Tag Archives: Potter Wines

What to do with Jalapeno Wine

Our second-most frequently asked question at our booth at the farmer’s market is: “What do you do with jalapeno wine?” This question is usually the one we get asked right after we answer this one: “Is it REALLY made with jalapenos?” And since our answer to that question is a simple and resounding “yes,” I decided it doesn’t need an entire blog post to explain. However, I’ve been asked a lot lately to do a post about how we use the jalapeno wine. Especially since we have customers who don’t drink but they do love cooking.  So without any further introduction – here’s that post. But if it leaves you wanting more, head over to jalapenowine.com for recipes!

Let me first point out that this list is in no particular order based on my favorite way to consume our jalapeno wines. Now that that’s out of the way, my FAVORITE WAYS ARE THESE TWO:

  • Crystal’s Mommy Mixer: Always a crowd pleaser, take a 1.75mL jug of Simply Lemonade or Simply Limeade (or your favorite lemonade/limeade brand) and dump enough out to allow for about 2/3 bottle of Mild Jalapeno Wine. Shake and love yourself for reading this post. Consider sharing with others.
  • Jalapeno Wine Margarita: I don’t like didn’t use to like margaritas. Now they make a noteworthy showing in our home on hot summer evenings or warm fall weekends. Our original recipe calls for cucumber but if you’re too impatient (like me) to wait an hour for the cucumber to marry with the margarita in the fridge, simply omit it and drink. Slowly, as to enjoy the fact that you have been enlightened to what a margarita should really taste like. All you’re missing is a beach on the Mexican Riviera. Find our recipe on this page, or you can simply use your own recipe and add a shot (or four?) of jalapeno wine based on your heat tolerance.

Now for more delicious uses – this is by no means an exhaustive list since our customers are coming up with new recipes all the time and we experiment with new recipes weekly as well. In fact, last month I baked a chipotle chocolate cake using the Chipotle Jalapeno Wine and it was delicious. I have yet to perfect the recipe, as I felt it actually needed more chipotle wine, but when I do I’ll post it. It will likely be when we have family in town so that I don’t have a bunch of chocolate cake sitting on my kitchen counter staring at me.

  • Salad dressing: Pour some jalapeno wine (any of the varieties) in the bottle cap and sprinkle over your salad along with some lemon juice and olive oil. I like how it’s super light with just a hint of jalapeno.
  • Bloody Mary’s: I’m not a Bloody Mary girl, but many of our customers come back to the market every month to purchase the Chipotle Jalapeno Wine just to use in their Bloody Mary’s, especially if they’re hosting a party. It makes sense that the smoke would compliment the concoction.
  • Soups and Stews: Right now I’m obsessed with soup, so this is something I’m currently drooling over – when you sauté your vegetables when making homemade soup, simply pour in some jalapeno wine. Or you can add it at the end for a more noticeable flavor. For me, the method I choose depends on what kind of soup I’m making. For tomato soup, I’ll add the wine at the end. For cauliflower soup (on tonight’s menu), I’m planning on sautéing with it at the beginning. Stay tuned for my Fall Soup Recipe Roundup post next week!
Photo Credit: Feastingathome.com


  • Sauté’s and Sauces: This is a popular use for jalapeno wine at our house. The Mild Jalapeno Wine makes excellent sautéed veggies, shrimp, and stir fry. Mushrooms and shrimp are probably the most popular choice among our customers but the options are pretty endless. Another favorite is using it to make a butter reduction sauce for pasta and fish. Add some lemon juice and you’re good to go.
  • Grilling/Marinades: This is definitely the Chipotle Jalapeno Wine’s area. We like to use about 1/4 to 1/2 cup in our marinades and have multiple recipes on the website. I have yet to find anything I don’t like grilled with this stuff!
  • Roasts: Since we’re on the subject of the Chipotle Jalapeno Wine, it has changed the way I feel about pulled pork. Another of our favorite ways to use it is slow cooking a whole chicken in the Dutch oven. Every time we make either of these things we’re reminded of why we enjoy cooking (and wine) in the first place.
  • Risotto: If my belly could support it, I would eat risotto once a week. As it is I make homemade risotto about twice a year and I always use the Mild Jalapeno Wine along with chicken stock. Most risotto recipes call for around 1/3 cup white wine, which I sub out for the jalapeno wine and then continue the recipe as instructed. You could play with this a bit and experiment with non-traditional risotto, like those made with quinoa or cauliflower.
  • Tequila!”: Alright, while I admittedly don’t have the heat tolerance to drink the jalapeno wine straight like many people do (my husband included), I do enjoy drinking it like a tequila shot now and then. Get your lime wedge, your salt and your shot glass. You know the rest.

Crushing on Grapes – Part Two

Growing up, harvest was a season. An entire season devoted to potatoes, beets and grain. They even pulled us out of school (seriously, they shut school DOWN) so that we could go help out the farmers. Sometimes I enjoyed this if I got to drive truck. Many times I despised it since it meant standing on your feet for 12+ hours picking clods off the conveyor line. At the end of each day you were guaranteed a sweet paycheck and an album’s worth of unique and really stupid songs about potatoes.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d experience another harvest first-hand after leaving for college. But it seems the joke’s on me – not only am I experiencing another harvest but I’m kind of LIKING it. Clearly, I’ve been sipping some juice.

I don’t love the physical toll it takes on my husband but I do love the look of accomplishment on his face from time to time, even though nothing ever feels completely accomplished in the world of a winemaker. I love the grapes. They’re pretty and messy and smell like super earthy and undrinkable wine just a day after being picked and sitting in mounds in their bins. I hate the bees, those cocky jerks. I love the sound of the grape juice rushing out of the crusher/de-stemmer and into containers for fermentation. The clean-up is tedious and never-ending. The fruit flies are unrelenting. But the reward is amazing and the end result is a bit hard to wrap your mind around if you’ve never witnessed the winemaking process from start to finish. I mean we all understand that in the end there is WINE and that is exciting! But if you knew every little detail about how it became wine you’d find a generous amount of fascination to it, as simple as it might be.

With that said, here are a few photos from our Syrah crush last week as well as a few I snapped just yesterday from the fermentation bins, which we have to stir up every 4 to 6 hours right now. I meant to take some photos of the Riesling as it was actively fermenting but it has already been laid to rest in shiny stainless steel barrels. If you missed the Riesling crush photos from my last post you can check that out here.

So now that harvest is over for us we have just entered the next phase in the winemaking process of our Riesling and Syrah – The Wait. You likely won’t taste the end result until late 2015 for the Riesling and at the very least it’ll be late 2016 for the Syrah. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you updated on their journeys here.

For now, enjoy!

The Arrival

Pretty clusters all ready to go
Pretty clusters all ready to go



The Crushing/De-stemming

Those paddles do the work of minions.
Those paddles do the work of minions.


The paddles break it all up and send the grapes out the bottom and into bins for fermentation.
The paddles break it all up and send the grapes out the bottom and into bins for fermentation.
Scraping the bottom of one grape bin, where the juice already smells like wine.
Scraping the bottom of one grape bin, where the juice already smells like wine.


The Sidelines

The unwanted pile
The unwanted pile.


This is how the grapes look as soon as they find a new home in the fermentation bins.
This is how the grapes look as soon as they find a new home in the fermentation bins
What you don't see here are about 50 more of these guys' friends hovering over us.
What you don’t see are about 50 more of these guys’ friends hovering over us.


The Fermentation (3 Days Later)

3 days later, the grapes have started to break down
3 days later, the grapes have started to break down
Stirring it all up every 4 to 6 hours so every grape has a chance to touch the juice.
Stirring it all up every 4 to 6 hours so every grape has a chance to touch the juice.

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!

Embracing White Wine

Here’s a quick note to my younger self: You will like white wine one day.

"Brace. Yourself."
“Brace. Yourself.”

I started out drinking red wine in my early 20’s mostly because, I’ll admit, I was embarking on my career in fitness and wanted to enjoy social drinking without killing my gut and calorie budget. Red wine seemed like the way to go. I started drinking merlot (a good entry-level variety), then cabernet, then tempranillo….then I became a red wine equal-opportunist. I guess it sort of negates the calorie-dodging argument if you go into full fledged wino mode, huh?

With all the wine drinking I was doing never did I get excited about white wines. Don’t take this personally, my white-wine-loving friends, but I actually thought white wine was for wimps. To me it was the equivalent of ordering a wine spritzer and the only people I knew who drank white wine were my girly friends who always complained about their weight and ordered salad for dinner everywhere we went never mind the fact that it was covered in crispy fried chicken and ranch dressing. (Enter Despicable Me Minion voice here: “Whaaaat?!”)

It wasn’t until Von started making wine that I gave white wine a shot. In fact, the first wine he ever made was white and to this day it is my favorite. Too bad we were amateurs then and only made a few cases. He probably did everything wrong as far as wine making goes and it was a huge hit, at least among our family, friends, and the judges at the Western Idaho Fair. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Actually more often than not.

While red wine is still the breadwinner of our wine cellar (and by cellar I mean the rack on our kitchen counter), this whole winery ownership thing has forced me out of my comfort zone and into the realm of white wine. Here are a few of my favorites:

New Age with Ice and Lime

This has been around a while and most people who drink it know it’s best fixed this way.

Good for when it's 100+ degrees outside and you want to forget about how much you're sweating just from walking to your mailbox.
Good for when it’s 100+ degrees outside and you want to forget about how much you’re sweating just from walking to your mailbox.

Mouvance Pinot Gris (local winery)

They’ve sold out of the 2010 but their 2009 is exciting too. We purchased a bottle last Fall when we took my mom to the Boise urban wineries for a day of tasting. I’m sure they all loved our children crawling around on their stuff.

Check out Mouvance on Grove Street downtown.
Check out Mouvance on Grove Street downtown.

Whitehaven Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

You’ll find a lot of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc since Marlborough is a region in New Zealand. I’m sure there are quite a few good ones out there. This is one we were given by a friend and really enjoyed.

Give it up for the people of Marlborough, they seem to know their @#$!.
Give it up for the people of Marlborough, they seem to know their @#$!.

Potter Wines Riesling

Oh c’mon, you knew this was coming! But shameless plug aside, we’re pretty happy with this. Neither of us are sweet wine lovers so in order for us to do a Riesling it had to be on the dry/off-dry side and taste like this. (Von says I’m sweet enough for the both of us. His sarcasm drew me to him in the first place.)

“I'll tell you where. Someplace warm. A place where the beer flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano." - Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey), Dumb and Dumber
“I’ll tell you where. Someplace warm. A place where the beer flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano.” – Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey), Dumb and Dumber

My younger self would probably call my present self a snob. Little does my younger self know what she’s in for, or that she should enjoy that social drinking while she can because someday very soon the majority of her drinking will be done inside her living room after the kids go to bed. Who am I kidding? I never wait that long.

Do you have some favorite white wines, local or other? Please comment and share what they are!

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!