Tuesday, February 28, 2012

{Wine Label} Chateau La Grolet & Peybonhomme, France

As far as labels go, I am a total sucker for traditional French labels...you know, the ones with beautiful castles and all of the little ornaments that makes them so typically French, and give them that "noble" touch.  I love imagining what it would be like to actually call one of those chateaux "Home." I'm afraid I'll never know :)

Today, I have two such labels: Chateau La Grolet and Chateau Peybonhomme Les Tours, both from the Bordeaux region.  If you ever drive through that area, it wouldn't be a bad idea to squeeze in a tour of these two wineries... :)

Château la Grolet is a beautiful estate located in the commune of Saint-Ciers-De-Canesse, in the Bordeaux region, covers 54 hectares divided into 38 hectares of red vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec) is certified both organic and biodynamic ("method of organic farming that emphasizes the holistic  development and interrelationships of the soil, plants and animals as a self-sustaining system" Wikipedia) . 

Chateau La Grolet

Another estate, owned by the same La Grolet proprietors, is Chateau Peybonhomme Les Tours (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec):

Chateau Peybonhomme Les Tours (also a certified organic vineyard) is located in Bordeaux' s right bank of the Gironde river, near Blaye, and its building dates back to the 19th century and was restored by the current owners, the Hubert family.

Chateau Peybonhomme les Tours

Here are two printables for your private use and that can easily be personalized to make your own wine label, for example...Cheers! :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

{DIY} Wine Elements Collage, ready-to-print

Here is a collage of wine related images I put together today, just save on your computer and print out! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

{DIY} Wine Cork Wall Art

A few days ago, I created this cork wall art piece to go over my wine rack, and I'm not going to lie, it was quite time-consuming, but quite easy as well. I am very happy with how it turned out. 

Step 1:

I bought an unfinished wooden tray at Michael's, (it cost about $2.50) and stained it with a dark walnut stain (which I already had, but you can get them at Home Depot or Lowe's for less than $5). 

Step 2:

To cut the cork pieces to the correct height, I used the height of the tray. It doesn't have to be perfect, but this will get you close enough to the proper measurement.

I used the wine stained parts of the corks to create the vine grape, and the word "VIN," which is "wine", in French ~ but I am sure you already knew that :)  Before gluing the pieces, I arranged them the way I wanted them to appear.  Make sure it is centered the way you want on the tray.  Once you are happy with the way it looks, glue each piece with all-purpose glue. I do not recommend using hot glue, since that will not allow to correct mistakes along the way. With all-purpose glue, you will be able to adjust as needed before it dries.

Step 3:

Fill in all the areas around the wine stained pieces with natural colored cork pieces. It will be like putting a puzzle together. Start with the round pieces, then fill in the "blanks" with smaller, made-to-fit pieces.

Here is a close-up:

If you'd like to darken the wine color on your design, you can use actual red wine and apply it with a small paint brush to the areas you wish to darken (another perfectly good excuse to crack open a bottle!). Be careful not to go over any part you do not want darken, because the wine will stain it right away. Happy crafting!

Friday, February 17, 2012

{Wine Label} Zios Albarino, Spain

I'm loving this label... I can see it as a poster hanging in my dining room as an accent piece, giving it a real pop of color...It is quite simple, yet its beautiful color palette caught my eye. It reminds me of fireworks or a flower field with a bright sunshine pouring its light onto it.

This label hails from northwestern Spain, near Galicia. Wine Enthusiast gave it a 90 point rating for its 2010 vintage, not too shabby, and an exceptional value at around $14. It has "Intense, yet clean fragrances of tropical white fruit make up the bouquet. On the palate, it is refreshing and crisp with grassy notes. A well-balanced wine with a rounded mouthfeel and lingering finish of slight, pleasant bitterness. This wine makes a perfect aperitif, but also is a great accompaniment to sushi and raw shellfish." (Wine Enthusiast).

I consider myself more of a red wine lover than a white wine one, and I loved it! Very refreshing, especially on a warm summer day, it can be enjoyed as a pre-dinner drink, or with a meal, or both :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

{DIY} Upcycle that (empty) 1800 Tequila bottle!

From an empty bottle of 1800 Tequila.....                                                    .....To a pretty, practical bath salt container       

Ok, so this has nothing to do with wine, or cork, but it does have something to do with alcohol, so technically, this post does belong on this blog...right? ;)

Anyway, my husband just recently finished a bottle of 1800 Tequila (not all at once, it did take few weeks for that to happen, no worries!), and he pointed out the fact that it really was a nicely designed bottle and that it'd be a waste to throw it out. Of course, that had my wheels turning and, out of absolute necessity, I decided to recycle the bottle as a bath salt holder (and yes, taking long baths with a glass of wine and some great music in the background IS an absolute necessity in my world...) by making my own bath salt and decorating the bottle for its new purpose. The 1800 Tequila bottle makes a great container because you can easily pour the salts right into your bath.

Step 1:

Clean the bottle and take off the stickers on the front and back, which I did by soaking in very hot water for  while, then scraping off the paper, and finally removing the remnants of glue with "Goo Gone."

Step 2:

Make your own bath salt mixture, by mixing 1 cup coarse salt, 1/2 cup Epsom salt, and 1/4 baking soda (this will be your base, to which you can add whatever you'd like for scent).

The next steps can be altered according to your preferences. I added:

 1 tablespoon Lemon peel (for a nice citrus scent) :

2 tablespoons (melted) Organic Coconut oil (acts as a moisturizer):

Next, I added a few drops of lemon, vanilla and coconut extract. You can use essential oils instead of extracts, but those are more expensive and less easy to find. I didn't want to have to order them online and wait to get them so I used extracts I already had in my pantry. These will work well if you don't have essential oils on hand.
Mix everything really well, making sure there are no lumps (I used my hands and found it easier to mix)

There are plenty of bath salt recipes out on the web, here are some websites I thought had some nice recipes:

Step 3:

Now let's decorate the bottle. I printed out a card stock sheet of paper with the words "Sel de bain" (Bath salts in French), and using an exacto knife, I created a stencil (be very careful with that type of knife, they are wicked sharp!)...

...which I then attached to the bottle, using regular tape:

I wanted to give the writing lots of texture, so I mixed some champagne colored glitter (which I already had from past Christmas crafts) with some brown metallic paint (which I also already had). These products were purchased at Michael's for about $5.

Mix the pain and glitter:

I then applied the paint mixture in a thick layer with a small brush onto the bottle using the stencil as a guide:

To decorate the neck of the bottle, I wrapped some hemp cord all the way around enough times to cover the entire width of the neck of the bottle. I then glued a fleur de lys wax seal onto the hemp. I "borrowed" ~ok, I stole it :)  ~ this awesome idea from the multi-talented Leah Marie Brown off her Etsy shop HERE. (how adorable are her votive jars? And SO affordable!). Many thanks to Leah Marie for letting me use her idea!

Finally, I wanted to cover up the top part of the lid, which had "1800" on it, so I used the same paint mixture and poured it on top, and covered up the entire surface. It needed to be quite thick to cover up the writing, so don't be shy about the amount of paint you use.

After I let it dry overnight (because it was so thick), I applied a coat of triple-thick gloss glaze (available at Michael's). And the final result...

Now you have a great reason to go take a long, hot bath!

Monday, February 13, 2012

{Wine Label} Happy Valentine's Day!

For Valentine's Day, I cannot think of anything more perfect than these two labels:

Chateau Calon-Segur, from the Medoc region of France is a big and bold type of wine, the kind that will reach maturity after a few decades. 

"Calon" meaning little river skiff used in Middle Ages to ferry timber across the Gironde estuary, gave name to the district which was at one point known as Calones or Saint-Estèphe-de-Calon. In early times, Château Calon-Ségur was one of the original three vineyards in Saint-Estèphe, and in 1825 Château Montrose (in 1855 classified as a Second Growth) was a forest-land parcel belonging to the Calon-Ségur estate.

By marriage, the estate came to be owned by Nicolas-Alexandre, marquis de Ségur who also owned Chateau Latour and Chateau Lafite. Despite his ownership of these two First Growths, the Marquis said that his "heart was with Calon" and the wine's label today includes a drawing of a heart around the Chateau's name. (source: Wikipedia)  This wine is a keeper and will run you about $75.

This next label hails from the California Quady Winery. Elysium means "heaven" in Greek. This flavorful dessert wine is best served slightly chilled. You can drink instead of dessert, or have it with dessert (even though I'd opt for the first option since this wine is so sweet already). It pairs well with blue cheeses, desserts containing red fruits (such as summer pudding), vanilla, dark chocolate and ice cream desserts.(about $23)

Happy Valentine's Day to all! :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

{Wine Label} The Lake House of Denmark, Australia

The Lake House of Denmark , located in Western Australia, is a family-owned winery, restaurant and gourmet food emporium, and in the spirit of Valentine's Day, I thought I would share these cute wine labels for "He Said She Said" red wine He said: “Decadent aromas of blackcurrants, licorice and spice mingle with notes of rich black coffee.” She said :“Mouth-watering flavours of blackberry and plum are layered with a soft mocha mid palate to create a smooth, velvety texture with a long, toasty finish"and "the Lake House Denmark" Chardonnay (sadly, impossible to find in the US, but let me know if by some miracle, you come across a bottle...)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

{DIY} Wine Bottle Lantern & Cork Base

A few days ago (on February 3rd, to be exact), I showed you an easier way to cut empty wine bottles with a tutorial, which, if you missed can be found here. Someone then asked me "what would one do with the glass once cut?" Great question. A wine bottle Lantern one of my answers! (because I will have more projects coming your way involving cut bottles, but let's take it one project at a time....).  You can make your lantern more interesting by choosing bottles that have an etched design, like the middle bottle you can see below, which shows an Occitan cross  from my home region of the Languedoc-Roussillon in southwestern France.

Wine bottle lantern centerpiece                               Cool idea for a unique gift! 

This idea isn't new, you have probably seen those in stores or for sale online, and most of the time, they aren't cheap. Why spend too much money when you don't have to (I already had all of the material required for this project and my only extra expense was for the stain, which cost less than $5)? This post will show the steps to making the cork base (onto which the candle can safely melt) and how to assemble the lantern, which can also make a great and unique gift!  The cork bases can be used as drink coasters.


You will need:

  • 19 corks: make sure they are of similar heights!
  • Hot glue gun
  • A saw (a coping saw is best but I didn't have one so I used a backsaw)
  • Wood stain (I chose a dark walnut color)
  • Sponge brush
  • Clear acrylic sealer
  • Rubber band
  • Candles

Step 1:

Arrange the corks the way you will want to glue them. The following pattern is easy and requires 19 corks:

Starting from the middle, as seen in the photo below, assemble the corks with a hot glue gun:

Continue assembling the corks row by row, going towards the outside:

Finished result will look like this:

Step 2:

Put a rubber band around the assembled corks for extra sturdiness, and with a saw, cut all the way through to create one base. Continue until you have 4 bases:

Step 3: 

This step is completely optional, and you could be done right here and choose to keep your corks a natural color. I chose to stain the bases with a dark walnut stain, bought at a hardware store. Apply the stain with a sponge brushes on all sides:

Let it dry thoroughly, before applying a clear acrylic sealer (bought at Michael's):


Take the wine bottles you have already cut (using a bottle cutter and the tips from my tutorial), place a candle on the base, then cover with the bottle, and you are done! How easy was that????

*Please note that the glass will get hot after the candle has burned for a while, be sure to protect your hands when lifting the bottle to blow out the candle*

Monday, February 6, 2012

{Wine Label} R.I.P: Marquis Philips

Marquis Phillips was the collaboration between American Dan Philips and Australian winemakers (Sarah and Sparky Marquis, who started the wonderful Mollydooker wines, about which I posted a few weeks back, read about it here), which resulted in crowd-pleasing, power-packed wines, and an absolute fantastic value for the money. I am writing "was," because it seems that Dan Philips, the company's founder, filed for bankruptcy back in 2010. I'm not sure what the current status of the Marquis Philips winery is today, but if you do find some bottles at your local wine shops, or anywhere else for that matter, I'd be sure to grab a few, since they are no longer producing their line, but are still liquidating their existing stock.  I do know for a fact that these super affordable wines (most under $15), are some of the tastiest wines I have had at that price, and I now only wish I would have stocked up on it. If you can't get your hands on a bottle, here are at least 3 of their labels, which I thought were quite eye-catching:

Friday, February 3, 2012

{DIY} How to (successfully) cut glass bottles

As a wine drinker, I have accumulated quite a collection of empty wine bottles, thinking I wanted to "upcycle" them and give glass cutting a try. Well, after many unsuccessful tries, I have FINALLY found the (almost) magic formula.

I first tried the option where you use a cotton string soaked in acetone and set on fire. Major fail. Not one bottle crack. Moving on to the next option: buying a glass cutter and following instructions. Another major fail. I wasted about 5 bottles following their instructions (I tried 2 different types of cutters, one bought at Michael's, and one ordered on Amazon, called G2 bottle cutter). The bottles did crack, but in all the wrong places. After a lot of trial and error, I will share with you the "secret" to successfully cutting your old wine bottles in half.

 STEP 1: Using your cutter, score your bottle in one smooth continuous line (try to avoid stopping and going if you can). Do NOT push too hard on the glass, the score needs to be very thin and not too deep. Make sure the cut is always done at a 90 degree angle.

Your score should look like this (see the line in the center of the photo. As you can see, it is very thin, and that is all you need to break the glass).

STEP 2: Prepare a pot of VERY COLD water (with ice) and one with water which you will bring to a constant simmer.

Light up a candle. Take your bottle and slowly place the score line over the flame, going all the way around.

Dip the bottle into the ice cold water for about 5 second. Go back to the candle flame and go over the score with the flame again. Then dip the bottle in the ice cold water. Do this about 4 times (going back and forth between the flame and the ice cold water).

After you have used the flame to weaken the score line (about 4 times), you will now place the bottle in the simmering hot water for 5 seconds, then the ice cold water for 5 seconds. Keep doing that until the bottles breaks at the score line.

As you can see, the bottom half stayed in the cold water, giving us a clean, smooth line.  Use tongs to take the glass out if it breaks in your simmering hot water. The last step will be to sand down the line to make sure you take the sharpness away from the bottle.

(note: the glass on this photo broke in the cold water, I removed all of the ice after the water got cold enough so you could see the break, but you can just leave the ice in the water for the duration of the process)

What I have learned through trial and error:

  • Your score line needs to be constant and very thin and not too deep.
  • NEVER go backwards when scoring. If you miss a spot, go back over that spot, and spot ONLY.
  • Stop scoring as soon as you have gone all the way around and hit your starting point. NEVER go back over a score (your bottle will break in all the wrong places if you do).
  • Some bottles are easier to cut than others, depending on the thickness and type of glass. 
  • Most instructions tell you to use lubricating oil on the cutting wheel, I just used some Pam spray and it worked perfectly.
  • Be sure to tighten all screws on your glass cutter as they will tend to loosen up as you use it, which will cause uneven lines.
  • Patience is key. Do not rush any step of the process.
Next time, I will show you what I have done with those bottles, but in the meanwhile, happy glass cutting!