showing the positioning and interconnection of rollers in the wine bottle rotation system according to the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic front view of the positioning of rollers and respective wine bottles in the wine bottle rotation system according to the present invention

FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic rear view of the positioning of rollers and respective wine bottles in an alternative embodiment of the wine bottle rotation system according to the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a side view of an alternative embodiment of the wine bottle rotation system according to the present invention.

FIG. 7A is a diagrammatic view illustrating a wine bottle with a stationary volume of sediment formed therein.

FIG. 7B is a diagrammatic view of the wine bottle of FIG. 7A under rotation, with the volume of sediment sliding therein.

FIG. 7C is a diagrammatic view of the wine bottle of FIGS. 7A and 7B, following the rotation process, with a homogenous layer of sediment bound to the inner periphery thereof

Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

BEST MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

The wine bottle rotation system includes a support frame formed from a pair of vertical support members having a plurality of horizontal support members, or shelves, mounted therebetween. The support frame forms a wine rack for receiving a plurality of wine bottles arrayed on the various shelves of the wine rack. A plurality of rollers are rotationally mounted between pairs of horizontal or vertical support members, and are spaced apart so that a wine bottle can be received between two adjacent rollers. Driven rotation of the rollers causes the wine bottle to rotate, thus promoting the binding of sediment to the inner walls of the wine bottle, reducing the amount of free sediment contained within the wine. The rollers may be driven to rotate either under the power of an electric motor or, alternatively, through manual turning of a hand-crank. The user may control both the timing and the rate of rotation of the bottles housed within the system,

Referring now to FIGS. 1A and 1B, there is shown a system 10 for rotating wine bottles 20. The system 10 includes a main support frame having a pair of side vertical support elements 12 and a plurality of horizontal support elements 14. As shown in FIG. 2, and described in further detail below, a plurality of rollers 18 are rotatably mounted between horizontally adjacent pairs of horizontal support elements 14, in order to form shelves for receiving wine bottles 20. As will be described in further detail below, the right-most vertical set of rollers, as seen in FIG. 1A, consists of drive rollers 110, which drive rotation of gravity rollers 18 and wine bottles 20. Multiple shelves or levels for wine bottles 20 are formed within the system 10, and are vertically tiered, as shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B. It should be noted that any number or style of horizontal and vertical supports may be utilized, depending on the type of wine rack desired by the user. The wine rack encompassing the present invention may take any desired style, shape or size.

Side vertical support elements 12 and horizontal support elements 14 are preferably made from wood, which is a traditional material used in the construction of wine racks; however, any suitable sturdy material capable of supporting a collection of wine bottles may be used.

As will be described in further detail below, individual drive rollers 110 are linked, each to the other, such that driven rotation of the top-most drive roller (by the drive means housed within control box 22, to be described in detail below) will drive each subsequent drive roller 110 in the vertical set of drive rollers 110. Further, it should be noted that the wine rack illustrated in FIG. 1A is shown for exemplary purposes only, and the wine rack may have any desired size, shape or configuration, depending on the needs of the user. Further, the wine rack 10 could be formed of any suitable material, such as wood or heavy gauge aluminum, depending on the needs and desires of the user.

As shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, wine bottles 20 are received between adjacent gravity rollers 18 and drive rollers 110. Each front horizontal support element 14 has a plurality of recesses 16 formed therein for receiving the neck of a wine bottle 20. Recesses 16 are formed between adjacent rollers 18, 110, as shown, in order to properly position the wine bottles 20 and keep the wine bottles 20 in proper alignment with rollers 18, 110. In the preferred embodiment, adjacent rollers are spaced approximately four inches apart from one another, measured from the rotational axes, providing both practical and aesthetically pleasing space for the plurality of wine bottles 20 received within one level or shelf of the wine rack. It should be noted that the particular dimensions are dependent upon the needs and desires of the user, particularly in that wine racks and other storage systems may have any desired dimensions.

Wine bottles 20 are preferably rotated one-quarter turn per rotational interval in order to prevent the build-up of sediment. Alternatively, motor control unit 22 may be programmed by the user to create any desired rotation of bottles 20, over any desired interval. For example, a one-quarter rotation could be generated once an hour, or a slow continuous rotation could be programmed, depending on the needs and desires of the user. In FIG. 2, a user interface 23 is shown in communication with motor control unit 22, allowing the user to program the motor control unit 22. User interface 23 may further include a timing circuit, allowing for the timed rotation of the wine bottles 20.

FIG. 7A illustrates the formation of a volume of sediment 21 within a stationary bottle 20. Stationary storage of a typical wine bottle 20 results in the settling of sediment 21 on the lower insider surface of the wine bottle 20, as shown. FIG. 7B illustrates the movement of the volume of sediment 21 within bottle 20 following a one-quarter rotation of wine bottle 20. The sediment partially adheres to the inner periphery of the wine bottle 20, due to frictional engagement therewith, and begins to slide down the inner surface under the force of gravity. FIG. 7C illustrates a relatively homogenous layer of sediment 21, having a substantially annular contour of uniform thickness resulting from continuous rotation of wine bottle 20. Device 10 produces such a rotation, allowing for the production of the desired homogenous, continuous and uniform layer of bound sediment 21.

An electric motor, housed in motor control unit 22, drives the drive rollers 110 to rotate and drive wine bottles 20 and gravity rollers 18. The rotation of rollers 18, 110 drives rotation of wine bottles 20, thus preventing the settling and accumulation of free sediment within the wine bottles 20, and producing a uniform and homogenous bound sedimentary layer, such as that shown in FIG. 7C. As will further be described below, motor control unit 22 delivers rotational drive power to the plurality of levels of rollers 18, 110 through a drive belt, drive chain, gear train or through other suitable rotational power transfer means (shown here as exemplary drive belts 24, 26 in FIG. 3). Motor control unit 22 may be programmed to activate at a particular time by use of an automatic timer, or may be manually activated. The rate and duration of rotation may be programmed into motor control unit 22.

Motor control unit 22 delivers direct rotational drive power to the top-most drive roller 110. As will be described below, drive rollers 110 are linked by drive belts 24, 26, which provide driven rotation for adjacent drive rollers 110 in the vertical stack of drive rollers 110.

FIG. 2 provides a top view of the wine bottle rotation system 10, showing the arrangement of rollers 18, 110 with respect to horizontally adjacent pairs of horizontal supports 14. Horizontally adjacent pairs of horizontal supports 14 are attached between the pair of vertical supports 12, as further shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, to form a standard wine rack having multiple levels or shelves for receiving wine bottles 20. The plurality of rollers 18, 110 are rotatably received between the horizontally adjacent pairs of horizontal supports 14, with the longitudinal or rotational axis of each roller 18, 110 being orthogonal to the longitudinal axes of the horizontal supports 14. Rollers 18, 110 are spaced apart to receive wine bottles 20 therebetween, as shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, and to impart rotation to the wine bottles 20.

Gravity rollers 18 are shown as having an interconnection of drive belts 120, 122, similar to drive belts 24, 26 of the vertical stack of drive rollers 110. As will be described below, with reference to FIGS. 4 and 5, gravity rollers 18 may be driven through engagement between wine bottles 20 and gravity rollers 18, or may be interlinked, as shown, through a series of drive belts 120, 122. Drive belts 120, 122 are for exemplary purposes only and gravity rollers 18 may be interconnected and driven by any suitable drive belt, drive chain or other means of delivering rotational energy.

FIG. 3 illustrates the rotational mounting of an exemplary drive roller 110. A pair of bushings 30 are formed in the supports to receive rotary end caps 28, formed on opposing longitudinal ends of drive roller 110. Bushings 30 may be formed from nylon or some other low-friction material in order to provide free rotation of rotary end caps 28 therein with a minimum of frictional loss. It should be noted that gravity rollers 18 are rotationally mounted in a similar fashion.

Rotary end caps 28 are similarly formed from a resilient, low-friction material, such as nylon or polished metal, in the preferred embodiment, though other suitable materials may be used. Rotary end caps 28 and bushings 30 are sized and shaped so that each rotary end cap 28 engages a corresponding bushing 30 so that rotary end cap 28 can freely rotate, under driven rotation, which will be described in further detail below, within the respective bushing 30. Though each rotary end cap 28 freely rotates within a corresponding bushing 30, the engagement of rotary end cap 28 and bushing 30 limits non-rotational movement of the gravity roller 18, thus maintaining alignment of gravity roller 18 within the support frame structure. Rotary end caps 28 may alternately contain bearings in order to reduce friction, depending on the needs and desires of the user. Further, in this alternative embodiment where the rotary end caps 28 include bearings, the roller axle may be permanently fixed or mounted to the corresponding horizontal support, as opposed to the inclusion of a retractable pin, for example. It should be understood that any suitable rotational connection may be utilized, dependent upon the needs and desires of the user.

Alternatively, end caps 28 and the corresponding bushings 30 may be beveled, providing for easy entry and engagement of end caps 28 with bushings 30. Further, rotary end caps 28 may be spring-loaded or otherwise elastically biased against the interior surfaces of bushings 30, thus allowing-for easy installation, removal and replacement of rollers 18, 110. Each roller 18, 110, however, should fit securely between the corresponding pair of bushings 30. Preferably, only approximately one-eighth of an inch of free space is left between one end of a roller 18, 110 and the corresponding bushing mounted in horizontal support 14.

In addition, the length of rollers 18, 110 and the lateral width of side vertical supports members 12 may be selected in order to provide support and rotation for multiple rows of bottles 20 mounted within a single level or shelf. For example, the wine rack could be two or three wine bottles deep, with rollers 18, 110 providing rotation to all bottles 20 housed on all levels or shelves of system 10.

As further shown in FIG. 3, one of end caps 28 is driven to rotate by an upper drive belt 24. The top-most drive roller 110 in the rack (mounted on the upper-most shelf or level shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B) is driven directly by the drive means contained in motor control housing 22. In addition to driving the rollers in the upper-most level, rotational energy is transferred to the rollers on the level below through drive belt 24. Rotational energy is transferred to the level below through a similar drive belt 26, and so on throughout all levels of the system 10. Thus, the drive means is able to transfer driven rotational energy to all levels of rollers 18 housed within the wine rack.

Though shown as belts 24, 26, it should be understood that the means for transferring rotational energy to each level may take the form of a chain, a system of linked gears or any other suitable means for transferring rotational power. It should be noted that any drive transfer may be utilized and that belts 24, 26 are for exemplary purposes only.

As shown in FIG. 4, driven rotation of one gravity roller 18 causes the corresponding wine bottle 20 to rotate, which, in turn, drives the next wine bottle to rotate, which drives rotation of the next gravity roller 18 in the line. Rollers 18, 110 are coated with a material that has a relatively high coefficient of friction when in contact with the glass of the wine bottle. Rubber, foam rubber or other like materials may be used in the formation of rollers 18, 110. Preferably, the rollers 18, 110 are formed from a rigid, thin-walled extruded material, such as, for example, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), aluminum, aluminum alloy, or acrylic, coated with a thin rubber coating. The coating material of rollers 18, 110 could be colored to match the coloration and pattern of the materials used for horizontal and vertical support members 14, 12.

Preferably, each roller 18, 110 has a diameter of approximately two inches and a length of approximately twelve inches. The 12-inch long roller is designed for rotation of a single row of bottles; however, as described above with reference to FIG. 3, longer rollers could be utilized for the-addition of multiple depths of bottles within a single shelf or level.

Alternatively, an alternating series of drive belts 1.20, 122 may be added, as shown in the embodiment of FIG. 5. Alternating drive belts 120, 122 are similar to drive belts 24, 26 that transfer rotational energy through the drive rollers 110. Thus, if a wine bottle is removed, drive belts 120, 122 link the plurality of gravity rollers 18 in that particular level, maintaining driven rotation of each gravity roller 18. It should be noted that alternating drive belts 120, 122 are preferred, however, any drive system, including a single drive belt or chain, may also be utilized.

Further, in an alternative embodiment, shown in FIG. 6, the automated electronic drive control system 22 of the embodiment of FIGS. 1A and 1B, is replaced by a manual hand-crank 34. Thus, the drive means for driving rotation of rollers 18, 110 becomes the operator, who may selectively control both the timing and rate of rotation through manual turning of the hand-crank 34.

The wine bottle rotation system 10 provides a system for rotating a collection of wine bottles 20. Formed as a standard wine rack, the system 10 houses a plurality of bottles 20 on various shelves or levels, each provided with a plurality of driven rollers 18, 110. Rollers 18, 110 rotate the wine bottles 20 to prevent the settling and accumulation of free sediment within bottles 20, which can alter the taste and quality of the wine. The user is given control over the timing and rate of rotation of the bottles placed within the rotation system 10.

Though shown as a unitary system, it should be understood that a conventional wine rack could be adapted into wine bottle rotation system 10 through the addition of a separate drive means and rollers 18, 110. Thus, system 10 could be manufactured and sold as an entire unit, or the drive means and rollers could be manufactured as a separate system adapted to retrofit a standard pre-existing conventional wine rack or wine cabinet.

Wine bottle rotation system 10 could, alternatively, be adapted for mounting on a climate controlled wine storage rack or unit having sliding shelves, allowing the user to pull out individual shelves from the housing of the rack. Drive rollers 110 and gravity rollers 18 could be mounted on each individual sliding shelf, and be driven by a linked drive system similar to that described above.

It will be understood that wine bottles 20 are shown spaced apart in FIGS. 1A, 1B, and 2 for clarity in the drawings. In practice, there should be a wine bottle and adjacent roller extending from the drive roller to the last roller filled with a wine bottle. This is so because only one roller in each row is directly driven by the motor or hand crank, either directly or indirectly by the belt. The remaining rollers in each row are driven by rotation of a wine bottle in the adjacent roller, so that if a wine bottle is removed, it should be replaced by a dummy bottle or by the last bottle in the row farthest from the drive roller. Alternatively, as described above, adjacent gravity rollers may be driven through an attached set of horizontal drive belts or other drive transfer means.

It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.