Carmenere

Friday night date; picked a nice french restaurant, great company, quite excited. One huge problem: forgot the restaurant is BYOBimg_7612! What to do? We looked at each other disappointedly. There was not way that we could allow ourselves to ruin the experience by going through the night winelessly (I know this is not a word, so what?)

Decision time! I was left behind to order some appetizers while my partner in crime drove to the nearest “Wine & Spirit”; The nearest one happened to be a boutique Wine & Spirit. In case you did not know there are different categories of Wine & Spirit stores. Some have premium collections and some don’t.

15 “well-worth the wait” minutes later he arrived with a bottle of 2014 Concha y Toro Terrunyo Peumo. Lot No. 1, 2400 bottles. Those words all raise your expectations. I am a huge fan of Chilean wine in general. This one however did not impress. For a $40 bottle of wine I sure expected more! More in terms of color, tannin and body. If you look for a good wine and you like light body and less dry I would recommend this.

On a more interesting level, I enjoyed learning a bit about its history. Hope you do too.

Another Perspective

We are back! Reason for delay? Waiting for Enthusiast #2 to write on his experience Making it! And he finally did:

“I clearly remember when I met you again after such a long time. Both of us have aged: you grew to a more mature, beautiful, elegant, and great companion and I just got older and more impatient than ever to touch you, to feel you, to taste you. When my lips touched your bright velvety red, all tensions instantly evaporated leaving me with the illusion of walking on clouds. It was not only me; whoever tasted you had the same feeling, making me even more proud of such a good wine you became.  You well deserved all the time and sacrifice.

People who know me enough know that I am impatient and goal oriented. I usually don’t enjoy the process of doing something until the goal is achieved. For me the process is just a path and nothing more. When I first received “the box” as a birthday gift, my first reaction was: “What is this?”. A “Wine Making Kit”, replied my partner with lots of enthusiasm. I was a bit surprised as the box didn’t look large enough to contain a wine making kit. My immediate followup question was how long would it take to make it? My partner feeling unappreciated for the gift given frowned, shrugged and said why don’t you open and see it yourself. And that’s exactly what I did. To our surprise the box only contained a plastic bag filled with grape juice concentrate, a fedsc_0446w sachets, a bag of corks, some wine bottle labels and a two page instruction. I started reading the instructions and soon realized that not only I need a whole set of equipment but most importantly the process of wine making takes 2-3 months at a minimum! Imagine, a few months to make a bottle of wine while you can easily buy a decent bottle from a store and enjoy it immidiately. Putting the two together (the cost of purchasing the equipment and the time) I figured it isn’t worth my time and money. I will be better off purchasing good quality wines from our local store effortlessly. I tried hard to be nice and pretend that I was excited. I don’t think my partner believed my fake enthusiasm. Honestly, every time I planned to start thinking about it, the lengthy pr
ocess of 2-3 months discouraged me from actually doing it. At last I figured the only way to stop hearing how unappreciative I am of the gift by leaving “the box” at our pantry for months is to start making it. If it weren’t for the expiration date on the box and the consistent reminders of my lack of appreciativeness, I would have probably postponed it even longer.

It wasn’t as straightforward as I thought. First step, purchasing the equipment. This part was somewhat easy; there are wine making kits available online approximately between $80-150 depending what is included in the“kit”. Although I ended up purchasing some additional stuff later on but the kit was a good starting point.

Second step: Following instructions to start wine making; Harder for some of us than others. The instruction came with the box was only a couple of pages long. It was more of a checklist and summary than a step by step procedure. Thanks to YouTube and Google there were a ton of videos about how to make wi
ne at home. The more I read and watched videos I became more interested and eager to know the science behind it. It was like one of those books that when you start reading the first page you just can’t stop. I watched several videos for hours and read people’s experiences with wine making . Although I found some differences in techniques depending on
what instruction you follow but the concepts were similar. It took me 3 days browsing between the YouTube videos and websites before I fully understood how the process works. I have never found myself so enthusiastic and eager since I was preparing myself to get my driving license. It was fun, and joyful. I had some challenges though, including
the limited space in our 2 bedroom apartment, but the overall experience was fantastic. Even now writing about it I can feel the adrenalin rush in my body of how joyful was the task.

After I bottled my first batch of wine the pride and sense of accomplishment was beyond explanation. I even took a picture of my bottle wines fleet before storing them.  After bottling and storing I frequently checked to make sure the temperature, humidity, etc. were perfect for my “babies” to grow and mature. Opening the first bottle was beyond exciting. I was so curious to know how they turned out and if it was worth all the time, sacrifice and money spent. Short answer: it sure did!!  I learned a few things as part of the process perhaps the most important one: that I am not as impatient as I
thought I am. My appreciation for wine and winemaking has multiplied a
nd this was one of the most joyous tasks I have taken on. I am hoping that “soon” I share with you some of the actual “Dos and Don’t” of the process based on my experience. Stay tuned and meanwhile share with us if you have done this; your experience, etc. Love to hear from you.

Making it

We love wine, we talk wine, we drink wine, we buy wine, we MAKE wine! Well, once! It was brave.

I already told you of my experience being a kid and witnessing wine making at home (read here). Fast forward to 2014, we thought it would be good to make wine at home. Problem? Small space meaning our two bedroom apartment! So there was not a chance of buying boxes of grapes and air-drying them at home like my mother used to. Instead, we used Vino Italiano Wine Kit. I bought it for my “partner in crime” as a birthday gift.

Result? Read on.dsc_0447

It turned out to be an amazing hobby, great table wine for an unbelievably cheap price. Speaking of “$” the upfront cost is actually steep because you
would need lots of equipment. But then it is a one-time investment. If you think we are biased on the quality of wine, you are probably right but then again we had a couple of guests asking us about the wine and where we bought it from. They liked it – apparently a lot!

My suggestion is to read about wine making at home before investing. Certainly do not do it just to save money. Over 90 percent of the websites I have seen list “saving money” as the number one reason to make your own wine. I do not agree with that philosophy. Saving money is a fantastic bi-factor but should not be the main reason to do this. If you are the man of process and result and not one or another, then it’s worth investing in the equipment. If you are a “maker” and you feel proud of bringing something into existence go for it. While you are thinking about this, I suggest the following readings. I am also hopeful that “Enthusiast #2” share more details about the process. And as always if you have any experience with wine making please share with us. We love to hear it.

Suggested readings:

Homemade Wine & Why You Should Make Your Own
Craft Winemaking

Only Two

A number of years ago when I was still in the corporate world consulting, I had a client for whom happiness was not the strongest trait. He was always nagging; whether it was his job, his relationship situation, weather, something. He was living in Bergen Town. He was, I repeat, my client though. So as a professional consultant I had no choice but to listen patiently. Until one day!

I told him listen, “There are only two things that could make a bad day an ok one and a good day an awesome one.” He was all ears! He could not wait to hear the rest. Excitedly he chocked, “What?” I continued, “First you need a great cup of coffee in the morning. You have that and you will be set for the day.” His response, “That’s it?!” I knew he was waiting for the second, “No, you also need a glass wine after work.”

This was probably 10 years ago and to this day I still believe the same; if I have a good cup of coffee in the morning (I only drink one cup a day so it better be good), and a good glass of wine (not two, not three, just one glass) I am having a good day. How about you? What makes your day a shiny one?

 

How it all started

I am an amateur wine enthusiast! Not because it is a hip thing to be these days. Because I find myself super excited when I am shopping for wine much like a kid being at ToysRUs. And I feel even more excited when we are about to open a bottle of wine; especially one that I have not ever tried. And when I hear that aroma, and when the first sip touches my lips, oh my…

I grew up with my mother making wine at home. Every Fall season boxes of grapes were iStock_14688496_XLARGE (2).jpgdelivered to our home; furniture were moved aside and those yummy and colorful grapes were all spread out on the floor to be air dried. As I am writing this I am realizing what a shame that no one ever took a picture of the scene! Anyhow, after what seemed like an eternity to a kid, when grapes were dried, family members would gather to officially start the wine-making process by manually mashing those grapes. It was a huge party. It was fun and yes kids could stomp too. And then for what I remember I used to see huge bottles semi hidden at some corner of our home until they were “ready”. Well this was the oversimplified process as it was observed by a little kid. And then again there was another party to help transferring the big bottle wines to smaller bottles. And then it was the good part, the part that I could not directly take any part in but I could see that everyone was drinking and laughing, having a good time. And what more could we wish for as kids; some buzzed adults treating us nicely and for the time being they were off of our backs; hallelujah!

So when I talk wine, when I drink wine, when I smell wine, there is something nostalgic about it. Something from the past. Something that takes me to those good old days of childhood. How about you? Do you know how it started for you? Do you have a favorite childhood wine related memory you wish to share?