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I know it, that’s a corny way to start a post but here goes anyway.  There aren’t many easier ways to my heart than food and wine, this shouldn’t be a mystery at this point.  I thought I’d share with everyone what my family decided to bestow upon me this holiday season.

Smokenator 1I’ve talked in very vague terms for several years that it would be cool to get a smoker to supplement my Weber kettle for fun things such as brisket, ribs, pulled pork, sausage, etc.  I’d also resolved that it wasn’t really money I needed to spend so it was a back of the mind dream.  My wife Katie on the other hand is a very clever woman who found a new and intriguing gadget that she presented to me as a Christmas gift this year.  It’s called the Smokenator!  This seemingly simple bit of engineering might just be genius!  It converts your Weber kettle in to a water smoker and I can’t wait to give it a shot soon!

As if that wasn’t enough, the fun continues!  Later that afternoon I was to open a rather large and imposing box that was quite heavy and I couldn’t for the life of me imagine what was inside.  I open the huge box to find three other plain brown boxes and the suspense continued.  I started in on the inner sanctum of boxes and found a case of 12 clear (empty) wine bottles and then it clicked, it could only be one thing, an Artful Winemaker – Personal Winemaking System!artful 2

I’d just read about this fun little gadget a few weeks before on one of my other favorite wine blogs The Reverse Wine Snob and quite innocently posted on my Facebook page that I might just want one of these, not so much asking for one, simply stating that this could be fun!  My dad and step-mom apparently saw this and moved with lightning speed, (I think the original Facebook post was around the 8th or 9th of December) to get it here by the big day.  I can’t wait to share one of the first bottles with them (that would require a trip North…hint hint!).

This new toy of mine will soon start making 12 bottles of Pinot Gris and in the month or so that this process will take, I’d like to put out a challenge to our readers.  Artful 1I need ideas to name the wine and maybe even ideas on label design, I’d love to hear your ideas and will be sure to report back the results while in progress and at completion.

May your New Year be filled with the love of family and friends (and maybe just a bit of BBQ and wine)!