Tag Archives: riesling

Crushing on Grapes – Part One

As I type this post we are anticipating the arrival of our Syrah grapes in a few hours. Life has not been short on things to do around here since our Riesling grapes arrived! As glamorous as having a winery might sound I can assure you there are many unglamorous moments – like bee stings that make your hand unrecognizable, back spasms that mirror Michael Jackson dance moves, leg cramps in the middle of the night that make your wife think you’re having a heart attack and grape juice that has started fermenting in your ear.

With those mental images painted, I’m much more excited to bring you the beautiful side of winemaking. These pictures capture a bit of the charm that keeps us engaged in this whole journey. I hope you enjoy and stay tuned for Part Two next week when I show you the Syrah crush and how to run from bees without twisting your ankle.

Riesling Arrival

Riesling arrival
Each grape bin has roughly 1200 lbs of grapes.



The Crush

Snapping a good picture in mid-day sun is unlikely. Had I been standing on the right side of the crusher/destemmer to avoid a shadow I would have been standing in grape juice.
Snapping a good picture in mid-day sun is unlikely. Had I been standing on the right side of the crusher/destemmer to avoid a shadow I would have been standing in grape juice.
Coming out of the crusher/destemmer and into bins for pressing.
Coming out of the crusher/destemmer and into bins for pressing.
This is what halfway through one grape bin looks like. Part grapes, part juice.
This is what halfway through one grape bin looks like. Part grapes, part juice.
Leftover stems and grape skins the destemmer spits out.
Leftover stems and grape skins the destemmer spits out.

The Press

This is where the juice and grape skins get completely separated, in the case of white wine.
This is where the juice and grape skins get completely separated, in the case of white wine.
The sweet, sweet grape nectar that will eventually become fermented perfection in a bottle.
The sweet, sweet grape nectar that will eventually become fermented perfection in a bottle.

The Tuesday Tank

I’ve decided to create a segment on this blog that I will eloquently title “The Tuesday Tank.” That’s one of the glorious things about writing on your own blog – you get to make things like this up.

“The Tuesday Tank” will be just that – a little tank of information where I talk about things like what happened over the weekend, what’s happening the current week, random news I find appropriate to share (or just snippets I find cool), workouts I’m doing, recipes I’m making, crazy kid stuff that’s happening, and just….stuff. All good stuff.

I can’t promise “The Tuesday Tank” will make a showing every week but you’ll know where to find it thanks to the handy category menu on the sidebar of this here blog.

So let’s get this tank filled, already!

Today’s Tank:

~Check out the breakfast on this girl!

Many of you who read this blog (does anybody read this blog? never mind, don’t tell me) know that I love me some breakfast. I wake up, drink my warm lemon water, followed by a cup of coffee and cannot WAIT for breakfast. I don’t care if I have 3 minutes to eat or 20, it’s my favorite meal. I figure it’s a new day, a new start and I have this chance to do something really good for my body before @#$! gets crazy.

So here’s something I’m loving: Cookie Dough Cereal. You think I’m joking? I wouldn’t kid you about this. Try it. If you like cereal and you like cookie dough and you like knowing there’s a way to eat both for breakfast in a healthy fashion – you’re gonna love this.

Photo credit: Pinterest user Sara Vieira
Photo credit: Pinterest user Sara Vieira

I can’t take credit for the original recipe, which I found at Fitnessista.com, but I do alter it just slightly. Some mornings I use almond butter and others I use peanut butter. I use a small amount of raw honey or pure maple syrup for a sweet touch. I prefer to use unsweetened coconut almond milk and I don’t use protein powder unless I happen to have some, which I currently don’t because after years of disagreeing with my husband about protein powder being a luxury expenditure that is not REALLY necessary, I kinda sorta am agreeing with him now that I’m a mom of two who would rather put the same money toward her son’s Tumble Bus class. I know, if my pre-mom self knew then what my mom self knows now, she would have bought a LOT more protein powder!

That being said, if you have protein powder you should definitely use it in this recipe and enjoy!

Click here for the recipe!

~A workout for those who don’t want to think

Yesterday I did a quick circuit workout between clients at the studio and I was feeling a bit scattered. One thing that works for me when I don’t feel like counting my own reps so that I can shut my brain off is doing circuit workouts for time. Everything in this one was done for 1 minute with no rest between exercises. I repeated it one more time and would have done a 3rd round but there was lunch to be had before my next client. Exercise + fuel = good idea.

This took me about 30 minutes including a 5-minute warm up on the treadmill. Here’s the workout for you!

30 Minute Circuit Workout

~You know how some days you just know you’re a happy family and other days you wonder if you should be doing more together?

Check this out: 6 Things the Happiest Families Have in Common. Some of these things I can see happening as the kids get older (the family values talk) but some you might find you’re already doing (dinner together most nights, maybe?). I think back to my childhood and while we may not have done all of these all the time, we did most of them most of the time and I figure that must’ve worked seeing as how I’m happy with the way it all turned out. The point that hits on family history was particularly interesting to me.

…recounting your family history is not just telling kids, ‘Our family is awesome.’ Recounting the tough times, the challenges your family faced and overcame, is key.”

~Taking a healthy diet too far.

Back in July, a popular vegan food blogger came clean about having an eating disorder. The Blonde Vegan admitted to having orthorexia – a fixation on righteous eating – and restricting herself entirely from certain foods, even some vegan ones. You can read here for more info but my point in even addressing this in the first place is simply to say that I don’t believe any of us will get it right 100% of the time and I feel like we need to be OK with that.

I see so many fitness enthusiasts – moms, dads, trainers, nutritionists, professionals, coaches, athletes, teenagers, 20-somethings, the list goes on – who take it wayyyy too far. So I guess I just want to say to anyone listening out there who’s guilty of becoming obsessed with losing weight/getting fit and fitter and fitter/looking better and better and better, that hey – you’re doing just fine. Relax. Ruling out certain food groups entirely will hurt you more than help you. If you take it even further and rule out entire macronutrients (carbs, proteins, fats) you’ll definitely suffer.

Enjoy some junk now and then and between those times nourish yourself and take care of your body. If you’re doing the best you can it’s likely you’re doing it right.

Thoughts on this? By the way, kudos to this gal for coming to terms and getting help (and keeping her blog).

~While we’re talking about indulging yourself…

It’s Shameless Self-Promotion time! I happen to know some people who are having an End of Summer/Making Room for New Inventory Case Sale on their Riesling right now!

It’s like Christmas over here!!

Seriously though, at $8/bottle could you really deny the fact that this is news-worthy? That’s right, $96/case for Potter Wines Riesling, my friends! We currently sell it for $12/bottle and give 10% off when you buy 6 bottles. But THIS, this is a serious deal if you’re on the prowl for some off-dry Idaho Riesling!

Email me at crystalpotter@potterwines.com or comment on this post for details on how to order. Or go to potterwines.com for our contact info.

And that concludes this installment of “The Tuesday Tank!” Thanks for tuning in and scrolling down!

A Wino’s Wine List

I’m enjoying these cooler mornings in Boise and the smell of Fall lurking around the corner, my favorite time of year. There’s something about the season’s vibe that gives me more energy, which translates into better workouts.

This morning I took to the greenbelt with my little man and our neurotic doodle (Eddie – part retriever, part poodle, part hyper-sensitive spaz). Consider this my Day 3 check-in with the 30 Day Challenge (here’s the scoop if you’re totally confused).


I brought my Gymboss timer along with us so I could do intervals, my favorite way to tackle running. If you’re looking to burn fat, you’ll want to include intervals as part of your cardio training. Chronic steady-state workouts (running at the same pace the entire time) won’t give you the same results.

Today my intervals were set to include 2 minutes of running and 30 seconds of walking. Then I sprinted during my last 30 second interval, although it likely looked much slower than it felt since I was pushing a bike trailer/jogging stroller in one hand and holding a dog leash with the other.

If you’re new to intervals, I recommend you start with 1 minute of running and 1 minute of walking, alternating like that for at least 20 minutes. Each time you come back to a new interval workout you want to make it more challenging. So the second time you might do 1 minute of jogging alternating with 30 seconds of walking. The third time is 2 minutes of jogging with 1 minute of walking, then the fourth could look like my workout today. Next week I’ll be doing 3 minutes of jogging alternating with 1 minute of fast walking. OR, 2 minutes of easy jogging and 30 seconds of sprints. Get it?

On to the real spiel!

I know there are a lot of wine lovers out there who try everything, as well as those who know what they like and stick to it. I like to think we’re equal opportunists (we make jalapeno wine, after all). In reality there are a few kinds of wine we simply don’t drink.

Case in point: Chardonnay. I’d love to be a Chardonnay fan but it’s not in the stars. Occasionally an un-oaked Chard will surprise me but most of the time I just can’t get on board. If you adore Chardonnay (I realize I’m the minority on this one) I’m actually a tiny bit envious because it’s highly prolific – seems like everywhere I go someone’s trying to serve me Chardonnay. I feel the same way about beer. If I could force myself to like it I would in a nanosecond because it’s highly accessible. But as far as Chardonnay goes, my taste buds claim there are so many more interesting varieties out there (many of which I still haven’t tried).

If you read this blog at all you’ll realize I tread lightly on the white wine trail (read this to see which whites I’ll always raise a glass to). But I can dig a good crisp cold one now and then.

So before I get into my wine list this week…inquiring minds want to know: What do other wine lovers drink at the end of an average day?  What do YOU drink? What did you drink last night? What will you drink tonight?

Here’s what we’ve drank this week so far (oh there WILL be more):

Monday: Aveleda Charamba Douro 2011 (Portugese red blend)


Tasting notes on this say it goes well with beef and hard cheeses. We had steak and grilled sweet potatoes and tomatoes. This wine was decent, as was the price point (under $10), so it went down easy.

Tuesday: Potter Wines Riesling and Split Rail Winery Horned Beast Reincarnate (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre)

Made at our humble "wine house."
Made at our humble “wine house.”

We had the blast of an opportunity to host a wine blogger/Village Voice columnist for dinner at Fork restaurant in downtown Boise. So of course we drank our Riesling (along with asparagus fries – mmm!) and partook in local Split Rail Winery’s Horned Beast Reincarnate. Dinner between the four of us included an order of fried chicken and waffles, catfish tacos, apple roasted chicken and a ribeye steak – you can guess which order was mine.


First of all, as non-traditional Riesling fans we’re of course partial to ours. And as GSM (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre blend) groupies we’re excited by the fact that this one is local (and delicious) as well. Our company also sipped on our jalapeno wine and the night was pretty much perfect, all made possible by one superwoman of a babysitter!

Wednesday: Unlabeled, Potter-crafted white wine.

We had fresh tuna thanks to my dad who went charter boat fishing in Washington last month, so we paired a white wine of Von’s to go with it. This is one we alone drink (the perks of being married to a winemaker = limitless freebies) and will not be releasing because I’ll drink it all myself, thankyouverymuch.

We also opened a bottle of Paso Robles J. Lohr Wildflower (but left enough to finish off the next day). I’m sure it goes well with a lot of things, like writing a blog post.


Thursday: Finishing off the J.Lohr and then moving on to Primal Roots Red Blend.

primal roots

“How much wine do you drink a night, lush-face?” you ask. As a matter of fact I average two glasses a night. Sometimes less, sometimes more depending on the day. Don’t pity me, I am totally at peace with my wino/health conscious/humble mommy trifecta self.

The weekend ahead is a crap shoot circus so more good wine will be consumed. What’s on YOUR list?

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?


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!