2012 Norton

Last week we crushed a 3 ton batch of Norton Grapes and today/tonight we are pressing out the wine. ¬†Here are a few pictures of the process….
1.The truckload of bins filled with nortons. 2.The view inside the bins – check out all those grapes!
3.We borrowed our neighbor’s tractor and forklift to make sure we had enough horsepower to lift the bins around.
4.The grapes were then dumped into this destemmer/crusher. The stems end up in a bin while the crushed grapes are pumped into a clean bin.
This is what the crushed grapes look like after they come out of the crusher. At this point the bins are taken down into the wine cellar and yeast is added to each bin. The yeast is allowed to ferment for a few days, and then it’s time to use the press to separate the skins and seeds.
1.Here’s the press after Clyde cleaned and sanitized it this morning. 2. Back down in the cellar, Clyde pumps the liquid from the bottom of the bin over the top of the bin so that all the skins and seeds get mixed in and become easier to pump. 3. Then Clyde starts pumping the wine up out of the cellar and into the press. Here’s the wine just beginning to flow out from the press into the collection pan below. 4.Extreme wine closeup! ūüôā
All this work exhausted Maggie and Pepe, so they took a nap in the sun while we pressed out our Nortons this afternoon. I think it’s about time to go join them! Cheers!

Inexpensive Wine Racks

Last week on the TWCQ blog I posted up a few pictures of drool-worthy wine cellars. And while it’s always fun to see what people with large budgets and lots of room can come up with, the post got me to thinking about how the rest of us can come up with wine storage that is affordable (so you can spend your money on more wine!).

Here are a few options for you to consider:

First up, if you didn’t see our W4 post last week, I posted a link to a tutorial to make this fold-able tabletop wine rack. If you’re handy and can invest a bit of money in wood, then try your hand at making your own. ¬†Not only is this inexpensive, but if you don’t have any wine to store, then this can be folded flat and tucked away somewhere out of your way.

Another option is to visit yard sales, flea markets, houses of friends who are getting rid of stuff, stores that might be doing the same thing, ebay, craig’s list, or drive around town the night before large trash pick-up day. ¬†Here are two wine racks that Clyde and I have received free or for darn cheap:
The wood rack on the right is a freebie we inherited from our days at Stone Hill. When they rehabbed one of their wine cellars, the winemaker got a whole new storage facility, so he wanted to get rid of this dusty old thang. Clyde snagged it for free unless you include the labor of hauling it out from under the stairwell where it had been hiding. There is oodles of storage in this thing for the two of us since we don’t tend to keep wine around too long!

The black wine rack with the painted grapes came from a neighbor who found it at an estate sale. I think he paid $20 or $25 for it. This will hold up to 4 cases of wine and is a nice display in our salesroom. But it just goes to show that if you have a bit of patience and possibly some elbow grease, you can get a very inexpensive, attractive wine rack for very little $$.

On the other hand, maybe you don’t have the time to shop, the willingness to clean up something that needs that extra touch, or just don’t have hardly any money left over after visiting us. Well, I still have options for you!

Check out what my parents have done in their basement in an old canning cupboard:
They lay the bottles flat and keep them from rolling around with strips of foam. Any horizontal shelf will work for this option. In between the bottles, you could also use old weather stripping, styrofoam left over from packaging, or bubble wrap trimmed down to a strip that fits to your shelf. If you have an open shelf on the sides, add a stack of books or magazines to keep the bottles from rolling off the open end(s).

If you don’t have any horizontal shelf or cupboard space available, I have another option for you:
Use an empty case box. If you don’t have one, I’ll gladly give you an empty box for free (better yet, I’ll pack the wine you purchase into a box!), and I’m guessing most grocery or wine stores will be happy to do so as well. Either cut the flaps off the top of the box, or better yet, ¬†take out the insert, fold the flaps flush with the inside of the box, then tuck the insert back in place. Place the box on it’s side as pictured above and viola – a free wine rack!

Tucking the flaps to the inside will help with stability and strength which you’ll need since the box is just cardboard. ¬†You will also want to avoid wet or damp areas when deciding where to house your wine box rack. Finally, be aware that the insert in the case box isn’t necessarily very strong, so you’ll want to be careful when you take bottles out of the bottom holes if you have wine in the slots above.

Now matter what storage rack works best for you or how expensive it is, I highly recommend placing your racks in as cool and as dark a spot as possible. Heat, fluctuating temperatures, and sunlight will age a wine faster than it should so look for a spot in your basement, a closet, or at least a spot away from direct sunlight to locate your wine rack in your space.

I hope this helped you as you consider your own wine storage solutions. Do you have an inexpensive solution for storing wine? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear about it. Cheers!

Show and Tell Sunglasses


These ladies were celebrating summer in style at the tasting at Miss Aimee B’s Tea Room over the weekend. I couldn’t resist sharing their spirited sunglasses with you all. Read more and check out a few of my photos of the tasting here.

I hope everyone is experiencing a pleasant Monday so far. If you’re not, then hopefully you can enjoy a pleasant glass of wine at the end of the day at least. Cheers!