Wine Making Class: Week 3 – Vegas and Fortified Wines


If you haven’t read my prior weeks Wine Making Class, click the links below to view:

Wine Making Class: Week 1

Wine Making Class: Week 2


Unfortunately, I missed Week 3 Wine Making Class because of a conference I had to attend in Vegas (Bitter/Sweet). However, I did have my fair share of wine and amazing food while there.

    • Night 1…Dinner at Carnevino! I had an absolutely delicious Maine Lobster Tail over Lobster Anolini Pasta with a glass of Bastianich Rosato di Refosco (2010) and my colleagues shared a Dry Aged Bone-In Ribeye with Mashed Potatoes and their wine of choice. The food was great, but for the expensive price $$$ they should give you more…I was still hungry after leaving!


  • Night 2…Welcome Receptions catered by The Venetian/Palazzo which was a variety of  fairly good food and an open bar of cheap wines and beer.
  • Night 3…Three Cocktail Hours, Dinner and a After Party:
  1. Cocktail Hour at Wolfgang Puck’s Cut – Amazing appetizers and unlimited wine & cocktails…I had 1 glass of Wolfgang Puck Chardonnay (Pacing myself for the night)
  2. Cocktail Hour at Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio  – More amazing appetizers, but the Prime Beef Slider is sooo worth mentioning…I had 1 glass of Wolfgang Puck Cabernet Sauvignon
  3. Cocktail Hour at Lavo Lounge – More amazing appetizers…Water Please : )
  4. Dinner at Emeril’s Delmonico’s Steakhouse – By dinner, I wasn’t really hungry but I had to attend since it was hosted by a Business Partner. I ordered Emeril’s BBQ Salmon, and it was superb! Too bad, I only could stomach 1/2 of it. I also had a glass of Merlot (Unsure of the Brand); however I’m not too sure how much I had, since the waiter continued to top off our glasses.
  5. After Party at Tao Nightclub – By know, I had my fair share of wine but still had to attend the after party and of course there are more drinks. So, I went with a Mojito to close the night out.

Needless to say I was completely exhausted the next day, but still had to put on face at the conference until my flight home later that evening.


Fortified Wines

I did however, have one of my fellow classmates recap Wine Making Class for Week 3 for me on Fortified Wines. To add a little background, I am a Fortified Wine Lover. So, when I heard this was the class I would be missing I almost canceled my trip (Not Really, but I thought about it…LOL).

So, what is a Fortified Wine….It is a wine that has very high alcohol content due to the addition of a distilled spirit, normally Brandy. The original purpose for fortifying wine was preserving it for longer periods than traditional wine. Most (but not all) Fortified Wines are really sweet. This is due to the distilled spirit being added during the fermentation process and forcing the wine to stop fermenting because of the high level of alcohol being added. In other words, the yeast that is used to ferment the wine, will crap out once the alcohol content reaches 18-22% and will leave unfermented sugar in the wine making it sweet. The following are some of the known Fortified Wines:

  • Port (My Favorite…Checkout my Wine Review on a White Porto)
  • Sherry (My 2nd Favorite…Great for cooking!)
  • Marsala
  • Maderia
  • Vermouth

This class was instructed by one of DeFalco’s Wine Club Member’s who is great at making Fortified Wines. He covered his techniques which involved using Everclear vs. Brandy. The main purpose of the use of the Everclear was to avoid changing the taste of the wine, because when you add a distilled spirit, typically the flavor profile changes.

The class tasted a lot of fortified wines that night….I believe 10 total. Mind you, fortified wines range from 18-22%, so a glass or two if you have a good tolerance level, is enough to get most people tipsy.

All in all, I missed a great class for my favorite type of wine; however I’m glad I got the Cliffsnotes!

Check out Week 4!!!!

Wine Review: Presidential White Porto


What a lovely surprise! I was in the dessert wine section and came across a White Porto. I don’t know about you, but this was my first time ever seeing it as a white wine. So, of course I had to get it.

Color: Golden

Smell: Fruity, floral, with a hint of oak

Taste: Sweet, but not as sweet as it’s red counter part. Rich, full body, fruity vanilla

Food Pairings: I like contrast, so I paired it with Smoked Gouda

Prices: $13.99

I absolutely loved the Presidential White Porto. It pleasantly exceeded my expectation. It gives you that bold port taste with less sweetness and a smooth finish.

Red Wine Lollipops

SprinkleBakes Red Wine Lollipops 7SprinkleBakes Red Wine Lollipops with glass of wine

Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, how about making your love or yourself some Red Wine Lollipops. I found this recipe via Pinterest, which direct me to Sprinkle Bakes: Red Wine Lollipops website. The site has some amazing recipes for any of you foodie’s

Red Wine Lollipops Recipe:

Yield: About 12 lollipops

  • 1 1/2 cups sweet red wine -wine should be no more than 18% alcohol  by volume (I used Port)
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 12 Lollipop sticks
  • A hard candy lollipop mold or a silicone mat


  1. Bring red wine to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Simmer wine until reduced to 1/3 cup, this should take about 20-25 minutes.  Remove from stove-top and let cool completely.
  2. In a medium saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and wine reduction.  Stir until combined.  Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Stir occasionally with a heat-proof spatula until all sugar granules have dissolved.  Boil until candy temperature registers 298-310 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  3. Remove from heat and fill greased lollipop molds with the hot candy.  Place lollipop sticks in the stick crevices and rotate until the stick is coated in the hot candy.  Alternatively, you may also drop the hot candy from a spoon onto a silicone mat or parchment paper, making two to three-inch disks and leaving room to place -and rotate- the lollipop sticks.
  4. Allow the lollipops to harden completely. These are best if you wait a day to consume them, as this gives the red wine flavor plenty of time to develop.
  5. Embellish with luster dust if desired and store between sheets of parchment in an airtight container

Wine Making: Blueberry Port


When I purchased my wine making kit, I also received the Winemaker’s recipe handbook by Raymond Massaccesi. One recipe stood out to my husband immediately, the Blueberry Port. Both of us are Port fanatics, so it was only right to make it.

Blueberry Port Recipe:

  • 6 lbs Blueberries
  • 1/2 pt Red grape concentrate (for later at bottling)
  • 1/2 cup LT Dry Malt
  • 4 pts Water
  • 1 3/4 lbs Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Acid blend
  • 1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme
  • 1/2 Energizer
  • 1 Campden tablet, crushed
  • 1 pkg Sherry or Port Yeast ( I used the Lalvin EC-118)


Now, this is the first time I have used fresh fruit. The directions tell you to use a nylon straining bag to mash and strain out the juice into the primary fermentor. I found this to be a little weird and messy, so I placed the remaining berries on the stove with water and extracted the juice by boiling them. Then I dissolved my sugar in the hot berry juice.

Once the juice cooled to room temperature, I poured the juice and berries into the nylon straining bag over my primary fermentor (This allows you to strain all your juice into the primary fermentor and leave the blueberry pulp in the bag). I then removed the straining bag and stirred  all my ingredients EXCEPT yeast and added back my tied nylon straining bag of blueberry pulp. After the ingredients set in the primary covered for 24 hours, I added the package of yeast.

A week later, this is what I have


Even with the nylon straining bag, some of the pulp makes it into the primary fermentor. So, I siphoned it through a strainer and then transferred it to my secondary.

I’ll rack in 4 weeks, and again in 2 months. Then it’s time for bottling, when I will add 1/2 tsp Stabilizer and 1/2 pint Red Grape Concentrate.

 Alcohol Content: 

I used my hydrometer to check my S.G., which was 1.110 when I started. When I transferred from my primary to secondary it was already at 1.000 S.G., that is approximately, 14.9% alcohol volume.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m use to my Port’s ranging from 18%-20%, so I’m not too sure this recipe could be considered a Port. Normally, Port’s are fortified with a distilled alcohol containing between 30-60%, but this recipe used a Lt Dry Malt.

Nevertheless, I’m sure the recipe will make for a great wine!

Next in the Pipeline:

My next wine will be a white wine, I’m thinking muscadines grape, peach, and apple.