Interested in making your own wine? Want to try your had at making cheese? Here in San Diego, you need look no further than Curds and Wine, a wine and cheese-making supply shop that friends of ours opened this past November.
Conveniently located on Clairemont Mesa Blvd. just off of the 805, they carry everything you need to get started. They have all kinds of wine kits:
and all of the required wine-making equipment (those red things are corkers):
The also have everything you need to make your own homemade cheese. Rennet and assorted cultures for all types of fresh and aged cheeses are stored in the fridge or freezer and there is plenty of equipment like thermometers, curd knives, cheese molds and books.
In addition to stocking equipment and supplies, Curds and Wine is also set up for people to do wine-making on premises under their guidance and using their equipment.
Soon after they opened, Sherry got a couple of kits started - an Italian Pinot Grigio and an unoaked Sonoma Chardonnay.
The process is quite simple. First, you stir in a little bentonite, a fining agent which will help achieve a clear wine:
Pour in the concentrated grape juice:
Then you top it up with water, pitch the yeast, cover it, and let the yeast do their thing.
After about a week, the wine is ready to be racked off the sediment and into a secondary fermenter:
After racking, you need to wait until fermentation is complete (usually another 10 days) at which point you'll stir in some stabilizers and another fining agent. Then, once again you wait. Depending upon the kit, the wine is ready to bottle in as little as two weeks or as long as five.
Before bottling, the wine gets run through a filter to clarify it. Filtration is optional, but can really make a wine sparkle.
Then it is time to bottle. They have a fantastic bottle filling machine that makes the process a breeze. Corking is also a snap. We had friends visiting on bottling day, so we were happy to
get them to do most of the work allow them to participate in the wine-making experience.
To finish the bottling process, Curds and Wine has a label printer for creating your own custom look. We went pretty simple with ours, but you can use any image that you like.
With thirty bottles of each, I think we're set for a while...