Making Winners in 2018

It's time to start thinking about entering your wines in competitions!  Several competitions are coming up in the next few months, including the San Diego County Fair Homemade Wine Competition, Orange County Fair Homemade Wine contest, and the prestigious Winemaker Magazine Amateur Wine Competition (see more info below).  We will ship your entries to Winemaker competition - please bring in soon as we try to send when there is decent weather between here and Vermont!  Stay tuned for more information on other upcoming contests.
Taste and tweak your wines now - check clarity, aroma, and flavor.  You can still make adjustments even if you have already bottled your wine, though it does mean uncorking and rebottling again after adjustment.  But, we've been there and done that, and it is always worth the extra effort to turn your wine into a real winner!
Now available at Curds and Wine -- Flashgum R Liquide, a 25% gum arabic preparation which offers both colloidal protection and the percep­tion of sweet and soft characters on the palate. Gum arabic products can help reduce the risk of colloidal deposits in the bottle in wines bottled without filtration. Natural polysaccharides reduce astringency and increase feelings of volume and fullness in the mouth. Flashgum R Liquide can provide color protection in rosé and fruit wines.  In "Award-Winning Red Winemakers Roundtable" article in Winemaker magazine, Rex Johnson noted gum arabic is a key ingredient in his award-winning wines, and anyone that has scanned the winners list from past Winemaker Magazine International Amateur Wine Competitions will see his name listed many times - frequently as Winemaker of the Year!  It is also a favorite additive of winemaking guru Daniel Pambianchi for perfecting finished wines.  Just a few drops per gallon can make quite a difference - get yours at Curds and Wine to try out on your own homemade wines!
Happy Holidays 2018 December
Eight Year Anniversary! November
Fresh Grape Delivery by West Coast Grapes Saturday October 20th October
Harvest 2018 September
Winexpert Limited Release Bourbon Barrel Zin-Cab August
Cheers to Sunshine, Wine, and Cheese July
New Online Calendar for Scheduling Winemaking on Site June
Special Limited Release Summer Wines May
Label Design by Noontime Labels April
Enter Your Homemade Wines for Competition March
Share Your Love of Wine February
Making Winners in 2018 January

Winemaker Magazine International Amateur Wine Competition

2018_Wine_Competition_LogoEnter your best homemade wines in the world's largest competition for hobby winemakers! Year after year the WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition is the largest of its kind in the world. Entries were received from all 50 American states, 6 Canadian provinces and 7 countries represented for the 2017 competition resulting in a total of 2,497 wines entered.

Send in your best wines by March 16, 2018 to get valuable feedback from our experienced judges and see how your wines stack up against your fellow winemakers - Curds and Wine will be shipping entries through February 2018 for anyone in the San Diego area entering the competition.  Bring your entries ready for submission with all paperwork and payments to Curds and Wine before Sunday February 18, 2018.  All entrants will receive their judging notes back. And you might even win a medal or two! Entry guidelines and forms can be found in WineMaker magazine or online here.

We encourage you to enter this prestigious competition, and attend the Awards dinner!  Remember, awards dinner tickets are separate from conference registration.  You can also purchase awards dinner tickets even if you are not attending the conference - sign up here!


Winemaker Magazine 2018 Conference in SAN DIEGO!  May 17 - 20, 2018

Save the date for the annual WineMaker Conference located in beautiful San Diego, California - May 17-20, 2018. Curds and Wine is a proud sponsor of the conference for 2018!  

Full Conference registration includes:
  • Admission to the conference's full schedule of seminars 
  • Two Continental Breakfasts 
  • Two Lunches with Keynote Addresses 
  • Admission to Friday Night Wine Tasting Party 
  • Admission to Sponsor Exhibits 
  • Conference Welcome Bag with Binder Containing Seminar Presentations 
  • One Year (6 issues) Subscription/Renewal to WineMaker magazine
Early bird registration is now open online here -- register early to save $100 off the regular price and secure your spot at what should be another sold-out event.  Remember, awards dinner tickets are separate from your conference registration.  You can also purchase awards dinner tickets without attending the conference - sign up here Let us know if you are attending the conference and we will give you a FREE Curds and Wine t-shirt AND a wine glass lanyard!

The San Diego conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza San Diego. Make online reservations here at a special discounted WineMaker Magazine attendee rate using code "WMC" or "Winemaker Conference" if calling in.  

Conference details are available online here.  Several bootcamps are available Thursday May 17th and Sunday May 20.  If you have a vineyard we highly recommend Wes Hagen's Backyard Grape Growing Boot Camp

WM 2018 SD conference logo


Cheesemaking Fundamentals Classes at Curds and Wine

Cheese class photo group

Join us at Curds and Wine to learn how easy and rewarding it is to make your own cheeses at home! At this class you will learn the fundamental processes behind fresh cheesemaking as well as the techniques for making pressed cheeses and aged cheeses such as cheddar, gouda, and camembert. We will make fromage blanc, ricotta, and queso fresco, and demonstrate the processes involved in making feta, swiss-style cheeses and mold-ripened cheeses such as camembert/brie-style and blue cheeses. We will have samples of the various styles of cheeses you can make at home from Venissimo, as well as other refreshments. Finally, you will receive a packet with a recipe booklet to make the cheeses from the class as well as basic supplies to get you started with your cheesemaking. You will also receive a 10% discount on any purchase in the shop following the class.

Class size is limited to 18 participants. Ticket holders ONLY admitted to class.


Purchase tickets $75/person at the shop or online:

Saturday January 13, 2018 from 1 - 4 pm

Saturday January 20, 2018 from 1 - 4 pm


*A $30 cancellation fee will be charged if you cancel your ticket


Free Winemaking Demonstration Saturday February 3, 2018 at 1 pm

Starting wine kit with grapes

Join us to see just how easy it is to make your own wine, at home or on site at Curds and Wine! We will go through all of the basic steps of making wine from kits, from start to bottle. This will be an interactive demonstration, you will have an opportunity to take part in winemaking steps hands-on. This demonstration will take about 2 hours, and then you can start your own wine!


Please RSVP for this demonstration online here


Winexpert 2018 Release Limited Edition Wine Kits

Winexpert LE17 (released in 2018) collection is a welcome showcase of popular varietals and unique blends. This vintage collection offers something to appeal to every wine lover. Fruit driven, spicy, floral or herbaceous; whatever your preference, these wines will awaken your palate.

Petit Ruby Cabernet - Riverland, Australia (January 2018)  $159.95
In the Lower Murray oasis of south Australia you will find the Riverland. Spanning across Victoria and New South Wales, and basking in the continental climate, bountiful vineyards ripen during the sunny dry days of the season, while the Murray River winds through this unofficial “super zone” providing much needed irrigation. A true gem, Petit Ruby Cabernet is a blend of Petit Verdot and Ruby Cabernet. The Ruby Cabernet takes the best qualities of its parents, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan, creating a structured, robust wine with soft tannins, while the Petit Verdot brings intriguing flavors of dark berries and vanilla. Elegant fruit flavors of currant, juicy plum and dark berries complemented by notes of spicy ground black pepper with hints of herb and vanilla, make this medium-full bodied wine a delight to enjoy with grilled meats. Try it with succulent rib eye steak for a wonderful weekend treat, or barbecue burgers for an equally delicious pairing. Having an Italian night and want to switch up the wine? Petit Ruby Cabernet is delicious with classics like meat lover’s pizza and spaghetti Bolognese.

Chardonnay Chenin Blanc - Rawsonville, South Africa (January 2018)  $153.95
Permeating the white wine world, Chardonnay is refreshing to layer with lesser known varietals like Chenin Blanc, South Africa’s signature white. Grapes from the Rawsonville region, a small picturesque wine growing and farming community on the eastern flanks of the Du Toitskloof Mountains in the Western Cape province, make up this blend. The Mediterranean climate brings cool rainy winters and warm dry summers to the vineyards creating a fruit driven white wine with a high but pleasant natural acidity. The thin-skinned grapes soak in rays of sunshine to ripen and are carefully picked at just the right time to leave a crisp and bright juice. Carrying distinct cultivar characteristics, tropical fruit aromas marry with baked apple citrus zest and juicy peach. On the palate, the buttery complexity of Chardonnay is complemented by Chenin Blanc's tart acidity to make a beautifully balanced wine. Delicious to sip on its own or to enjoy with food, this is a crowd-pleasing and unique addition to any cellar. Enjoy with a variety of seafood dishes like grilled shellfish or salmon fish cakes. If feeling decadent, try chicken poached in a butter sauce, as the wine’s bright acidity and fruity character will complement the richness of the sauce wonderfully.

Merlot - Hawke's Bay, New Zealand (February 2018)  $159.95
Hawke’s Bay is the oldest wine producing region in New Zealand. The diverse volcanic earth varies between gravel, sand and clay offering an ideal environment for the vineyards flooding the hillsides and banks along the five rivers winding through the landscape. Hawke’s Bay’s beautiful climate offers lots of sunshine and pleasant conditions year round. The result is a region that produces some of the finest wines in the country and Merlot contributes to this well-earned reputation. This popular and enduring varietal produces a soft yet rich and fruity juice that is pleasing to the palate. The Merlot grapes thrive in a long growing season, with flavors concentrating as the fruit develops. Ripe fruit with spice and soft tannins take precedence in this Merlot. The lingering finish brings dark oaky spice, as well as hints of mocha and licorice. Treat yourself and enjoy with slow cooked beef and lamb dishes or a gorgeous Ossobuco. Roasted, slightly caramelized tomatoes on crostini drizzled with balsamic reduction is a simple starter that is impeccable with this wine. Looking for a cheese to pair? Try Gouda or smoked cheddar.

Milagro Blanco - La Mancha, Spain (March 2018 )  $153.95
Muscat, Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc are wonderful on their own but sing when blended together. Muscat is fruity and crisp, Verdejo has mineral and citrus notes, and Sauvignon Blanc is herbaceous with pleasing acidity. When married, their unique elements create an off-dry, soft, refreshing, fruit-forward wine with a bright bouquet and a complex finish. Milagro Blanco carries notes of passion fruit and white flower on the nose, and is supported by juicy melon, peach, fresh lime and grass with a hint of honey on the palate. La Mancha is steeped in history and is believed to have been producing wine since the Roman empire. A challenging place to grow grapes, the region is found in hot and dry central Spain, south east of Madrid where the rivers provide much needed water. Hard working vines planted in water - absorbing limestone and chalk subsoil produce grapes that boast concentrated flavors that burst on the palate. The fruity and floral character of this white wine pairs exquisitely with moderately spiced Szechuan, Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Lighter meats like chicken and white fish with green salad dressed in light vinaigrette are natural matches for a fresh, tantalizing meal.

Negroamaro with grape skins - Apulia, Italy (April 2018)  $184.95
Apulia (or Puglia in native Italian) - delightful wine, delicious food and stunning sun-soaked landscapes The Mediterranean Sea graces the region’s vineyards with cooling winds maintaining ideal temperatures for growing. Sunny, warm and dry with some of the most fertile soil in Italy, the area offers the perfect environment for ripening grapes as well as olive trees and wheat fields that coexist with vineyards in this agricultural centre. Negroamaro is richly jewel hued, full bodied and a classic varietal in Apulia. Mild hints of wood and spice on the nose play with fruity notes for a complex aroma. On the palate, ripe berry is complemented by ground baking spice and silky tannins with a long finish. Negroamaro is hearty, versatile and evokes feelings of the beauty of its home. This wine couples well with many cuisines, but Italian, of course, is a flawless pairing. Choose an antipasto with spicy elements like salami or pepper marinated vegetable s like eggplant. A simple but delicious peperonata can be enjoyed with crusty bread or as a side to roasted and grilled meat.

As preorders arrive we will contact you; if you did not preorder any of these kits but are interested, contact us to check availability.


RJ Spagnols 2018 Restricted Quantity Wine Kits

Each year RJ Spangols RQ wines are released to great anticipation and excitement. Many of the best go on to win awards in winemaking competitions. Restricted Quantities 2018 program brings you four of our finest award-winning wines, released exclusively in The Gold Standard Collection: Australian Shiraz Viognier, Chilean Carménère, Spanish Tempranillo, and German Riesling.

These distinguished wines set a gold standard for elegance, ageability and finesse—a true celebration of excellence in craft winemaking.


Triump - Australian Shiraz/Viognier (January 2018) $164.95:  Australia Shiraz Viognier is stylish yet refined.  It is lush with a tapestry of smooth tannins and succulent dried fruits, vanilla and black pepper.


Yeast: Bourgovin RC 212

Oak: American and Hungarian

GenuWine Winery Grape Skins: Dried

food pairings: Bison burgers, Lamb kebabs, Meat pie, Sharp Cheddar cheese

Prestige - Chilean Carmenere (February 2018) $164.95:  Opulent and rich, Carménère boasts the luscious flavors of red cherries and berries, with hints of spice and leather enhanced with robust tannins.


Yeast: Bourgovin RC 212 

Oak: American 

GenuWine Winery Grape Skins: Crushed

food pairings: Cabbage rolls, Pork or beef tacos, Meatballs, Pepper Jack cheese

Eminence - Spanish Tempranillo (March 2018) $164.95:  Sourced from native Spain, Tempranillo adds panache to any cellar. It skillfully balances fresh berries with savory notes of pepper and smoke.


Yeast: Bourgovin RC 212 

Oak: American and Hungarian 

GenuWine Winery Grape Skins: Dried

food pairings: Pepperoni pizza, Burritos, Grilled flank steak, Manchego cheese

Virtue - German Riesling (April 2018) $154.95: From renowned German vineyards, this Riesling is captivating and complex. Crisp flavors of honey, peach, and lemon finish with a lingering minerality.


Yeast: QA23 

Optional sweetening blend

food pairings: Pad Thai, German sausages, Shrimp stir-fry, Edam cheese


As preorders arrive we will contact you to pick up your kits.  We only get a limited amount of these kits each year - ​contact us to check available quantities if you did not preorder!