learning about wine production

2015-04-19 learning about wine production

Every time I go to one of Vicki’s wine tasting classes I learn so much. She spends the first 30-40 minutes presenting on a specific subject matter and then the wine tasting begins. This past week we learned about wines from Australia. If there’s one overarching theme that I’ve learned it’s that those Australian’s are hustlers man. The efficiency with which they produce wine is just insane.

In the midst of learning about wines from Australian I actually learned a lot about wine making on a whole, so I wanted to share some of those details with you today.

5 Things about Wine Production

  1. The top wine-producing countries in the world are France, Italy, and Spain. Italy and France constantly go back and forth for the number one spot.
  2. Over 50% of the world’s cork comes from Portugal, but screw caps are significantly cheaper (which is super useful when you’re hustling). While you can’t allow wine bottles in screw caps to age for many years, these days, most wines aren’t aged for long periods of time. And as for which one’s better? You’ll have to take to the internet on that one, seems to be a raging debate.
  3. An oak barrel used to age wine can cost $1,000. These barrels can only be used twice before the effect of the oak on the wine is negligible. Bottles of wine may say whether new or old oak was used in the making of the wine. Also, there are two different types of oak: French and American. The American oak has a looser grain, which means that it imparts more flavors in the wine. As for which one is correct, it’s personal preference, but fun fact, the Spanish prefer American Oak.
  4. If you constantly irrigate the soil, the vines will produce large, highly water-filled grapes. Soil that is not irrigated and receives less water produces smaller berries that are higher in sugar content. Because the equation to make alcohol is sugar + yeast > CO2 + alcohol + heat, having more sugar can create a higher-alcohol content wine. In the instance that you begin with large, water-filled grapes, you will need to perform additional processes to the grapes to reach higher alcohol content.
  5. In the late 19th century a group of European botanists brought a bunch of American vines to Europe. Little did they know, the American vines had phylloxera, little insects that eat and destroy a plant’s roots. The American roots were partially resistant, but over two-thirds of the European vines were destroyed. In the mid-1900s they thought to graft the European vines on top of the American roots, and since then that has been the preferred method of growing vines in Europe.

I love learning all of these little tidbits of information. It makes my trips to the liquor store much more interesting. For example, now I know if I’m ever looking for a Shiraz to head straight to wines from Argentina. So good.

Anyway, if you’re interested in joining Vicki for her next class, you can learn about wines of the Loire valley and wine terminology on Thursday, May 14 at Gallery Twenty-Two. Learn more by visiting the Vinocity website here. (I’ll unfortunately be on vacation (I know, boo-hoo Chrystina), but you can be sure that you’ll see me at the class in June.)

one down, one up

2015-04-16 one down, one up

jersey city, nj

Hello, and happy Friday! Welcome to this week’s one down, one up (a discussion of the worst and best things to happen to me this week).

one down
So last weekend I was working on a bunch of card orders and asked (who I thought was the) customer for feedback and got a response that wasn’t super enthusiastic. I wasn’t mad, I just thought to myself, sheesh, I must be asking the wrong questions to get to the greeting cards that people really want to buy. Little did I know I had communicated with someone that wasn’t the customer and got the wrong feedback. Once the customer saw the cards she was beyond thrilled, but unfortunately there were a few hours of what the heck happened in the middle there. This business thing is definitely a learning experience, man.

one up
My one up this week was definitely the blogger meetup event with PHLBloggers. I definitely loved learning about visual branding from Sarah and I got to meet some new people and have some great conversations. That’s really the best I can ask for in a week. Awesome.

PS. Don’t forget that Mothers’ Day is coming and now is your time to order cards. And so are your friends’ weddings. How did wedding season get here so soon?

10 no-reason reasons to send cards

2015-04-14 10 no-reason reasons to send cards

Monday night, as I was searching for a blog post to write for Tuesday, I tweeted this before bed :

Little did I know I was going to get a response from my friend, Sarah, who gave me an awesome idea: 10 no-reason reasons to send a card.

I need little-to-no reason to send a card. Sure, there are some real reasons like engagements, weddings, holidays, thank yous, & formal congratulations, but why not have a little more fun with it? In the past month I’ve sent 30+ pieces of snail mail and I’m not sure I had a “good” reason to send any of them. So today I wanted to try to inspire you to send a little snail mail of your own. Here are 10 no-reason reasons you might find to be a good excuse.

  1. If you know somebody who finally quit their job.
  2. If you met somebody really cool that you hit it off with and would like to stay in touch with, why not send them a card to solidify the friendship?
  3. If you noticed somebody was having a great hair day and wanted to let them know.
  4. If you know they’re going on vacation soon and want to kick it off with an additional reason to smile (or tell them how jealous you are).
  5. If you’ve got a new movie or song recommendation for a friend, why not make a card themed with that band’s photos and lyrics?
  6. If you have extra stickers and want to share them with somebody.
  7. If there’s a memory you think of often and want to share it with the person who inspired it .
  8. If you have a grandparent. (That’s it, that’s all the reason you need really.)
  9. If it’s finally getting warm outside. That’s reason in itself to celebrate.
  10. If you keep playing phonetag with someone, you can send them a tongue-in-cheek letter about having to resort to snail mail to stay in touch with them.

Speaking of tongue-in-cheek, here are three bonus reasons you might want to send a greeting card:

  • Because you’re procastinating something else. Letter writing & card writing is a great way to procrastinate, it takes longer than sending an email and involves needing to get up and look around for supplies. To all great procrastinators everywhere, go find yourself some stationery.
  • If you have really cool stationery, really cool stamps, or a pen you’ve been wanting to try out and want to brag about it.
  • If you want to start one of those steamy, forbidden, love affair, letter writing romances. You could make this way hotter than a snapchat.

If that last bullet point wasn’t enough to do it for you, I’m not sure what willl be. Have I ever told you guys about the time I was assigned to continue writing a section of the Crucible for a writing assignment in high school and essentially wrote the beginning of a raunchy romance novel between Abigail and John? I’m pretty sure the word steamy was written in the feedback somewhere. Did I mention it was an all-girls Catholic high school? I think I got an A.

PS. If you’d like to browse the card archive for your own inspiration, you can check it out here.

this year’s summer photo project

2015-04-14 2015 Summer Photo Project

You may or may not know that last year I did a summer photo project. I decided I wanted to get better at using my 50mm lens and took on a portrait challenge. I photographed a different friend every week all summer and ended up with some incredible pictures – and I learned a lot too.

Last week I figured out what I want this year’s summer project to be. Actually, I should take a step back first.

My one little world for 2015 is experience. There are two components of this: (1) I want to make sure not to miss out on living in the moment , and (2) I want to learn how to capture experiences in my photography as opposed to just people. You can check out my January newsletter to learn more about what that means. (Spoiler: it involves some cool pictures of India.)

I knew I wanted this year’s project to be about capturing experiences and yet again, I’ve decided to turn to my friends. I want to attend an event every week that wouldn’t usually have a photographer whether that is a playdate at the park, a family dinner, a bridal shower, a day at the beach, or a weekend roadtrip and be the official photographer. That way, there is no pressure to get good pictures, and it will be a chance to get better at capturing experiences (and learning to put the camera in people’s faces, which I’m super crummy at).

My summer photo project will start on Memorial Day and continue until Labor Day. So if you happen to be in Philadelphia (or willing to pay for me to go somewhere else), let me know if you have an event that you would like pictures of (that doesn’t happen to occur while I’m at a wedding).

I’m excited.