Glass blowing and a winery

We thought we were going to go watch a glassblower make things. Turns out we were going to be glassblowing our own little work of art. This glassblower is known for his pumpkins. I was excited to try this! I've always wanted to make something out of glass.

The hardest part is learning how to keep the rod rolling to balance the molten glass and prevent it from falling into the kiln or on the ground. The Artisan's assistant is teaching us how to use the equipment. 

The various colored glass set in metal bowls for rolling molten glass inside to change and stripe color.

Rolling the glass is the part that requires focus and care to prevent burning yourself. That kiln is incredibly hot. The artisan kept a watchful eye on us. He was quite skilled at teaching people.

The artisan is helping Keith guide the rod to the rolling table.

On the rolling table you can shape the glass and if you choose add different colors to give a layered look.

To get the pumpkin shape you have to puff air into the glass while rolling the rod along the rail. This was the hardest part since you needed to crouch down and puff while the Artisan rolled the rod. We had to do this process twice. Once before the mold then after.

Once the pumpkin had enough air inside it was place inside a mold. It was removed and we needed to puff in more air to finalize the pumpkin shape. It is a delicate process. Not enough air will cause the pumpkin to be collapsed too much and it will be too fragile.

The last part was adding the cute curly stem. Here the stem glass was pulled from the kiln, colored, twisted, then attached to the pumpkin body. Some pinchers and metal hooks were used to shape the stem.

Once complete the pumpkin needs to rest in a cooling oven to set the glass. A process that takes 24-48 hours. The glass needs to harden and cool slowly. Our pumpkins will be shipped to us next week.

We stopped next door to check out the winery for a tasting and mini tour. The winery is owned by an Italian family. We were able to go check out the really neat bottling deal they offer. In Italy many wineries do not have huge warehouses to store wine because people purchase right from the them. Often reusing old wine bottles or even wine jugs. It saves space and cost for the winery because they don't need to store the wine for long periods of time, they won't need to keep buying glass bottles, and they don't have to pay for transportation costs. With that idea this winery decided that to keep their small business more efficient they would offer once a month rebottling deals similar to what they grew up doing in Italy. You bring in clean wine bottles and they will refill them with the wine, relabel, and cork them for you. At $7 each that is a great deal for bottles of wine. The wine offerings vary month to month based on what needs to be bottled and sold. That's an amazing way to keep a good customer base! 


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