How to create a Repair Request Form for your residential rental property

This is the first installment in a multi-part series on how to improve residential rental property profitability while using free and inexpensive off-the-shelf tools.  Specifically, part 1 is about creating a repair request form that tenants can fill out to expedite the property maintenance notification process.

As a landlord, you have basic obligations that you must satisfy under the law.  Property maintenance is one of those obligations. Maintaining a habitable and safe environment is not only legally mandated, but it’s first and foremost when it comes to providing excellent customer service.  What better way to not only provide a great experience for your tenants, but to also stay on top of property maintenance than to provide them with a repair request form.

How the residential rental property series will shape up:

Part 1: How to create a repair request form for your residential rental property

Part 2: Integrating the data with a spreadsheet for easier record keeping

Part 3: Setting up a proxy phone number to mask your personal phone

Part 4: How to create a FAQ to answer repetitive questions tenants have

Part 5: Using chat as the foundation of the landlord-tenant relationship

Part 6: Why going digital today gets you a better tenant tomorrow

Part 7: Introducing automation

Ok, let’s get started

If at any point something doesn’t make sense, please reach out and let me know.  I appreciate feedback and would be happy to help you out.

Step 1: Create a new form

Upon opening Google Forms, you will see this screen.  Click on the red plus icon at the bottom right of the screen to create a new form.

If you are not new to Google Forms, you should see the current list of forms that you have in place of the “No Forms Yet” section.

Step 1 - Create a new repair request form

Step 2: Name the form

You will want to give this form a unique name.  I like to use the address of the property that this form will serve.  For example – 100 First Avenue.  If by some miracle you have properties in other towns/cities with the exact same address, then feel free to add the town/city to the name.

To be clear, the name is meant to make logical sense for you.  That way, if you own multiple properties and repeat this process, you will know exactly which property it pertains to.

Step 2 - Name the form

Step 3: Create a title

As you can see, what you named the form in Step 2 is automatically duplicated for the title of the form.  The title is what your tenant(s) will see.  We want that to be Repair Request Form.

Why?  Because we want it to be clear to the tenant that they are about to make a repair request.

Step 3 - Create a title for your form

Step 4: Adding a description

Now showing up is Repair Request Form.  That’s good.  Next, we want to add a brief description that lets the tenant know what to do.

I like to include instructions on how to handle a true emergency, along with a phone number to call.  You should probably spell this out in the rental agreement at the beginning of tenancy, but it’s always good to be redundant for such things.

And lastly, include a thank you.  I know it’s minor, but a little courtesy goes a long way.  Remember, this is a customer service business.

Step 4 - Add a description

Step 5: Ask for the tenant’s name

The very first question you should ask for is the tenant’s name.  This is true for a few reasons.

  • It’s a good soft opening
  • You will want to know who to contact to resolve the issue (if necessary)
  • And, it’s good for record keeping in case any disputes, legal or otherwise come up

Step 5 - Ask for your the name of your tenant

Step 6: Require the name input field

In the lower right hand corner of the input box, you will see a “Required” toggle.  Turn it on.  This will force the user to answer this question.

Also, I like to use the description feature because I like to add context to the questions that I am asking.  I leave it up to you on this one.

Note – We aren’t worried about “response validation” – Is it possible for them to give a false answer?  Sure.  Don’t sweat it, it doesn’t do anyone any good and you would most likely figure it out anyway.

Step 6 - How to require a user enter an input field

Step 7: Add a new question

Great, you made it through the first question.  That wasn’t too bad, right?

Anyway, on the right side of the form, you should see a set of options.  Select the gray plus icon to add a new question.  It’s similar to the red plus icon and serves a similar function.

Step 7 - How to add a new question

Step 8: Ask for contact information

Beyond asking for the tenant’s name, you will want to ask them for their contact information.  This is where using the description comes in handy.

I prefer to ask tenants to give me their preferred method of contact, either email or phone number.  Getting back to the customer focus mentality, I want to make it as easy possible for the tenant to enable me to do my job: maintaining the property.

I feel that the more wide open the lines of communication, the more likely I am to avoid an issue that is going to cut into my profit. Nothing feels worse than a, “I was going to tell you, but I was busy and I forgot to” scenario two to three months down the road.

Step 8 - Ask for tenant contact information

Step 9: What needs to be repaired?

Though you can’t always trust a tenant’s assessment of the issue, it’s still a good idea to take their statement.  It’s on you to triage the scenario and assign a priority for getting it resolved.

Prompting the tenant with examples is a great way to get their mind wrapped around a possible issue.  If it’s straightforward enough, you may be able to save yourself some time.

Step 9 - Describe the repair request

Step 10: Test your form

I know what you are thinking, “Three questions … that’s it?”

For now, yes.  The purpose of this is to teach you how to create the form.  Next, we will cover integrating it with a spreadsheet for record keeping.

Ok, you want to test the form.  At the top of the page, you should notice an eye icon.  Clicking it will open up the form.  Check it out to see if the questions are in the proper order, or if there are any errors with spelling or the copy itself.

Step 10 - Test your form

Step 11: Your form is ready

Review the form.  Things to watch for:

  • Correct question order
  • Spelling/Grammar mistakes
  • Proper phone numbers

Note – Even I made a mistake in the image below.  Can you spot it?  I didn’t require “How can we contact you?”  Proofreading is necessary.

Step 11 - Repair request form complete

Step 12: Delivering the repair request form

Hit send at the top of the screen to see your options.

Step 12 - Prepare to send it to tenants

Once the pop-up box opens up, you will see that you have three options to choose from:

  • Email the repair request form (envelope icon)
  • Send out a link to it (link icon)
  • Embed it in a website (code icon)

Step 13:  Email the repair request form

Do you have a primary tenant that you contact for all issues?  Do you want every tenant at the premises to have the ability to submit an issue?  These are questions that you need to have answers to at this point.  Let’s assume every tenant will receive the form.  Here are the steps.

  • Enter in each tenant’s email address in the “To” field.
  • Write a message that makes it clear as to who this email is coming from (property owner, manager, super, etc.)
  • Hit send when you are done and ready to send the email

Note – There is a checkbox for including the repair request form in the email.  Feel free to select it if you want the tenants to see the form immediately.

Step 13 - How to email the form

Step 14:  Using a link to the form

A few reasons why you would want to copy and paste the link include:

  • Listing the link on your property management website
  • Posting the link via Social messaging – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – maybe you have created a Facebook group for your tenants.
  • Sending the link from an another email address, one that is not associated with your Gmail (Google) account.

As to the last point, say you own the domain 100FirstAvenue.com for your property and/or LLC.  You might have a propertymanager@100firstavenue.com email address that you want your tenant’s in communication with.

There are many reasons why you may want to the share the link to the form.  Do what is best for your business.

Note – There are many reasons to purchase a domain name that reflects the property/business entity that tenants write checks to every month, the primary of which is to build trust.  If I am one of your tenants at 100 First Avenue, and you email me from owner@100firstavenue.com, I can be pretty sure that the communication is authentic.  Just something to keep in mind.

Step 14 - How to link to the form

Step 14b:  Shortening the URL

If you are going to send a link, you might want to consider shortening the URL (the link).  It just makes things a bit cleaner.  Also included is a keyboard shortcut on a Mac for copying the link.

Step 14b - How to shorten the url

Step 15: Embedding the form in a website

Let’s revisit the idea of owning a domain for your property management business.  Instead of owning a specific domain per property, maybe you own a domain that represents multiple residential properties, something like www.AwesomeCondos.com.

Using the embed function, you could place the code into a landing page that corresponds specifically with the property you set the repair request form up for.  That landing page could look like this:

www.awesomecondos.com/100FirstAvenue

When tenants arrive at that address, they are prompted with the form that is specific to that property.  It’s all a matter of personal preference in how you set everything up.  Feel free to experiment.

You will want to copy and paste the code, just like in Step 14.

Step 15 - How to embed the form in your website

Step 16: Receiving repair requests

You’ve completed the form and you’ve either sent it to your tenants, or, you’ve embedded it on a website of your choosing.  What’s next?  The important part, receiving the actual repair requests.

Select the “Responses” tab that is available at the top of the form, next to “Questions”.  A list will build out as repair requests arrive.  Congratulations, you have accomplished what you set out to do, which was:

  • Make it easy for tenants to request a repair
  • Keep a list of the times that they did so

Step 16 - Acquiring tenant responses

Step 17:  Setting up email notifications when requests arrive

Opening Google Forms 6-12x per day is not a valuable use of your time as an investor, owner, or property manager.  Selecting the three dots icon on the right will open up a menu that gives you useful options.  Select “Get email notifications for new responses” from the list.

Selecting this option will send responses to your Gmail account that you are creating the Google Form with.  You may want to consider forwarding responses to your gmail address if it is not the primary email address that you use for your property management business.

Note – Feel free to download or print the responses at year end for auditing purposes.  Reviewing it may provide some useful data and insight.

Step 18:  Tracking data in a spreadsheet (Google Sheets)

We will be covering this in the next article, but I wanted to show you where the link was in case you want to skip ahead and try it out for yourself.

Step 18 - How to track data in spreadsheet

Words of wisdom

  1. If you’ve done your job correctly, no one should be using this repair request form for showstoppers – things like fire, gas, or even a lack of heat in the winter time.  Set up a protocol for how emergencies are to be handled early in a new tenancy
  2. Tailor the questions to suit your business needs.
  3. Always keep your copy concise and approachable.  Better customer service = better profits.

And lastly, thank you very much for your time.

Part 2: Integrating the data with a spreadsheet for easier record keeping, will be next up in the series.

If you have any questions or want feedback on your progress, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

– – –

Landlords, brush up on your real estate knowledge by reviewing these real estate terms and definitions.

Candied Bacon for Ballers

Freshly cooked chipotle candied bacon

Question: What do ballers eat? Candied Bacon!

Not even lying. A few years back, I was at the Boston Bacon and Beer Festival at the House of Blues. The options were limitless. They had all types of gourmet candied bacon appetizers, various jars of bacon jam, even some uncured duck bacon. Seriously, uncured duck bacon. What an event! Most notable to me was the Chipotle Candied Bacon.

Anyway, this was the candied bacon recipe that was passed down from one of the vendors. I’ve made an adjustment or two over time as a way to experiment with it, but it remains largely the same. The chipotle gives the bacon a nice, smoky heat. The sugar sweetly balances the spice.

By the time you are done, your kitchen will smell like Patton rolling through Tunisia … VICTORY!

As the good general said, “If a man cooks bacon, what else is there?”

He didn’t actually say that, but he should have.

Candied bacon recipe

Ingredients to make a chipotle candied bacon appetizer

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. of chipotle powder. I use Los Chileros. You can use any chipotle powder.
  • 1 lb. bacon – preferably small batch, locally sourced. I get mine from Chestnut Farms at the local Farmer’s Market. If you have the time and the money, but not the local source, go with Primal Pastures out of Temecula, CA. Otherwise, your local Whole Foods Black Forest bacon is tasty enough.
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of light brown sugar, or at least enough to coat the bottom of the bowl. I don’t use fancy sugar. Maybe I should?

If I opt for a maple chipotle candied bacon, I use Fadden’s maple syrup. Fadden’s maple syrup is simply delicious and highly recommended.

Candied Bacon Quick Instructions

  • Mix chipotle powder with brown sugar
  • Rub it on the bacon
  • Place bacon on a foil-lined cookie sheet
  • Bake at 350 for 20 minutes
  • Let the bacon cool on a cooling rack
  • Serve

Detailed Instructions for making Chipotle Candied Bacon

First, pre-heat the oven to 350. Then line a cookie sheet with foil.

Next, there are two ways to candy the bacon. The first is to make a rub. This can be as simple as combining the chipotle powder you purchased with brown or white sugar. If you are using brown sugar, make sure you knead it or beat it to get it to a more granular state. I prefer to dip the bacon in the bowl to ensure maximum coverage.

Making the chipotle rub

Add the bacon to the chipotle rub

To get fancy, you can create your own chipotle rub. To get super fancy, you could cure your own bacon. You don’t need to, just saying you could. Instructions are below.

The second way is to make a glaze. You can do this with sugar, or you can do it with your choice of sweetener: maple syrup, honey, agave, etc. Combine your sweetener with your chipotle powder in a saucepan over low heat. You will want to warm it until it’s somewhat viscous and can be brushed or drizzled on to the bacon.

Put the bacon candy in the oven

We are ready to go!

In either scenario, make sure to cover both sides of the bacon. Otherwise, you will miss out on flavor, and no one wants that. Also, use up the remainder of your mix, either sprinkling on the rub, or pouring the remainder of the glaze onto the bacon after you have placed it onto the baking sheet.

How to cook candied bacon in the oven

Set a timer for twenty minutes and clean up any mess you have already made. Also, make sure you get a cooling rack set up on another foil-lined sheet to catch the drippings. The cooling rack will help you to get rid of any excess grease.

Freshly cooked bacon

Time to find the cooling rack

If at the end of twenty minutes the chipotle candied bacon is not crispy enough, consider adding a few more minutes. Remember though, the bacon will cook even after you remove it from the oven. You should see a caramelization on the bacon at this point.

Bacon cooling on a cooling rack

Give it a few minutes to shed the drippings and cool

When the Chipotle Candied Bacon is cooked to your liking, you’re done and it’s time to serve. Add it to a plated dish, or eat it straight up.

Enjoy, it’s delicious.

Chipotle Candied Bacon and Eggs for breakfast

A better bacon and eggs breakfast

What if I want to use the stovetop?

I am guessing that you probably don’t have a breakfast diner’s setup, or even a Guggenau cooktop.  That’s ok.  Just break out your favorite cast iron skillet or frying pan and repeat the cooking steps, substituting the instructions for baking in the oven with a medium to high heat on the stove top.

You may want to remove some of the bacon grease in real-time to help prevent the grease from overtaking the rub/glaze.

Can I use a grill?

That said, I do recommend bringing this delicacy to a college tailgate.  You, along with beer, will be the star of the pregame show.

Does cut thickness matter?

Completely preferential.  Thinly sliced bacon generally leads to crispy bacon, while thicker pieces lean toward chewy.  Obviously, your cooking length and temperatures affect the overall crunch, as well as your drying tactics.

What not to do

Do NOT dry the bacon on a paper towel.  That is a recipe for eating sticky paper towel, a lesson learned the hard way.

How long does the bacon candy last for?

Candied bacon lasts about a week, especially if stored properly. That is in theory.

In practice, candied bacon lasts the duration of the meal, maybe less. It’s just so tasty.

Cleaning up – what to do with the leftover bacon fat

You could store it in a mason jar for future use.  Or, if you went the stovetop route, you could make some home-fried potatoes. Just cut up some potatoes and toss them into the pan with some fresh garlic and rosemary.

If you aren’t interested in saving the bacon grease for the future or cooking something else with it, then let it cool down for a bit.  Before it hardens, soak it up with some paper towels, or find a container that is pre-destined for the trash, and pour it into that.

Do NOT pour it down the drain.

What about the nutritional value of this recipe?  Is it low carb?  Will it work for my paleo diet?

If that is a real concern, I suggest you find some information on bacon, and then you research the ingredients that are being added to the rubs, glazes, and cures contained here.  Creating homemade rubs, spices, and cured meats allows for far greater control over the quality of the ingredients versus store-bought goods.

I am not a doctor or dietician.  That said, I would wager most spices to be fine. However, when it comes to the sugars, bourbons, and honey, you better do your research, especially if you are banting or on the paleo diet.

How do I home cure bacon?

Ingredients for the cure

  • 1.5lb of pork belly
  • .5 tbsp. of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 oz. of bourbon (optional for a sweeter, wetter “brine”)

Quick instructions

  1. remove the rind (skin)
  2. mix dry ingredients
  3. rub the mixture on the slab of pork belly. be thorough, you won’t hurt the pork belly
  4. place in a bag and put in the fridge. leave it there for 4-5 days
  5. turn it over every so often
  6. when complete, wash the mixture off the pork belly, rinse with cold water
  7. let it dry overnight, preferably on a rack, turning it over again
  8. fire up the oven to the lowest baking setting
  9. place the slab into the oven (~200 degrees) for about 2 hours
  10. let it cool on a rack
  11. wrap it up like a butcher in some parchment

How do I make my own chipotle rub?

Ingredients for the rub

  • 3 tbsp ground dried chipotle pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp of black pepper
  • 2 tbsp sugar (optional)

Quick Instructions

  1. simple, mix ingredients together in a bowl

Do I want my chipotle rub to be sweet or savory?

That is up to you.  You can add smoke to your flavor by replacing regular paprika with some pimentón de La Vera, or you can amplify the sweetness with some molasses or bourbon.  Mix and match each time you try it.

What does it pair well with?

  • Breakfast – Caramelized bacon goes really well with scrambled eggs and a lemon pepper spinach and watercress mix.  Breakfast is served!
  • Lunch – An easy way to spice up your BLT or turkey club
  • Dinner – Toss it on a chef salad, or, build a pizza around it
  • Dessert – Candied bacon cookies just sounds dope
  • Drinks – Bourbon and maple ale are natural pairings

Chipotle candied bacon pairs well with everyday life.  No joke.  Be a superhero and bring this candied bacon appetizer to the next Super Bowl party.  Bring it to a baby shower and spice things up a bit.  Careful though, people will talk more about the bacon than the baby.

Do you hike?  Bring it along.

Camp?  Even better.

Ski?  The best, it’s the ideal pocket bacon to snack on after your milk run.  So good, you will spend Apres-ski bragging about it.

Editor’s note – Remember, consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, eggs or unpasteurized milk may increase your risk of foodborne illness.

Honey Infused Vodka (how to make it)

Be a star at the next college football tailgate with honey infused vodka. You will feel like far less of a degenerate if your 8:30am booze tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios … because that’s what honey infused vodka tastes like. Breakfast of champions!

Equipment you will need:

  • a mason jar, old milk jugs, some other sealable container
  • metal strainer (optional)
  • cheesecloth
  • glasses for serving
Honey Infused Vodka ingredients - vodka, oats, and honey

The ingredients – cheap vodka, organic rolled oats, and local honey

Ingredients you will need:

  • 750ml – 1L of vodka (don’t but expensive vodka)
  • oats – 1 package of organic rolled oats
  • honey or maple syrup
  • nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla (optional garnish)

Quick Instructions

  • add vodka to container
  • add oats to container
  • seal the container
  • shake it up, and repeat 1-2x a day over 4-5 days
  • first strain out the oats with a metal strainer, it’s quicker and less messy
  • then strain it repeatedly through the cheesecloth (until the mixture is less cloudy)
  • add the honey / maple syrup
  • blend for a few minutes
  • serve, on ice preferred
  • nutmeg or cinnamon is optional

Detailed instructions for making your honey infused vodka

For starters, you only need two pieces of equipment to make your infused honey oat vodka: a sealable container and a something to strain the mixture with. I used a Crescent Ridge half gallon milk jug, but you could just as easily use an equal sized mason jar. As for straining, I prefer to use a metal strainer before employing some cheesecloth, it really helps reduce the amount of cheesecloth you will need.

Why not premium vodka? Because you are adding flavors to the vodka. You don’t need the smoothest vodka money can buy to get a great result with this recipe. Forget the Grey Goose, forgo the Ciroc.

Plus, you don’t need to further pad Diddy’s wallet. I’m sorry, “Brother Love”.

Inexpensive vodka, ready to be infused with honey and oats

Doesn’t vodka look great in a milk jug?

Now, to make the homemade honey infused vodka, start by pouring your liter of college grade spirits, I chose Smirnoff, into your mason jar, milk jug, red snowblower gas can, etc. and then add your (preferably) organic rolled oats. Seal the container and shake it up vigorously. You will want to repeat this process a couple of times a day over the next four to five days as you let the oats infuse, creating your flavored vodka.

The vodka infusing process

What it looks like halfway through

When the oats are done infusing their flavor into the vodka, it’s time to strain the mixture. This is where you the metal strainer will come in handy. Use it to separate out all of the solids from the liquid. One to two times should do the trick.

Straining the oats from the vodka

Metal strainers for the win

After that, give it a few minutes to settle. Then, it’s time to use the cheesecloth for further refinement. Strain more or less depending on how long you left the rolled oats infusing the vodka.

Cheesecloth for straining the oats from the vodka

Cut the cheesecloth into pieces wider than the mouth of the container you are pouring into

The longer you left the oats in, the more times you should strain, let’s call it three to five times.

After you have strained the mixture, it is time to add the sweetener. In my experiment, I used a half-bear (technical measurement) of local, Massachusetts honey. You can use maple syrup or pure agave if you like.

Infuse the vodka with honey or maple syrup

Honey or Syrup? I prefer syrup.

If you want to keep the drink vegan-friendly, opt for the latter. Since I lack patience, I skipped right to using my Vitamix instead of shaking the mixture by hand. The bubbles were a delight to watch.

Honey infused vodka

Respect the Vitamix

Congrats. It’s now time to enjoy your homemade honey infused vodka. If you want, you can serve the drink after the mix settles. Or, feel free to chill it first.

If it’s the holiday season, feel free to sprinkle in some nutmeg or cinnamon, or some allspice if you are really feeling it.

To note – you could buy a vodka infuser, but it seems like a waste of money. For one, there is a ridiculous amount of flavored vodka on the market. Two, it’s much more fun to do it yourself.

Also potentially wasting your money is selecting a more expensive vodka. But if you feel so compelled, try the Bully Boy or the Triple 8. And if you have the chance, take the Cisco Brewery tour, it is a delight.

If you get tired of the honey infused vodka, grab a bottle of cheap red wine that you have lying around hyperdecant it (put it in a blender). Let me know that works for you.

Hyperdecanting: How to Improve a Two Buck Chuck

Oenophiliacs beware, we are destroying wine here. Or are we? For your next wine tasting party, try Hyperdecanting. Better yet, try hyperdecanting a two buck chuck to improve its flavor.

How do I decant wine without a decanter?

By Hyperdecanting it. Hyperdecanting wine is a way to change your wine tasting experience. It is a way to (maybe?) change your cheap red wine into a good red wine. Well, maybe not good wine, but it will certainly help a two buck chuck earn some points.

In fact, after hyperdecanting, you won’t feel shamed for serving it at your next wine tasting.

First, a little background.

  • What is decanting?
  • Why decant?
  • What type of wine should I decant?
  • Can I hyperdecant white wine?
  • Does bottle age matter?
  • What is two buck chuck?
  • Why is two buck chuck so cheap?
  • Can I use an expensive vintage wine?
  • What is hyperdecanting?
  • The process of hyperdecanting
  • What won’t hyperdecanting do for a two buck chuck?
  • For an optimal wine tasting experience

What is decanting?

Decanting is just the process of pouring the wine out of it’s bottle into another container. That could be a decanter, a carafe, or even another wine bottle. Or a glass, which conveniently is the best place for wine. So I’m told.

Why decant?

The first reason is to separate out any sediment or dregs that have collected over time. Beyond the aesthetics and visual appeal of the wine in your favorite goblet, there are various arguments about the effect that sediment has on flavor. To be clear, though a bit gritty, sediment is not harmful.

The second reason is to aerate the wine. As the wine takes in oxygen, cleverly called the breathing process, it helps open up the flavor of the wine, unlocking and releasing aromas of fruits and spices: black cherry, peppercorn, etc.

What type of wine should I decant?

Preferably red wine. Cabernet, Syrah, Barolo, and some red blends lend themselves well to decantation. Essentially, bold red wines that are rich with tannins work best. The decanting process helps reduce the drying effects of the tannins.

Can I hyperdecant white wine?

Yes. Although, white wines are aged for shorter periods, and as such, decanting seems to be less necessary.

There is benefit to hyperdecanting a chilled white wine. Blending it will help warm it up, especially true if using a Vitamix. This is handy if you need to serve the wine immediately, as cold wine doesn’t allow for maximum aromatics.

Does bottle age matter?

There is some thought that more mature wines need less decanting as mature wines will lose their flavor as they are exposed to the breathing process. Your mileage may vary.

As for my experiment, I used a Vitamix, which is anything but delicate. So, typical bottle age rules did not apply.

Besides, we are livening up a two buck chuck, not a jeroboam of 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild.

What is two buck chuck?

The term was made famous due to Trader Joe’s selling of Charles Shaw wine for two dollars. Two buck chuck was a revelatory sensation for wine drinkers, brown baggers, college kids, and everything in between over the last 15 years. Thus, the low cost of entry makes it perfect for an experiment in hyperdecanting.

Despite the exercise in marketing over how the two buck price tag came about, Fred Franzia, creator of old school boxed wine, purchased the Charles Shaw label and drove a bargain product built for the bourgeois.

Why is two buck chuck so cheap?

In general, it’s because vineyards and wineries need to sell off their surplus without diluting their main brands (see Pacific Peak). So, some good value can sometimes be derived in bargain-priced wine. This was exactly the case with the 2002 Charles Shaw Shiraz.

For the experiment, I went with another bargain-priced wine, the Pacific Peak Cabernet Sauvignon ($2.57/bottle). Who owns Pacific Peak? I couldn’t find the answer, even after diving into what I call Search Purgatory, or, page 4 of Google.

Can I use an expensive vintage wine?

Sure. However, the thought is that young wines blossom from aeration, where as premium, old vintage wines don’t need the same treatment. That being said, it’s probably best to start with a cheap red wine and work your way up.

As a reminder, the goal of the experiment is to make your two buck chuck pass muster during your wine tasting. If you can convince your friends that you are serving a 90-point wine due to hyperdecanting, then you can save yourself some serious coin. Even professionals can’t always agree with judging the quality of wine.

Why does red wine need to be aerated?

Aeration helps remove undesirable aromas, thus “improving” the taste perception of the wine.

Can you put wine in a blender?

Yes! That is exactly what hyperdecanting is!

What is hyperdecanting?

It’s simply just the process of using a blender to aerate the wine. The main purpose of hyperdecanting is save time. Sure, traditionalists will mock this approach, but if you’re reading, I’m guessing you aren’t one.

Proper decanting steps include keeping the bottle upright for a period of time before decanting or using a light to determine if any sediment is being transferred. We don’t care about those one bit. So set aside your red wine decanter set, pull out your Vitamix, and fire it up.

The process of hyperdecanting wine

1. Plug in the blender
2. Uncork the wine
3. Pour the wine in the blender
4. Pick a high setting
5. Blend for 1-2 minutes
6. Let the froth settle
7. Pour into glasses, goblets, or chalices (the gaudier the better)
8. Drink and enjoy

The two buck chuck is in the blender. Let the hyperdecanting begin.

The two buck chuck is good to go!

Frothy wine

Maximum froth

Less froth

Settling froth

Hyperdecanted Pacific Peak Cabernet Sauvignon vs. Pacific Peak Cabernet Sauvignon from the bottle

The hyperdecanted Pacific Peak Cabernet Sauvignon did in fact taste “better”. Best to try both to be sure.

What won’t hyperdecanting do for a two buck chuck?

First off, it’s not like freeze drying food. You should consume the wine immediately, or shortly thereafter.

It won’t turn a cheap red wine into a good red wine. Let’s face it, you couldn’t slide your hyperdecanted two buck chuck past an actual sommelier. But, there is still plenty of room to impress your friends at your next wine tasting party.

The best two buck chuck is a hyperdecanted two buck chuck – me

May I suggest a fine Pacific Peak Cabernet Sauvignon?

If you want to add a touch of class, you could opt for the Wente Vineyards Charles Wetmore Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 750 mL

For an optimal wine tasting experience

Try a good cheese pairing, say … a rich mahón with some jamón serrano.

As an aside, I’m told that mahón is the “cheddar” of Spain, and, not a bad gift for your cheese of the month club.

Also, if you actually spring for a jeroboam of 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, please please please opt for the Reserva Jamón Ibérico De Bellota. No need to thank me.

* Want to take it up a notch? Try infusing your own vodka

How big is a jeroboam?

A jeroboam is a wine bottle that contains between 4 bottles (3 liters) and 6 bottles (4.5 liters) as it depending on the type of wine.