Get ready for summer with red, white, and blue! Start a quick, easy-drinking red and white wine kit -- we have several selections available. Next, gear up and make your own blue cheese at home, supplies are on sale this month! Then, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Summer is at it's best, pop open a bottle of your homemade wines at a neighborhood cookout and show off your homemade mozzarella in a fresh caprese salad. Life is good, and you made it that way!
Several Curds and Wine customers won medals and other awards at the 2011 San Diego county fair Homemade Wines contest! Special congratulations to Damon Lopez, who won a Gold medal and Best of Show with his Winexpert Pacifica White limited edition wine kit! We have a complete list of Curds and Wine customer award winners on a special page on our website. Cheers to you all!
Blue cheese is pretty straightforward to set up, the most difficult part is waiting for it to mature. Below is a basic blue cheese recipe to make a nice creamy, funky blue to serve on your summer salads or burgers. Start now, this cheese needs to age 5 to 8 weeks before it's ready!
Heat the milk to 86° F, then add the mesophilic culture and P. roqueforti. Let dissolve for about a minute, then stir in. Put the lid on the pot and hold for about 45 minutes. Add rennet diluted in water and combine with slow up-and-down motion, do not stir vigorously, then stop the motion of the milk to allow the curd to set. Cover the pot and hold for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until a clean break is achieved.
Cut the curd into 1/2" cubes and rest for 10 minutes. Slowly, gently work the salt into the curds, then ladle into your molds. The curd will be very soft and delicate, handle gently! You can use a variety of molds to see how the different shapes ripen differently.
Fill your molds to the top, using about half or 2/3 of the curds. Let curds drain for 2 hours, then ladle the rest of the curds into the top of the molds and let drain another 2-4 hours. Flip each cheese and place back in molds to drain overnight in a warm room.
The next day generously salt the outside of each cheese and place back into the mold to air dry. Flip and salt the cheeses the following day as well and air dry in their molds overnight again. The day after that (3 days after making your cheese) pierce each cheese with a skewer several times; this will allow air to penetrate the interior of the cheese so the blue mold can grow and make veins throughout the cheeses.
Move the cheeses to a ripening box on a draining mat into a cheese cave or locker set to 50° F with 80% humidity. Flip the cheeses every day, monitoring humidity in the box; drain any excess moisture that accumulates in the box. You might need to scrub the surface of the cheeses with a brine solution if a heavy mold layer develops, and after 4 weeks you can pierce your cheese again to increase veining in the cheese. This is where cheesemaking becomes more of an art, and you will gain experience after making this cheese several times to determine how to treat your cheese to ripen it to perfection.
Blue cheese takes about 5-8 weeks to fully ripen, depending on cheese cave conditions and the size of the wheel. Making several wheels will allow you to sample your cheese at various stages of ripening to determine optimal aging time.
Our inventory of P. roqueforti is approaching its expiration date, so we're selling it to you below cost. Normally $33.95, get your blue cheese mold cultures now for $16.97, while supplies last!
Additional discounts do not apply to this special sale.
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 cheeses 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.
The fee for this class is $50 per person, and class size is limited to 12 participants. Sign up and purchase tickets for this class here:
Sunday July 17th 6:30 - 9 pm
This class sells out fast! If you would like to check for an opening or to be put on the waiting list for this class, call the shop or email us.
The Selection Estate Series is Winexpert's ultra-premium brand. These kits feature the most sought-after varietals and styles from the world's most prestigious vineyards. The Small Lots program features grapes from micro-vineyeards that showcase the unique terroir and potential of their fruit. Location, soil, weather, air quality, sunlight and growing techniques -- they all affect the character and quality of the grapes, and Winexpert's Small Lots are the peak expression of that quality. These kits are a Limited Release and only available while quantities last. Read more about Small Lots Three Continents Meritage Red and Meritage white on our website. We only have a few left in stock, both are currently available for $169.95. With each purchase of these Small Lots wine kits, you will receive a free Wine Lover's wine tote, an insulated 2-compartment wine tote complete with corkscrew. Contact us to check on availability of these outstanding, potential award-winning kits!
Winexpert has announced their Fall 2011 Limited Edition "Speciale" dessert wine kit releases as well as a Gamay Nouveau wine kit. These are exceptional kits of high quality produced in limited amounts. We will be taking pre-orders for these kits at the shop, if you are interested in signing up for one please call or email us. Preorders must be in to Curds and Wine by Sunday July 24, 2011; wine kits will be available around September, we will email you when they arrive. Payment will be due on pick up.
More details about these limited editions can be found here.
Making wine at Curds and Wine is an even better value with our Vintner's Value Program! For every 4 vintning fees you purchase, you get a 5th vintning on site for free! All customers are retroactively entered into the program, pick up your Vintner's Value Card at your next visit.
We will help you get some fresh grapes for your home winemaking this harvest season. We will be a pick-up point for fresh grapes from West Coast Grapes, please sign up on their website for their email to get a list of grape varietal availability and pricing. Grapes will be purchased directly through West Coast Grapes, we will be a pick-up point only, no sales on site for these grapes!
We will also be a pick-up site for fresh grapes from Lambert Bridge Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California. If you are interested in pricing and availability for these grapes, please email us. We will contact everyone with a list of pricing and availability as soon as it is released, the grower will be paid directly and again we will be a pick-up point only.
We will have a crusher/destemmer available to run your grapes through for a $25 processing fee for up to 500 lbs, another $10 fee for every additional 500 lbs. We will also of course have all of your harvest supplies available a well as equipment rental, such as must pumps and presses.
We also plan to assemble a list of local growers with grapes available, purchasing of grapes will be directly through the growers. Please email us if you are interested in this list, or if you have grapes to sell.
Please remember, you are responsible for transportation of your grapes to your house! We will not be doing any winemaking on site with fresh grapes, as there are too many variables to be dealt with for this type of winemaking. Harvest season typically begins as early as September and can go as late as November some years; the grapes are ready when they are ready, and you need to be prepared to get them when they arrive. We will not store the grapes, they will start spontaneously fermenting if you do not pick them up the day they arrive. Just a few things to be prepared for when dealing with fresh grapes in winemaking!
We will also have Basic Winemaking from Fresh Grape classes starting in early August, as well as a special Hands-on course limited to 8 people.
The Basic Winemaking course will cost $100/person for the series of 3 classes, and will tentatively have the following schedule and outline:
Class #1, Sun Aug 7th 6:30 - 9 pm: Harvest Preparation and Starting Fermentation
Class #2, Sun Aug 21st 6:30 - 9 pm: Primary and Secondary Fermentations
Class #3, Sun Oct 2nd 6:30 - 9 pm: Aging, Bottling and More Aging
The Hands-on Course will have 5 classes total and will cost $275/person for the series of classes; fresh grapes must be purchased separately directly from the grower. The tentative outline and schedule is as follows:
Class One: Preparation for harvest and fermentation - Sunday August 14th 6:30 - 9 pm at Curds and Wine
Class Two: Preharvest vineyard visit and picnic - August 27 -28 Saturday or Sunday at Live Oak Vineyard in Fallbrook
Class Three: Harvest and picnic at Live Oak Vineyard in Fallbrook - TBD; the grapes are ready when the grapes are ready, but we will try to schedule it on a weekend morning (6 am!)
Class Four: Primary and secondary fermentations/Pressing demonstration - September Sunday evening 6:30 - 9 pm at Curds and Wine, TBD depending on harvest date and fermentation progression
Class Five: Aging and bottling and more aging - Sunday October 9th 6:30 - 9 pm at Curds and Wine
If you are interested in the Basic Winemaking from Fresh Grapes seminars or the Hands-on Intensive Fresh Grape Winemaking group, please email us so we can get in touch with you with the final dates and details.