Tag Archives: Idaho wine

Potter Wines 2016 Calendar of Events

When you have so many circus balls up in the air, sometimes dropping one means it doesn’t immediately get thrown back into the mix. It gets picked up, dusted off and then some clown steals it and throws it in your face while shouting “Rookie!”. Such is the case with this poor blog these last couple months.

But know this, readers out there: I will always keep trying to juggle this circus (because I kind of love it).

This time I’m back to reveal some things we’ve been working on during the “slow months” (lies!) at the winery. in 2016, you’ll find us at many of the same places as last year, with some exciting additions.

This is not an exhaustive calendar as we’re always adding new events and tastings as they get organized, so check back periodically for updates. If you’d like to receive our (very sporadic) newsletter with occasional open house announcements and VIP promotions, simply email me at crystalpotter@potterwines.com with the subject line “Newsletter Subscription”.

Lastly, be sure to like our Potter Wines Facebook Page to be absolutely certain of where we’re at any given week.

Here’s where to find us through the year!

Potter Wines 2016 Calendar of Events

*Important Note: You will find us every Saturday at BOTH farmers’ markets in downtown Boise through October. Giving this disclaimer right now saves me from typing in every Saturday date for the next six months. The Boise Farmers’ Market and The Capital City Public Market are our favorite homes away from home!

March:

The Nightclub & Bar Show. Photo Credit: chilledmagazine.com
The Nightclub & Bar Show. Photo Credit: chilledmagazine.com

April:

  • Saturday the 2nd: Opening day of The Boise Farmers’ Market. This one is near and dear to our hearts, as it’s where we originally launched in Boise. Find us there every Saturday through October. Open 9am to 1pm, located @ 10th & Grove Streets.
  • Tuesday the 12th: Women & Wellness event at Thrive Chiropractic. Come by and drink some wine and enjoy other fun life necessities! 5:30 to 7:30pm, located @ 04 S. Orchard St., Boise, 83705.
  • Saturday the 16th: Opening day of the Capital City Public Market. Last year we were visiting members and this year we’re happy to say we’re sticking around! Find us there every Saturday through October. Open 9:30am to 1:30pm, located downtown on 8th Street.
  • Saturday the 23rd: Taste 208. This year is the fifth anniversary of this event and our first year of participation. With 55 local and regional vendors serving samples of beer, wine and spirits, you hardly have a reason to miss this! 6-9pm, located at Payette Brewing, 733 South Pioneer Street (River St. between 12th and 14th).
The Boise Farmers' Market
The Boise Farmers’ Market
May:
In addition to all Saturdays at both farmers’ markets…
  • Friday the 20th: Wine, Women & Shoes. With a fashion show, wine tasting, designer shopping and shoes, this is bound to be a stellar evening! Proceeds go to women’s and children’s charities, so there’s lots to love here. 6:00 to 9:30pm @ The Boise Centre.

June (Idaho Wine Month!):

In addition to all Saturdays at both farmers’ markets…

  • Thursday the 2nd: First Thursday with Buy Idaho at the Ward Hooper Gallery. Sip on wine while you browse the iconic Idaho artists’ collections. Buy Idaho is also celebrating their 30th anniversary and will be selling their Commemorative 30th Anniversary Buy Idaho Calendar featuring beautiful scenic images by – you guessed it – Ward Hooper himself. 5:00 to 9:00pm, located @ 745 W Idaho St.
  • Friday the 3rd: First Friday at Whole Foods Boise. These fun food and drink events inside the store benefit local non-profits. There’s wine, beer, food, demos and even live music. Buy your ticket for $5 when you get there and come hang out with us! 4:00 to 7:00pm, located @ 401 S. Broadway.
  • Sunday the 12th: Savor Idaho. Don’t even slightly hesitate to get your tickets for this major Idaho wine event, as they always sell out! The Idaho Wine Commission and other sponsors do a terrific job putting on this soiree every year and we always look forward to it. 2:00 to 5:00pm, located @ Idaho Botanical Gardens.
Savor Idaho 2015
Savor Idaho 2015
July:
All Saturdays at both farmers’ markets.
Psst! Stay on alert for an event thrown together with Boise Brewing this month! It’s gonna be SHANDY-TASTIC!
(Update: The above-mentioned event did happen on First Thursday in July and it was indeed shandy-tastic. If you missed hearing about it, it’s because you should be following along at our Facebook page. Go now, I’ll wait…)
  • Friday the 29th @ Canyon County Fair, inside the O’Connor Field House. The fine folks at Buy Idaho are including us in their showcase of Idaho-only booths! Stop by for samples and to purchase your own. 12 to 10pm, located at 2207 Blaine St, Caldwell, 83605.
August:
In addition to all Saturdays at both farmers’ markets…
  • Thursday the 4th: First Thursday at Salon Apothecary. There’s going to be wine (ours!), appetizers, a mobile botox party (it’s true!), and giveaways. This fun salon is owned by four ladies who are a hit to hang with and get styled by! 5-8pm. Find them in the Sola Salon store front at 1197 W Main St.
  • Watch for an update on our participation in Salsa Fest at North End Organic Nursery (Always on a Sunday in August, always a big spicy blast!).

Salon Apothecary

September:

In addition to all Saturdays at both farmers’ markets…

  • Saturday the 24th: Eagle Food & Wine FestivalThis is perhaps the most fun I’ve ever had as a vendor (and most events are pretty fun).  I think it’s a mix of the attendees, the wineries and the food vendors involved. Plus Mary (the organizer) goes to great lengths to make this a super smooth and exciting evening. We never miss! 6:00 to 9:00pm, located @ Banbury Golf Course.
Eagle Food & Wine Festival 2015
Eagle Food & Wine Festival 2015
October:
All Saturdays at both farmers’ markets. And…
  • Thursday the 6th: Downtown Boise First Thursday. Watch for us at Shift BoutiqueLocated @ 807 W Bannock St.
  • Sunday the 9th: Harvest Pa-Brew-Za @ North End Organic Nursery in Garden City. Wine, beer, live music, chili cook-off, fall fun galore! 2-6pm, located @ 3777 W Chinden Blvd.
  • Thursday the 13th: Buy Idaho 30th Anniversary Celebration @ Boise Centre East. This event is free and open to the public – join in on the fun and peruse the tradeshow of Buy Idaho vendors (spoiler: We’re not the only winery). 11am – 6pm.
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November:
  • Thursday the 3rd: Downtown Boise First Thursday @ Marla Junes. Sip while you shop and make your Christmas wish list. And check out our latest(red) wine release: The Ambassador. Eyebrows up! 5-8pm, located @ 811 W Bannock St, Boise.
  • All Saturdays: The Indoor Boise Farmers’ Market. The weather outside may be frightful but this indoor market is sure delightful. Buy Christmas gifts – two for you, one for them. You know the drill. Keep enjoying local breads, produce, cheeses, sauces, baked goods, jams, wine, coffee…all the important things, through December. Located @ the corner of 8th & Fulton St. 9am – 2pm.

December:

  • Saturday the 3rd, 10th & 17th at the Indoor Boise Farmers’ Market (see above for address and times).
Two bottles of Syrah + a pouch = Wine Lovers' Breakdance
Two bottles of Syrah + a pouch = Wine Lovers’ Breakdance
That’s a wrap! Cheers to a year of wine!

Pumpkin Wine and Other October Adventures in Vino

Every now and then I get the urge to lay some pictures on you. I know it’s hard for you to imagine me not running off at the fingers but I feel like October deserves less talk, more do. Less stress, more friends. Less complaining, more celebrating. Less quitting, more focus. Less depressing media, more pretty pictures. So I have those for you – the pictures, at least. It is no secret that my love for writing does not directly correlate to my photography skills. I once read that in order to have a blog everyone wants to read, you need damn good photos. *awkward moment of reflection* Looks like I’ll never be featured on Yahoo!

A little explanation about the pixels your eyes are about to dilate over: My winemaker and I have been up to a few things this month in the world of wine. We kicked off the month elbows-deep in grapes and peppers. We participated in the always-enjoyable Eagle Food & Wine Festival. From there we took a little write-off weekender with friends to Walla Walla wine country (Fact: My taste buds haven’t come home yet). Last but not least, we’ve got our annual Pumpkin Wine release coming up next weekend! What more appropriate way is there to wrap up your child’s trunk-or-treating excursion than with a bottle of festive vino? Wayyyyy better sugar high, folks.

Here’s October according to my camera:

2015 Grape and Pepper Harvest

Feast your eyes: Our local growers supplied us with over 1,000 lbs of peppers this year. Half of which went in the smoker for our Chipotle Jalapeno Wine.
Feast your eyes: Our local growers supplied us with over 1,000 lbs of peppers this year. Half of which got a  spa treatment in apple wood smoke for our Chipotle Jalapeno Wine.

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Pretty clusters all ready to go
Pretty clusters all ready to go into the crusher. I’m cheating a bit here by adding last year’s photo. Funny thing: All Syrah grapes look the same! And this year Yours Truly didn’t get any photos before they went into fermenters. Yet you still love me. You can read all about what Syrah harvest looks like for us here.

Eagle Food and Wine Festival

This was our second year at this event. You can read my recap of our lovely first experience last year here. This year we were paired alongside Bardenay Eagle Restaurant and Chef Travis, who is definitely a culinary inspiration here in the valley.

EF&W1.jpg

I don't know how Mary, the savvy organizer of this tremendous event, gets the weather right every time.
I don’t know how Mary, the savvy organizer of this tremendous event, gets the weather right every time.

EF&W3.jpg

This event is to-date my favorite because of the wonderful people who attend (foodies and winos are good people!) and because so many of the friendliest people we know in the wine industry also participate. It ends up feeling like a family gathering with the best food and wine in town.

To get your hands on tickets and keep tabs on the restaurant/winery line-up in 2016, visit eaglefoodandwine.com.

Walla Walla Wine Country

I don’t even know how to give this place enough credit. The charm, the scenery, the food, the bed and breakfasts, the red, RED wine. Wine so big and bold we could chew it. To me, that is a very welcome thing. I am already planning our next trip.

*Disclaimer: These photos don’t even begin to capture all of the wineries we went to nor do they sum up all of our favorites. They are photos I took either the first day before my wine-euphoria superseded everything else, or the second day before things got a liiiiittle uncoordinated (but still so, so good).

Ah, L'Ecole. Where the host knew our names, our website, our agenda before we even shook his hand. Where the reserve tasting tour of this old school house made us swoon, and where the French very much left their mark many moons ago.
Ah, L’Ecole. Where the host knew us all before we even shook his hand. Where the reserve tasting tour of this old school house made us swoon and where the French very much left their mark many moons ago.
Their barrel room. I know...hideous, right? Pfft...
Their barrel room. I know…hideous, right?

LeCole5.jpg

"Hmm...do I like the 2003 or the 2007 better?" These are choices we should be faced with EVERY day, friends.
“Hmm…do I like the 2003 or the 2007 better?” These are choices we should be faced with EVERY day, friends.
My winemaker. Probably hating that I took this of him but good thing great wine makes caring about that trivial stuff a low priority.
My winemaker. Probably hating that I took this of him but good thing drinking great wine makes caring about that trivial stuff a low priority.
Walla Walla Vintners. Wait until you see this next one...
Walla Walla Vintners. Wait until you see this next one…
...Exactly. 'Nuff said.
…Exactly.
A fun pit stop before lunch.
A fun pit stop before lunch.
Then there's THIS guy. At Sleight of Hand Cellars.
Then there’s THIS guy you may recognize. At Sleight of Hand Cellars.
We wrapped our wine tour up with a glass of this scenery, at Pepperbridge.
We wrapped up our wine tour with a glass of this scenery, at Pepperbridge.

2015 Pumpkin Wine Release

This is a fun one, friends. If you get into the fall season at all you probably embrace the pumpkin theme as a backdrop for life right now. Our Pumpkin Wine runs with that. As with any vintage of wine, every year is completely different and it typically takes two years from start to bottle, plus a lot of extra steps (we roast every pumpkin before throwing them into fermentation). This year the result is a sweeter, spicier wine than last year’s (think clove and pumpkin pie spice, not hot sauce).

This specialty goes for $20/bottle. Email me at crystalpotter@potterwines.com for pre-order info or come down to either of the farmers' markets in Boise on Saturday, October 31st.
This specialty goes for $24/bottle. Email me at crystalpotter@potterwines.com to order or come down to either of the farmers’ markets in Boise on Saturday, October 31st to pick up a bottle.

This is a very small-production run which means we sell out before Thanksgiving. We’re debuting it on Halloween day at The Boise Farmer’s Market and the Capital City Public Market.

Pumpkin pie in a bottle!
Pumpkin pie in a bottle!

Happy October wine-ing!

Savor Idaho: Recap

Aspiring and professional winos, entry-level and expert foodies: If you weren’t at Savor Idaho last Sunday you missed out! Although, tickets sold out early once again so even if you wanted to be there maybe you couldn’t, which means your lack of attendance may not have been extreme poor judgment on your part. Let’s go with that. Because I do like you and want to continue to believe you’re a good decision maker.

Potter Wines returned for our second year as Savor Idaho vendors. Before that, my winemaker and I had attended as consumers for numerous years and from that perspective we knew someday when we opened up shop we wanted to be a part of this event. So, armed with Riesling, our “hot” wines, the Jalapeno Wine Lemonade and our Booth Babe, Tony – we took to the gorgeous Idaho Botanical Garden for another top-notch event.

Photo courtesy of Idahobotanicalgarden.org
Photo courtesy of Idahobotanicalgarden.org

If you’re unfamiliar with this occurrence, Savor Idaho is a wine and food event which highlights a noteworthy selection of Idaho wineries and restaurants. You purchase your ticket (well ahead of time, in case you skimmed over the above and didn’t catch that important piece) and once inside you are greeted with a commemorative wine glass and a handy food tray. These two things are imperative to your experience at this event and will be attached to you at all times. If you can’t handle that part I’m afraid you do not qualify as a potential attendee. Please spend this next year practicing at home and try again in 2016.

You will be exposed to all the wine you can drink and a vast array of food from chefs who know what they’re doing. Each winery is typically paired alongside a restaurant or caterer, which makes a lot of sense both for consumers and vendors: With all that wine to drink people need access to good food or else things get sloppy (no rookies, please). And it makes for some great networking on our side of things, too.

This year the format was a bit different than last and the Idaho Grape Growers and Wine Producers Commission did a fantastic thing in teaming up with the Boise Co-Op Wine Shop to sell select wines by the glass (or Jalapeno Wine Lemonade). The fun and hip Bodovino was also there this year to pour samples of rare and “experimental” wines which we wineries weren’t already serving in our own booths. So naturally, this was a perfect fit for our Pineapple Jalapeno Wine.

Pineapple051215

We set up our booth quickly. Thanks to showcasing our products at two farmers’ markets every Saturday, we’ve become quite efficient at this. Here are a few photos of the calm before the wine-loving storm. Setup1Setup2.jpgSetup3.jpgVendor booths take up a good portion of the grounds at the garden, so while you sip on Idaho wine and sample Idaho fare you also get to wander around one of Idaho’s most impressive attractions.

The first hour of Savor Idaho is reserved for V.I.P and trade (media/buyers/growers/etc.). So before that kicked off we walked around to visit some of our favorites. These include, but are not limited to, Mouvance, Telaya, Hat Ranch, Williamson Vineyards, Fujishin, Cinder, and Coiled.

After chatting for a while with everyone I realized I was really slacking on my photography duties. So I snapped a few photos before we returned to our post.

Calm1.jpg

The Boise Co-Op Wine Shop set up in the Cottage to sell bottles (and pouches!) of wine as well as select wines by-the-glass.
The Boise Co-Op Wine Shop set up in the Cottage to sell bottles (and pouches!) of wine as well as select wines by-the-glass.

Once back at our booth, we spoke with many individuals from the media/trade and as we approached 2 pm, when the public was due to enter, we glanced over and watched this line grow by about 20 people a minute.

WaitingLine.jpg

Let the games begin!

From 2 to 6 pm we poured for, laughed, and spoke with some returning but mostly new faces. Many had heard of us before although most were new to the Jalapeno Wine Lemonade since we just released it earlier this spring.

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We were also paired up with possibly the most fitting restaurant/caterer there, Kanak Attack. They were sampling their seriously delectable pork street tacos, which went un-shockingly well with our wines and lemonade. Happy people = happy vendors!

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Pretty sure I went home smelling like street tacos, sunscreen and lemonade. Perfection on a Summer Sunday!
Pretty sure I went home smelling like street tacos, sunscreen and lemonade. Perfection on a Summer Sunday!

Rumor was the Wine Shop sold out of all our products, which we confirmed later was true. No complaints there.

We want to give a big shout-out to Moya and her team at the Idaho Wine Commission for putting on another terrific event! Sometimes it takes a village to bring the right people together and Moya’s village is the kind you could confidently leave your first-born with and they would return your baby to you with an enviable work-ethic, above-standard expectations and impressive hygiene. Pretty sure that’s who I want running this show.

See you next year!

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Interview with My Winemaker

I rarely read winemaker interviews unless I absolutely love the wine being made or the winemaker lives in Idaho (we like to support our fellow masochists winery owners). It’s not that I don’t want to learn about a winemaker’s style or the method to their madness for turning water into magic. It’s because I know from experience it’s not as glamorous as the interviewer makes it sound. Wine is complex and mysterious and evasive and always developing. It is also simple and straightforward and truthful and methodical. It is hard @$$ work. It’s sweat and blood and tears (both the triumphant and frustrating kind). So for me, interviews that only highlight the interviewer’s glamorous perception of the wine and winemaking process tend to dissuade me. But that’s just me. I’m just a humble winemaker’s wife learning the business side of wine.

A few weeks ago in the middle of the night, an idea popped into my head for a blog post: Why not interview my own winemaker and ask him a few questions I like to know about winemakers? Leave out the details about the process and the sources and the technical (yet very important) aspects. Just ask him about what he enjoys drinking, where he gets his inspiration and what he thinks about this tough and grueling and rewarding and eye-opening business. Luckily, my husband rose to the occasion even though last night I gave him a deadline somewhere along the lines of “Get these answers to me ten minutes ago.”

Here you are, my interview with my winemaker…

What is your winemaking philosophy?

“I hear people say ‘Why?’ Always ‘Why?’ They see things and they say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were and I say ‘Why not?'”

[Deep, isn’t it? I asked for philosophy and I got it. You should be holding a glass of wine when you re-read that, by the way.]

What are your favorite types of wine to drink?

“Peppery reds, Syrah, Zinfandel, Mourvedre. And always a glass of Chipotle Jalapeno.”

If you could drink wine anywhere, in any region or country, where would it be and why?

“Australia and Argentina in the winter. Idaho and Spain in the summer. I believe that Idaho will soon be recognized as a premier site for world-renowned wines. It’s incredibly exciting to not only be near so many great wines, but also to be involved with them.”

What is the up-side to being a self-taught winemaker?

“Not being tied down to a particular style. If I were traditionally trained I may not have known that jalapeno wine isn’t mainstream and for the masses.”

What has been the most challenging part of the wine business? The most rewarding?

“Without a doubt, the hours of hard work. It never stops. From harvest to bottling to cleaning to marketing to keeping up with paperwork, there are countless hours of work to be done.

“The most rewarding? For me it’s the hard work and knowing you are making something people enjoy. Oh, and watching the puzzlement on people’s faces when they want to dislike a wine but are amazed they like it.”

[Agreed, that last part is way fun.]

Where do you get your inspiration?

“Bad dreams? My mind never stops, I have hundreds more ideas that I may torture my wife with.”

For the record, he usually chooses to torture me with them before 7 AM. But I’m finding my place amid the idea tornado and am learning to ask the right questions when he comes up with something and I have no idea how he thinks we’ll pull it off. Typically those questions are:

“What do you need? and “When do we make it happen?”

*For more info about our wines and winery, visit jalapenowine.com or read this post.*

 

Mulled Jalapeno Wine Recipe and Event Recap

I think it’s safe to say we’re all in detox mode this week. I rarely admit this, but I’m toning down my lush factor after my liver approached me to ask “who the hell do you think we are?” on Sunday evening after 4 nights of wine-a-palooza. So I’m back to my one glass/night max. But that’s not to say the Thanksgiving weekend wasn’t a total blast. We had our Red Friday Open House (get it? red wine? okay, I tried) the day after Thanksgiving where the Mulled Jalapeno Wine was a big hit. (I’ve been asked by a few of you to post the recipe, so see that below!) Then the next morning was Small Business Saturday at The Boise Farmer’s Market. Our schedule was jam-packed with equal parts business and fun evenings spent with family and friends. Sponsored by Lots’o Wine.

First, the event recap:

Check out my super-classy and chic signage.

This is why you should stay in school, kids. You learn things of great importance like this.
This is why you should stay in school, kids. You learn things of great importance like this.

At least one day you can all say that you remember us before we hit it rich, making our own student council signs and stuff. I saddled up with a nice bottle of Cabernet while drawing up this gem. Apparently a tannic, dry Cab goes really well with the biggest permanent black Sharpie a person can find.

We spent the morning of the event prepping and making sure we didn’t get in one another’s way. I seem to stink at that game. Nevertheless, we had a really great showing and met some new faces. We’re always thrilled when newbies stop by and aren’t turned off by our rugged headquarters. Most wine lovers in the area are really cool about the whole start-up scenario and can remember when many of the local wineries started small and were based out of commercial garages. We’re grateful for that attitude and love getting to meet other winos like-minded individuals who love wine and supporting small businesses! We’re lucky to live in the community we live in and have the support system we do (including really resourceful family members who know how to do things like hook up a sound system in an old garage and decorate flower pots with weird things I buy because in my head it should look pretty).

Our humble space. Who needs furnishings when there's wine?
Our humble space. Who needs furnishings when there’s wine?

Von made Chipotle Jalapeno Wine pulled pork (amazing!) and my sister-in-law Amy made Chipotle Jalapeno Cookies for folks to snack on . As we started to wrap up the night we poured ourselves a glass of our 2012 Syrah that we were sampling that evening, which hasn’t officially been released yet because it’s been aging in the bottle. I love how every time we taste it, it gets even better. Why can’t leftovers be that way?

Later that night after we gave the kiddos a bath and they had gone to bed, we sat at our kitchen table with my parents and my mom and I shared a bottle of Rodney Strong Cabernet. Or at least that’s what I’m told. The next day Von asked me if I enjoyed the bottle of wine my mom and I had polished off and I looked at him like he was crazy. I mean, of course I remember drinking wine! And also, I don’t remember drinking all that wine…

But as all great Potter Wines events go: We came, we drank, we went to bed.

Now about this Mulled Jalapeno Wine biz:

Some of you have emailed me for the recipe and rightly so, as it is one fun way to ring in winter! If you use apple cider like I do, it won’t be overly sweet and I prefer it that way.  You can make it sweeter if you want by adding honey until you’re satisfied, or use apple juice instead of cider. If you’re still in tailgating mode as many people around here were last weekend, this will be a big crowd pleaser! Or serve this at your holiday party to spice things up a notch.

Visit jalapenowine.com for ordering info and more recipes.
Visit jalapenowine.com for ordering info and more recipes.

Cheers to happy holidays, lots of vino and really, really good workouts to keep us honest!

It’s Not Monday and Other Randomness!

Woohoo! Take a congratulatory lap, you’ve survived another Monday! Since it’s too early to drink wine to celebrate (says who?), instead I’m posting some random thoughts. So much randomness in this world, why not highlight a few bullet points?

  1. That crazy earthquake in Napa
Photo Credit: NBC News
Photo Credit: NBC News

If you haven’t yet heard about it, Sunday morning a 6.0 magnitude quake hit Northern California and shook Napa Valley hard – so hard that unofficial reports say the valley could be looking at a $100 million economic loss. That’s a LOT of wine.

There was reportedly a barrel containing $16,000 of pinot noir that crashed to the floor. I’m a bit of a fair-weather pinot noir fan, but re-reading that last sentence makes my stomach hurt.

Check out this Washington Post article for more on the crazy quake that hit at a VERY unfortunate time, as wineries were gearing up for harvest (not that quakes ever hit on an appropriate occasion).

2.   Bulu Box, anyone?

Fun stuff in a box!
Fun stuff in a box!

I’ve just discovered a little mail service over at Bulubox.com, which mails custom fitness and health goodies to you for $10/month. For those of you familiar with Birchbox or Nature Box, this is the same idea. I’m seriously contemplating signing up because #1 – I love trying new healthy goodies, and #2 – I crave variety in my fitness routine. My only reservation about this? Finding out after committing to a 3-month subscription that it’s loaded with supplements, which I’m not a fan of. I don’t even take a multi-vitamin anymore, let alone rely on any weight loss or fitness enhancing-pills. Has anyone out there tried this yet? Or should I just dive in completely and utterly unwarned?

3.  Meal planning – questions and answers

meal-planning

I get a lot of questions from clients about meal planning and how to go about it. Here’s what I know: Sitting down for 10 minutes to plan out the majority of the week’s dinners will seriously save you time every day. I spend about 20 minutes on Sundays making a list of what to have for dinner all week and then writing a grocery list. Then off to the store we go.

I don’t plan every breakfast unless I have some mornings where I don’t have to rush (ha!). Breakfast is usually a green smoothie, oatmeal (overnight oats recipes are HUGE timesavers and scrumptious, more on that soon), or a Greek yogurt and fruit parfait.

Lunches are always leftovers from the night before because we purposefully cook twice as much as we need, unless we didn’t have enough (aka: the Luke monster ate it all) or had the occasional evening out, then it’s something thrown together if I’m at home (cherry tomato and cucumber salad with cottage cheese and avocado toast = happy woman), or a sandwich from Subway or Jimmy John’s if I’m at the studio or running errands. I really try not to spend money on lunch if I don’t have to.

Back to meal planning. I try to use whatever we already have on-hand so that what we buy at the store ends up being mostly fresh veggies. We’re lucky to have some freezer space so we always have lean beef, lamb (yes, this trainer mama eats lean red meat and LIKES it), chicken, some fish (it doesn’t freeze well as long as other proteins), and shrimp. Occasionally we’ll buy tofu to do a stir-fry or lean sausage to mix into pasta.

Here’s my takeaway tip: If you can think about having one protein, one green vegetable (even if only its leaves are green), and one healthy carbohydrate, you can get the job done. I typically give us one or two nights to play with depending on our schedules and I try to be flexible because there are often times where chaos gets more chaotic and dinner becomes totally impromptu.

For example, here’s what our dinners look like this week:

Sunday: Lamb chops, roasted carrots from the farmer’s market, 5-ingredient corn bread (If you’re going to indulge in corn bread make sure to read the ingredients list, many corn breads on the market have hydrogenated oils in them, which is trans fat.)

Monday: Grilled chicken breasts, kale salad (a family favorite – see this post for the recipe!), and quinoa made with chicken broth and garlic

Tuesday: Shrimp sautéed in jalapeno wine (so good!), soba noodles (Love these! Very quick and healthy!), sautéed spinach and roasted bell peppers

Wednesday: Grilled steak salad (with a boat load of chopped veggies) and grilled sweet potatoes

Thursday: Ground beef-stuffed acorn squash with wild rice

Friday: Fun night out with the kids planned at the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic Nite Glow (my kids love this event and so does their mom), dinner TBD but it will be picnic-friendly

Saturday: Family in town, it could be anything, or it could be whatever we pick up from our fellow vendors at the Boise Farmer’s Market earlier that day.

As you can see, there’s nothing special here. Make it simple and as affordable as you need. Frozen veggies are great in a pinch. Some nights just clean out your fridge and have whatever leftovers you need to eat up. If your work week starts on Sunday, meal prep on Saturday or whichever day you have off. It saves a lot of time, headache, and money this way. Trust me!

4.  Hey moms, this one’s for you

Poise Fitness Playground Workout (<—check this video out to see a bunch of grown adults running around on playground equipment)

Over the weekend Von needed to bottle wine and luckily we live just a few blocks from the winery so I laced up my running shoes, the kids hopped in the jogging stroller, and we hit the greenbelt to pay our winemaker a visit. There’s a playground on this route so it’s inevitable my kids beg to stop there on our way home. Thanks to teaching boot camp years ago and trying to help my mom clients find a way to fit in fitness while entertaining their kids, I have a few playground obstacle courses stored away in my noggin’ that make my kids happy and give me my fitness fix. Granted, it can be challenging to duck your way through playground equipment intended for miniature versions of you, but I find it’s a great way to get exercise and make your kids think you’re the coolest mom ever. Plus, it’s kind of the point for it to be challenging.

A couple ideas: Use the stairs for, well, running up and down the stairs. Use a high step for step-ups. Create a course for you and your kids to run through and it may or may not include the slide. Use any elevated surface for pushups, monkey bars for hanging and bringing your knees up toward your chest (core strength!), another step for tricep dips, lay on your back on the ground and place your feet on the bottom of a slide to do bridge-ups, do jumping jacks between exercises/obstacle course rounds, jump rope (you don’t actually need a rope), perform box jumps on and off a step or bottom of the slide…you get it? Check out the above video for some visuals. And in case you’re wondering, I no longer teach boot camp in the mornings. Now that I’m a mom I reserve that hour for arguing with small people and exercising my non-morning-person patience.

I recommend you save this one for a time when the playground isn’t swamped and you can play freely with your kids on the equipment without some judge-y Debbie Downer parent tsk-tsk’ing you for not paying attention to the sign that clearly points out adults are not permitted.

5.  Being a winemaker’s wife

It's Wine:30 somewhere
It’s Wine:30 somewhere

I’m sure many wives or husbands of winemakers are much more glamorous than I am. Honestly, I don’t do glamour well anyway. I’m too sweaty half the time and the other half I’m laughing too hard, talking too loud or cleaning the mashed-up banana off my shirt. But I find it suits our business well since much of our time is spent at the farmer’s market talking to people, laughing about the un-believability of jalapeno wine, and sometimes doing all that with our sweet holy terrors in tow.

Last Saturday I headed down to the market to our booth like every other Saturday, where Von was pouring our wines and chatting with everyone and I was so excited to see one of my most favorite friends on this Earth. She spotted me first and immediately cracked up at my ridiculousness – pushing two kids in TWO umbrella strollers (for every good idea I have, there are two bad ones) and trying to look as though I have my wits together. It’s moments like those that I truly appreciate good friends to laugh with me about how un-glamorous our lives can be amidst a bunch of hype about people doing glamorous things.

Sunday after Von bottled what will be our next super fun wine release, he brought home a bottle so I could taste it (and make a margarita out of it, of course). I love being able to taste wines straight from the barrel or just freshly bottled. It’s probably the opposite of glamorous, but in reality I think the most glamorous things happen when they are just left to be what they are.

Honestly, being a winemaker’s wife looks a whole lot like making business decisions after 9 pm, writing proof for labels during naptime, holding a kid in one arm while pouring wine samples with the other and holding the fort down at home while the winemaker does the heavy lifting.

Really it looks a lot like what every other parent on the planet is doing in some aspect or another. It’s completely unglamorous, a whole lot of work, and surprisingly rewarding.

Cheers to all your random thoughts today!

You Have a Winery in Idaho?!

A few weeks ago Von and I attended a seminar at the Idaho Wine Commission called Shaping and Telling Your Idaho Wine Story. It was a wonderfully helpful 1.5 hours and the two presenters, Lisa Donoughe from Watershed Communications and Cole Danhower, a respected wine writer, were full of great information for us. So the take-away was: What’s our story? Everyone has a story, something compelling that makes people want to engage and learn more about them. Jalapeno wine is a story, for sure. How we got started making it, though, is pretty simple and as much as I would love to tell you we stumbled upon it by accident (since there are so many tasters out there who can’t believe we’d ever purposefully make jalapeno wine) we very much knew what we were doing. Well okay, Von knew what he was doing. I was just watching him do it, being supportive and staying open minded (because yes, for those of you wondering, I did actually cringe when he told me he was going to make jalapeno wine).

Holy Jalapeno!
Holy Jalapeno!

See here’s the thing: If you’re a wine lover like both of us are then you already know how intriguing wine is from both a science and taste profile perspective. There are so many ways wine can go, so many complex components that develop out of seemingly simple processes. I’m awed by how much I still don’t know, in fact. Von knows infinitely more than I do and he’s still learning new things all the time. We appreciate the wine industry and we can appreciate a $100 bottle of Del Dotto Vineyards Sangiovese from Napa Valley(seriously, that place is amazing and you MUST check out the wine caves if you go). But we also very much appreciate a $26 bottle of Split Rail Mourvedre from right here in our back yard (The District 44 Wineries are a quick jog from our front door step as well as from our own winery, but more on that later!). And while we’re being honest here, let’s just say we’re no stranger to the $10 two-in-1 bottle of Yellowtail Shiraz-Granache from the grocery store. When you drink as much wine as we do you slow the roll a bit on the wine budget, alright?

Yum!
Yum!

With all that said, wine can be seriously snobby. Not wine itself so much as the whole attitude circling it. I read Food & Wine magazine and want to start planning our next vacation to Spain, Chile, Tuscany, etc. And someday hopefully we will indeed go to those places. But then I remember that we’re working-class business owners, we’re busy parents, we’re not Kathy Lee Gifford with millions to invest in creating and marketing our wines. Why should we compete with people like that? Not to mention there’s plenty of delicious wine all around us. So let’s offer something different. Let’s make wine fun, interactive, open up conversations about it and in some instances unintentionally really annoy the ones who think wine has to be a certain way.

So, here we are. We’re making spicy jalapeno wine! We’ve got this “rustic shack” winery we’ve created from the ground up, quite literally, and we’re prepared to do the work ourselves so that one day we’ve got the charming tasting room you might envision. But we won’t be doing it in a way that means we have nothing left to give to our children, our future, or our families and friends. There’s something very meaningful to us about building a legacy slow-and-steady instead of pushing a bunch of money at it, money we don’t have and won’t pretend to have. And for me there’s something exciting about being part of an industry that is about to explode locally. I love working with other like-minded business owners in the community and building friendships. I guess my idea of community service is giving the only way I know how and that’s through owning a business and offering people things they can’t get anywhere else. Von, by nature, is a do-er. He is a pro at troubleshooting – figuring out how things work and making them happen. Rather than throw tens of thousands of dollars at a bottling line, he’s the guy who will find out how to build his own by hand. That’s what he’s good at and what he loves.

Hot off the press!
Hot off the press!

So that’s the story. It’s a simple one but it’s ours. And to answer the question: “What were you thinking?” We were and still are thinking that of all the directions the two of us have taken both separately and together, this is by far the most interesting one!

We have some exciting things to release in the next 6 months – some of them on the conventional side and some follow suit of the red-headed-step-child side that is the jalapeno wine. I’ll be showing you both!