Making & Cutting Merlot & Chocolate Soap

As soon as I found out that you could use wine and beer in soap, I knew it was something I had to try.  I mean, come on.  I’m a case club member at a local winery.  This needed to happen.  So I present to you… Merlot & Chocolate cold process soap!

This is the first recipe I’ve written myself.  I obviously haven’t used the soap yet since it hasn’t completely cured, but I’m very happy with how this turned out!  I’ll share my recipe at the bottom of this post, but first some notes.

When using beer or wine in soap, you will need an extra day to prepare.  Alcoholic beverages need to be boiled then frozen before attempting to mix with lye.  You boil to remove the actual alcohol, as alcohol and lye can overreact.  And you then freeze it because the added sugars can scorch easily as the lye mixture quickly heats.  I brought an entire bottle of merlot to a boil on the stovetop, then reduced the heat and simmered for 15 minutes.  I let the wine cool down to room temperature, poured it in a zip top bag, and froze it overnight.  It should be nice and slushy the next day for soaping.

I should also point out that you want to weigh out your wine after boil and freeze rather than before.  Some of the wine will evaporate during the boil, and you will end up with less wine in your lye mixture than you intended.

When you add your lye to the wine, definitely keep an eye on the temperature.  I didn’t have any problems with overheating, but if you’re concerned, you might keep an ice bath handy.  Your lye and wine solution will smell.  Bad.  I was expecting that.  What I was not expecting was for my lye solution to turn a really murky, gross green color!  I had intended for this soap to turn out a deep merlot red color, especially with the addition of a beatiful merlot colored mica.  But the fragrance oils I chose both contained vanillin, and even though I used a vanillin color stabilizer, I still believe it discolored.  Given that combined with the green lye solution, I ended up with a terra cotta color.  I was hoping the soap color would stand out more from the mica lines and swirl on top, but it’s still very pretty and I do like it a lot.  It’s just not what I intended.

Speaking of fragrance oils, though, I blended two together for a custom scent for this soap.  I used a 3:1 ratio of Merlot Wine and Chocolate Devils Food Cake.  It smells divine!  As you’ll see in the video, my friend Christy showed up halfway through the making, and as soon as she walked in the door she said, “It smells like you’re making brownies in here!”  Nope!  That’s just mah soap!

Click here for the recipe!

This recipe in the linked PDF was formulated specifically for my 10″ silicone soap mold from Brambleberry.  You can easily convert it to other sizes in SoapCalc.  I superfatted at 5%, and the total oil percentages are:

  • 35% Coconut Oil
  • 20% Palm Oil (note that I use organic, sustainably harvested palm)
  • 20% Rice Bran Oil
  • 15% Olive Oil
  • 7% Shea Butter
  • 3% Castor Oil

Fragrance oils and micas used are all from Wholesale Supplies Plus:

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