Ryan knows me so well, he knows I love a good old fashion date night and I love to get presents! He also knows I can’t stand beer. He has found a hobby within the past year that he really enjoys; homebrewing his own beer. He really gets in to the whole yeast, hops, bottle shapes and the different tastes that are a part of homebrewing. He has mentioned to me that maybe I would like a winemaking kit. “Um, maybe.” has always been my response. I am all about getting a farm and growing our own food, but I didn’t understand how much enjoyment there was in making your own wine. At least not until he surprised me with a date night.

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Ryan being the charmer of romance he is, swooped me off my feet and took me on a very unique Valentines Day date night (with baby due to lack of finding a sitter for the youngest). Ryan actually runs an awesome home brewing blog (that you should check out and send your husbands there also) and had arranged an evening at Northern Brewer in Minneapolis. We were scheduled to take a private wine making class with the store manager Kevin.

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The first step to winemaking is to pour yourself a glass of good DIY wine.

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When we arrived, the first thing we did was an easy step – we made sure everything was cleaned and sanitized. Kevin wasn’t over worried about getting everything as perfect as Ryan does when he brews beer at home, but he calmed our nerves by telling us it will be just fine. It’s kind of the thinking process that happens with child two or more. The first kid is protected from dirt, bugs, too much pop and candy. By the time you have another child you ease up on some of those thoughts. Either way, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a little soap in my wine or not because I am not a huge wine-o. However, after this date I am going to start making my own wine!

This is the wine making kit we made during our date night at Northern Brewer.

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After everything is clean and ready to go, we started to make our own wine. The process is super easy and I think just about anyone could make their own wine if they wanted too. If you think it would be too hard, Northern Brewer makes life easier for you by offering classes right there at the store. Click here to see what classes they have going on at their Minneapolis location.

Upcoming Free Wine and Mead Class Feb. 16,2013 11:00-2pm

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To start the winemaking kit you have to mix your juice, water, and some packets of stuff. I don’t remember what they were but the instructions made it pretty easy. Open the packets and pour them into the juice. Mix well. Then Kevin told me to taste it…

I wasn’t sure if I would like it, but it was like drinking honey juice.

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Kevin had carboys (the big glass beer and wine things) at each of the stage of the wine making process so we could see the entire process in one night. Because of Kevin’s awesome foresight, I was able to add in the yeast to the big bucket of wine right away. I am really good at adding stuff into buckets and making alcohol.

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You can taste your wine all the wine through the process of making it, which I never knew that and it was really interesting how different it was each step of the way to final product.

It wouldn’t be a date without the kids calling from home.

At least this time it was only to ask Dad how to work the DVD player.

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About to siphon the wine from the carboy (of Kevin’s pre-made wines). I thought it was so pretty sitting on the table I had to take a photo (looks yummy!).

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The funnest part was next. The de-gasing process. During this step Ryan had to sit with a drill stirring the bucket of juice/wine for a lengthy amount of time.

He really enjoyed this step.

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Then the drill died…

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We took turns stirring because that’s what people do when they love each other and it is our Valentines Day Date Night.

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While we were busy tending to de-gasing our wine and keeping the baby out of trouble…

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Kevin was working on getting us ready to bottle the wine. Ryan said he likes the bottling stage of homebrewing. He finds it to be relaxing. I think anything is relaxing when you can remove yourself from the crazy house we live in for a moment of alone time. It is a must do for your own sanity sometimes.

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I was scared to use that red cork presser thing in my above photo. I thought if I pressed down too hard I might break the whole wine bottle.

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Turns out it wasn’t a big deal. I actually really enjoyed this step the most. I think I found a new hobby!

Northern Brewer has a machine that takes plastic shrink caps and melts them perfectly over the top of your wine bottle.

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Well, almost perfectly!

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I got it on my second try, but at home we will have to use a hair dryer. Northern Brewer also sells labels that look super professional for your homebrews. The trick is getting it on straight after a couple of glasses of wine 🙂

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I have to say this was a super cool date night with my husband. 5 Stars to Northern Brewer of Minneapolis for being my new favorite Homebrew Store! Watch out Ryan – you might lose your beer space!

Everyone is so nice at Northern Brewer. The space is comfortable, clean and organized very well. I plan on going back for some of the classes they have and from now on this is where I will go to buy our homebrew supplies.

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This is the wine we bottled – Love it!

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I never thought in a million years I would be making my own wine, but here I am loving every second! Northern Brewer is much more than your average homebrew store. They have made it an experience that you have to try once in your life.

Jesus made wine – now you can, too!

xoxo Kelly

Check out this great giveaway courtesy of Northern Brewer’s Minneapolis Location. Enter to win a floor corking machine or a pair of wine/beer glasses.

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