The Science of Wine

After last night’s Six Pack Sunday post, you might start thinking I’m some sort of wine-o. Lucky for you, I barely know the difference between tannin and a tastevin (And the only reason I DO know the difference is because I just Googled “wine terminology“.)  That didn’t make last Thursday’s Science of Wine event at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham any less fun!

I had a blast at September’s Science of Beer event at the same venue and, as we were walking out of the building, I remember the folks mentioning a Science of Wine coming up in February.  Well, I waited patiently and my dreams came to fruition. [Note: I was trying to make some sort of wine/fruit pun there, but it just wasn’t happening. Imagine you just read something hilarious.]

I asked my beer buddy, Melissa, to join me for all the shenanigans of the night.  Sometimes I worry that you who don’t know me might assume that I have no other friends, as Melissa seems to be the only person that comes up regularly in my blog.  I promise, I have more than one friend (if you count my bathrobe as a friend.  Do you? Good, me too.)

Our other friends came to visit in their fancy Chirba Chirba dumpling truck!! Well, who are we to resist their Juicy Buns (especially after realizing that they sponsor one of Durham’s infamous Luchadoras, aptly named Juicy Buns herself!)

Juicy and Delicious!

After a little juicy appetizer, we were ready for the wine.

But really, we were just ready for the main event of the night, one of the biggest reasons we decided to go to the event at all!

Also juicy: Grapes!

The second we heard about the opportunity to squish our own grapes with our toes, we couldn’t resist the chance to live out all our I Love Lucy fantasies.  Though the “barrel” was a little smaller, the experience was just as joyous.

Total rapture

I even took some time from my uncontrollable laughter to pose!

Oh, hey eyes, thanks for un-squinting for a moment!

Melissa squishing those grapes!

I made Melissa go after me so as not to have to squish in anyone’s foot germs but my own (luckily, she had faith in my own feet, and happily obliged my wishes.)  After we got our fill of the fun in a tub, we washed our tootsies and started the night off right with a glass of wine and a side of edu-tainment.


We discussed the effect that malo-lactic fermentation can have on the mouthfeel of a wine (and why some malic acidic wines give you the mouthfeel of a sharp, tart fruit like an apple while others with more lactic acid taste smoother, like a GIANT marshmallow.)

Trader Joe’s did a cool exhibit where they described the regions that two wines that derived from the same grape came from (such as New Zealand vs. Germany) and guess, by taste, which was which.  Melissa and I decided to make a game of it.

Guess who won that face-off?

#1 stunner!

(it was me.)

Another total treat of the night?

DIY Coaster Creation Station!

Mine's the one on the right (I like turtles.)

This station, along with the DIY Wine Charm station, were great additions to the night.  It was an excellent way to sit back without any wine and just relax with some Modge Podge, scrapbooking scissors, and beads. Bonus? We all got to take home some very nifty crafts.  And I flipping LOVE crafts.

The most exciting aspect of the night (after the grape squishing, of course) was probably from the folks at The Wine Feed. Their exhibit was dangerous enough to require everyone to rock safety goggles (don’t worry, Ol’ Four Eyes here brought her own glasses!) There were sharp knives, swords, and BUBBLY!

En garde!

They showed off their fancy sabers, explained where you need to hit the bottle for maximum poppage, and blasted off a few tops.

Pop bottles!

This was a fantastic party trick that doesn’t actually require a fancy saber to do… I wonder if it works with bottles of Andre (mostly since that might be all I can afford for a practice or two…) The cool part about the sabering of a bottle is, because of the angle you hit it, the glass breaks AWAY from the wine itself, allowing you to pour it into a glass and drink it without lining your throat with shards of glass!

We started to get hungry and ventured over to the Reliable Cheese Company’s table for some wine and cheese pairing (ah, the sweetest pairing of all?!)

Heaven must be missing angels...

Stinky, sharp, creamy, nutty, buttery, sheep’s, goat’s, I couldn’t get enough.  They really put on a solid presentation, and now I must get out to the store…  They even have cheese classes if anyone’s trying to get their PhCheese (bahahaha.)

Our photographer at the end of the night didn’t really understand how to snap a shot of a pair of ladies, but I appreciated the effort of getting our last few moments at the event.

Beer buddies venturing into the world of wine!

We finished the night with the tasty treats served up by newcomer Baguettaboutit and Pie Pushers, always a favorite.

Pesto Chicken don't mind if I do!

Perfect accessory to soak up that vino!

Thanks to all the amazing vendors, vineyards, food trucks, and OF COURSE the museum for putting on another great event.

What do you think your favorite exhibit would’ve been? 

Six Pack Sunday: There’s ALWAYS Time for Wine

The saddest Sundays are always the ones when you’re in a long distance relationship.  Normally, Sundays are the days of travel, the days of farewell, and the days of planning the next visit.  LUCKILY, I’ve already got plans to see Ryan next week so let’s focus on the past week. Because it seems like the theme was WINE (and lots of it.)  No worries, though, because every now and then, it’s good to mix up a Six Pack Sunday with a little wine.  No worries, craft beer continues to be my jam…  But hey, when in Rome Durham…

1. The Blind Side Wine

Ok, I thought (at first) it was the wine talking. And then I thought maybe it was just the Ole Miss cup.  But check this out.

Note the Ole Miss cup on the bottom left of the image!!

This was our wine tasting/aroma educator, Barbara, at the Science of Wine event at the Museum of Life & Science.  But I just checked it out.  And she looks JUST like Miss Sue from The Blind Side.


Kathy Bates, you have a wine-o doppleganger and she’s teaching the wine lovers of the Triangle!!

2. Champagne Wishes and Caviar… Nightmares

Oh, you fancy, huh?

Know what goes well with a sparkling wine tasting?


Well, at least, in my opinion.  It’s not something I normally enjoy (Mama isn’t made of money!) but for the fancy Sparkling Wine tasting that Ryan and I enjoyed for our four year anniversary celebration, it was the food pairing for wine #2.  It was also the first caviar Ryan had ever tried.

The verdict?

Bearded bite!

The man was not a fan.

Oh well, more for me.

3. Button, Button, Who’s got the button?

Do any of you celebrate the Summer of Riesling? (Only 129 days left for 2012!!)  Well, it’s one of my favorite things about summer…  And now, thanks to the folks at Six Plates, I’ve got the button to prove it!

Sweet collection

Don’t Fear the Riesling, y’all.

4. Just Call Me Lucy

There’ll be more on this later… But here’s a teaser.

This little piggy went to Sonoma.

5. Never Fail with Kale!

Romance corner: Let's get in it.

I was having a lousy day on Wednesday. You know what made it better?


I’d never tried it before and I followed this recipe  for something quick and easy. SO GOOD!  Oh, and incredibly cheap. It was about 34 cents for more than a full serving.

Yes, Kale, I’ll be getting you all the time.

5. Classin’ Up the Joint

Our sparkling wine tasting was at the ever-swanky King’s Daughter Inn located in the heart of Durham.  The digs were luxurious, and I wished that I had the cash money to stay there for a romantic weekend instead of just an hour or two.  However, Ryan and I decided a better way to treat the Marcona almonds paired with Sparkling Wine #1 than just eating them…

Trying to ogle my gullet? Perfect opportunity.

That’s right, we played “catch the almond in your mouth” in a 4-star hotel.


Don’t worry, we caught every single one.

6. Love Biscuits

Oh hot damn.

King’s Daughter Inn, you make one hell of a biscuit.

Reading this is making me salivate...

Honey & Cracked Pepper Biscuits, Bacon, & goat cheese?


AND Ryan tried (and LIKED goat cheese)!

This was the best decision I’ve had in a while, just saying.

Wine, you ain’t too shabby…. But, don’t worry Craft Beer, you’re still my Valentine.


Ever done any fun wine events or tastings?

Favorite food to pair with wine?