Category Archives: Winos

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!

The Story Behind Wine Workouts and Whippersnappers

I’m going to do us all a big favor here and just cut to the chase in telling you why this blog exists: We are all busy. Busy, busy, busy. If you’re a parent, you’re busy. If you’re a business owner, you’re busy. If you’re a student, you’re busy. If you’re a parent and a student who works…you’re amazing. At least in my sense of the word. But my point is we’re all so busy that I’m actually bored of hearing the word ‘busy’ all the time! (Did you see that? I just used the words ‘busy’ and ‘bored’ in the same sentence.) So that’s why I’m here, essentially. I’m busy, just like you. And rather than keep all the areas of my busy-ness separate from each other I feel I’m in a phase in my life where it makes sense to consolidate – all while doing something I truly love, which is writing.

Here’s a little background about me, summed up in 10 sentences:

Girl grows up in a tiny Idaho farm town. Girl wants to get away and leaves for the Big Apple. Girl gives it a good run but hauls butt back to a medium-sized Idaho town to settle down. Girl graduates with Journalism degree. At this point girl safely calls herself a woman and embarks on her first career in event planning and marketing. Woman hates it, leaves it, becomes a personal trainer and starts her own business. Woman marries man (you’ll meet him) and gains a step-son (he’s a cool cat). Man becomes wine-maker, woman becomes pregnant…twice. Woman and man keep each of their jobs, open a winery and raise two small humans. Woman and man never have a clean house or bathroom privacy…AGAIN.

Lila (at 2 yrs), Luke (at 5 months)
Lila (at 2 yrs), Luke (at 5 months)

Now that you know who you’re dealing with, you may still be wondering why I would start a blog that blends the subjects of wine, fitness, and kids. Here’s my one-word answer: Balance. As a personal trainer who’s been in the industry long enough to know and have seen a few things, I’m probably one out of a small bunch of fitness professionals that are sick of the all-or-nothing mentality. I don’t like fitness fads, I loathe diets and highly marketed “health” foods and meal replacements shakes, I rarely do the same workout more than twice, I tire of superficiality QUICK, and I truly believe moderation is the ONLY key to a healthy life. Instead of going into a tirade about my entire outlook on the fitness industry, you can just check out my fitness philosophy post here.

With that said, I do honestly love working out, eating healthy food and discovering yummy recipes. And I enjoy finding ways to do all that while riding the crazy train of life. If that’s something you’re into as well then pull up a chair!

So back to balance. I love wine. Wait, scratch that. I am lost without wine. And believe me, you don’t want to be with me if I am ever found lost and without wine. Was my husband a winemaker when we met? Nope, and that’s why I think that in another life I must have been some kind of saint who did saintly things so that karmic forces caused me to meet this man in this life.  But he’ll tell you I was a wino who turned him into a wino and things just escalated. Believe what you will. Or you can read this post about our humble little winery.

What's halftime at a football game without wine in a Styrofoam cup?
What’s halftime at a football game without wine in a Styrofoam cup?

With all this wine loving going on, I think it’s important to note that we are not wine snobs. In fact, if you’ve googled us at all you know by now that we make some pretty crazy wines. And don’t think we haven’t been snubbed somewhat by the wine industry for doing so. But that’s okay, we’re not worried about it. So since I love wine and I love writing, I figured I could give you all the perspective of winery ownership (and drinker…ship?) from a non-wine snob point of view. The kind of perspective where you’ve gone to work all day, possibly spent the entirety of it on your feet, you’ve picked up the kids, you’ve managed a healthy dinner (or maybe just dinner), your house is a mess, there’s so much crap to do yet, it’s bath time and bed time and laundry time and The Voice time and tomorrow’s to-do list-making time…but all you want is a glass of !@#$% wine. Maybe it’s our wine, maybe it’s not. Either way, this blog presents a story about how the wine in your wine glass or red solo cup may have gotten there and what winemakers and winery owners like us do behind the scenes (here’s a teaser: We drink a LOT of wine).

So, balance. Now here’s where we throw that notion out the window: We have two children 20 months apart in age. Of course I think they are beautiful, smart, funny and perfect. I also think they are wild and demanding sanity-crushers who can make Lindsay Lohan’s meltdowns look few and far between in comparison. I am home with these beautiful tornadoes two days a week during the work week and I know you stay-at-home-moms are saying “seriously, Crystal? Big flippin’ deal.” Well I applaud you. Really, I do. I chose to take my studio hours down to two days a week so that I could be home with my crazies and I love my days with them. But I am not enough for them the other days so that’s why they go to this amazing place called day care and they love it and I love it and they learn so much more than I think I could teach them in the same number of hours. But on those days that I am with them I try to make our time together count. So this is also a blog about those days and what we do. I hope it will help some of you parents out there who run out of ideas or just need to know that your kid is not the only kid who does that weird thing with their face while looking in the mirror…

Yes, she could do this all day
Yes, she could do this all day

…Which leads me to one last thing that I think is definitely worth mentioning and will probably be mentioned repeatedly throughout the blog: I want your feedback! It often takes a village to pull things off at the Potter House. It takes grandparents, nieces, brothers, sister-in-laws, friends, fellow business owners and a world of winemakers to help us accomplish what we end up accomplishing. Same goes for this blog – please let me know what YOU want to know about, what you want to learn and your own experiences with any or all of the above topics. I welcome fellow bloggers, winos, parents, winemakers, writers, personal trainers, fitness lovers, etc. to leave comments and contact me any time! I will always do my best to respond to every comment and email. You can email me at crystalthomas@poisefitness.net, find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!