Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Curds and Wine - Making Wine and Cheese in San Diego



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.

Homemade Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay

With thirty bottles of each, I think we're set for a while...

8 comments:

  1. Very nice write up, thanks guys! Your labels look great!! So 60 bottles ... 2 months of wine, eh? Maybe you should start another batch soon ;)

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  2. A bottle a day ... means you can refill it that much sooner!

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  3. Wow, what a great resource, this Curds & Wine place! I'm curious: how does the price work out per bottle when you use their equipment & space, ingredients, etc.? I don't think we have anything like Curds & Wine near me, but there is a good local source of ingredients & equipment not far away.

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  4. Hi Mosaica - the price really depends on what kit you use and what other costs you include. The less expensive kits run about $75, so if you have your own equipment and recycle bottles that comes to less than $3 per bottle.

    I believe Curds and Wine charges $100 for winemaking on site, so if you go with that option you would still end up under $6 per bottle for a $75 kit.

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  5. Sounds like Allison and I need to come down to drink some of that...

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  6. Better get here before it is gone! :-)

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  7. Mike --that's a great price for what sounds like a wonderful product. Must get someone local to start doing this. I grew up in Italy drinking wine, but the last 15 years or so I drink it rarely, mostly because it's outside my budget. This is completely reasonable and will fit in my budget. Woo!

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