Secret Hobby Finally Revealed…

For those of you who read Go Blondie on a fairly regular basis or at least when I post; know that I mentioned a new hobby that I found. Now that we are done with gift giving, we can reveal our hobby.

Drum roll please………….

Our new hobby is WINE MAKING!!! 

Yes, you heard it, Carl and I are making wine. How did this start you ask?!

Back in September 2013, I told Carl it would be fun to make wine and what a great gift to give. When we get invited to someone’s house or need to give a gift, most of the time we bring wine. We thought how cool would it be to bring homemade wine and how special. So for part of my Birthday present, Carl gifted me with the equipment to start the wine process.

Here are the pictures of how our process has been going.

Wine_Rack This is the 30 bottle wine rack I bought from Target, great purchase and it does it’s job.

Wine_Storage_Area Here is our “Wine” Closet. This is where the magic happens or the stinky fermentation stage. haha Our equipment is from Midwest Supplies. They are all great there and so helpful. We were told a main reason why a batch of wine is ruined is because the equipment was not sanitized. We have to sanitize every piece of equipment before and after use.

We attended a 4 hour wine class with them back in September and that was helpful to see the process and we tasted a few different wine kits. It’s sad because when we walk in there now on the weekend they know who we are. Well you can’t miss me. haha

First_Two_Wines Here are the first two kits that we have started. We are starting slow with kits to make sure we get this down. The kits make 6 gallons of wine and produce approximately 5 bottles of wine per gallon- Yes, that is 30 bottles of wine! I wanted to make a short term wine first to make sure we get the process and then try to make a Merlot and Riesling.

Wine #1 Pomegranate Zinfandel 

We decided to start the Island Mist Pomegranate Zinfandel (PZ), that was a 3-4 week wine and you can drink it right away. It is a little sweeter and needs to be served chilled.

Stirring_The_PZ We are stirring the PZ, then we put the yeast in and place the cover on. The kits have specific instructions for when you need to check your wine for the gravity level.

PZ_Ferm_Stage The PZ is now going into the closet for the fermentation stage. This is about a 1-2 week process.

PZ PZ Wine. That’s a lot of wine.

PZ_Batch Once the fermentation stage is complete we have to “rack” (meaning move or transfer to another container) the wine into a 6 gallon carboy. It is placed in the carboy to clear out so there is no sediment in the wine.

We ended up racking the wine2-3 times. We need to check the the gravity every time we look at the wine and then we need to make sure we de-gas it.

Prepping_Bottles While the wine is clearing out, we soak the wine bottles, take the labels off and then clean them out for bottling. We asked family and friends to save bottles for us so that we didn’t have to spend extra money on bottles. We had a great amount bottles and we greatly THANK everyone for saving bottles. Everyone has continued to save bottles so we can continue to bottle. 🙂

I love our bottle cleaner tree. We tried cleaning them another way and leave them in the drying rack in the sink. That took forever and was really unproductive, the tree is awesome and works so well.

Bottle_Drying_Tree There is a plastic bowl on top with the cleaning solution. The solution is safe as it is an ingredient that is in the wine mix.

Now lets start bottling our first wine!!!!

Bottling_PZ Bottling our first wine, all 30 bottles. This was my job.

Corking_PZ_Batch Carl has a stronger arm and he had job of corking. We broke the corker with only 4 bottles left. oops.

PZ_All_Bottled Our first batch of wine, Pomegranate Zinfandel is complete and bottled. How awesome to see something all come together.

Wine_Labels Our inexpensive wine labels. We are going to order nice labels for the Merlot and Riesling.

Finished_Product Ta Dah! Sorry it is a little blurry. This was so much fun for us both to do.

Wine # 2 Merlot 

Merlot_Ferm_Stage Getting the Merlot ready for the fermentation stage. Our Merlot had oak chips in it. Yum!!! We wanted to make sure we get the Merlot started because it takes the longest to age.

Merlot_Batch Merlot done fermenting and being racked.

PZ_Bottled_Merlot_Ready PZ bottled and Merlot clearing.

Racking_The_Merlot Racking the Merlot again, We did this 3 times to make sure it cleared.

We bottled our Merlot already, I did not take pictures. The Merlot will have to sit for 9-12 months. Each time we did something with the wine, we tasted it and I can’t wait, it is going to be good.

The next few pictures are of me opening our PZ wine.

Opening_The_First_Bottle Opening the first bottle. So excited, so was Arie. haha

First_pour First pour.

Filling_the_glass Yum.

Full_Glass_PZ It was so good. When I put my post up about the scallop supper I made, that is when we tried the wine.

I tasted this wine when it was warm, that was a bad idea. I was scared because if that is what it tasted like, yikes we messed something up. But once it was done and chilled, it was awesome.

This has really been an exciting hobby for both Carl and I to share and keep it a secret this long. We have had a lot of fun watching it all come together.

We had to keep this a secret since September because Carl’s mom and sisters were getting bottles in the Christmas presents. I kept it a secret from my family until October, we surprised everyone with it at my brother’s housewarming party. We have gotten great reviews on the PZ wine, which makes us feel really good and lets us know we did it right. All family and friends who saved us bottle got a bottle of our wine and then we gave some for gifts.

Now we have to get our Riesling started because that one needs to sit for 6-12 months. I would like to do another short term wine, so we will see.

Stay tuned to what is next. I am crossing my fingers for a new italian corker. 🙂

Happy Wine Making from Blondie and Carl!

6 thoughts on “Secret Hobby Finally Revealed…

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