March Newsletter: Cider Time!

2nd Mar 2020

Don't wait until summer to start a batch of hard cider - now is a great time to come in and make some on site at Curds and Wine!  The process is quick - start your hard cider in about 10-20 minutes, then bottle it in exactly one week.  Wait at least 3 weeks for the cider to bottle condition and become fizzy, then it's ready to chill and drink - though it will improve with a little more time.  Each batch makes about 60 twelve ounce beer bottles!  See the full list of ciders online here.

You can call or email us to set up an appointment.  Check out our online scheduler to look for openings - you will still need to contact us to book your appointment, the scheduler is for reference only.  It is key with the ciders to return to bottle in exactly one week, any longer and they might not carbonate correctly.


Winemaker Magazine International Amateur Wine Competition

2020-WM-Competition-logo_RevEnter 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. 

Send in your best wines by March 17, 2020 to get valuable feedback from our experienced judges and see how your wines stack up against your fellow winemakers.  All entrants will receive their judging notes, and you might even win a medal or two! Entry guidelines and forms can be found in WineMaker magazine or online here. Please mark Curds and Wine as your U-Vint if you made wine with us, and as your retailer otherwise -- with your help we might win U-Vint of the Year again like we did in 2018!

We encourage you to enter this prestigious competition, and attend the Awards dinner at the 2020 WineMaker Magazine Conference in San Luis Obispo/Paso Robles!  Remember, awards dinner tickets are separate from conference registration - register for the awards dinner here.  You can attend the awards dinner even if you are not attending the conference.

San Diego County Fair Homemade Wine Competition

SD Fair 2020 logoMark your calendars - the San Diego County Fair Homemade Wine awards will be held on Sunday May 3, 2020.  

More key dates:

  • Online entry deadline Friday April 3, 2020
  • Entry drop off Tuesday April 21, 202 from 12 - 7 pm
  • Awards Ceremony Sunday May 3, 2020 from 3 - 5 pm
  • Judging comments mailed by Friday May 15, 2020

Entering the San Diego County Fair Homemade wine competition is a great way to get feedback from seasoned wine judges to help you focus your winemaking - and you might win a medal or ribbon!  The best part is the Awards Ceremony, where all the wines submitted are out for tasting during the ceremony.  Many other home winemakers, including wine educators and wine judges, will be there - a great way to network, learn from others, and just have fun.

Details, entry information and link to entry can be found online here.  We hope to see many of you there!

Orange County Fair Home Wine Competition

OCWineSocietyLogoThe Orange County Wine Society, in conjunction with the OC Fair, has sponsored the OC Fair Home Wine Competition since 1976. This competition is open to all amateur home winemakers in California. It is one of the largest amateur home wine competitions in the USA. The judging is double blind and the scoring is based on a modified UC Davis 20 point scale. To ensure continuity in the valuation and scoring of the wines, they hold judging workshops prior to each year’s competition. 

The winemakers who enter the competition do so not just for the bragging rights of the awards but also to get feedback from the judges. Judges have some discretion. Some wines have faults and some do not. If a judge marks a wine lower for a characteristic that can be corrected, the winemaker can then make an adjustment to his/her wine prior to finishing and bottling. That is probably the most valuable feedback for the competition entrants. 

The competition is held in early June, entries are due in by May 28, 2020. Four Best of Show awards (for Red, White, Fruit and Dessert Wines) are announced the day of the competition with the remaining awards posted the next day. The ribbons (and sometimes medals) are mailed about 4-6 weeks later. Please note - Curds and Wine is NOT a drop off site this year!

More details and online registration can be found here. Good luck everyone!

Winexpert 2020 Limited Edition Wine Kits

LE19 marks the 30th Anniversary of bringing exclusive, premium limited release wines to the home winemaking world. This year's selections were specially chosen for their outstanding varietals and exceptional quality. From the delicate and exotic Pecorino Pinot Grigio from Italy to the full-bodied, robust Red Pacific Quartet, these wines are sure to thrill and delight!


VALENCIA, SPAIN - Valencia, a sunny region located in the heart of Spain's east coast, is where one can find the Tempranillo grape. The Mediterranean climate of mild winters and very warm summers, combined with the gently sloping vineyards and permeable subsoils, creates the perfect growing conditions for this savory grape. Valencia is also home to the famous annual Las Fallas festival which welcomes the arrival of spring with fireworks, pyrotechnics and colourful, giant paper-mache figures. Every day during the festival at 2 pm, the city is filled with the sound of firecrackers, ultimately ending in the extraordinary finale called the Terremoto!

The Tempranillo grape's thick skin gives the wine a deep ruby color and moderate tannins. Medium-bodied and savory, Terremoto Tempranillo has flavors of cherry, dried fig and cedar, with hints of leather and spices. Whether you're celebrating a big occasion like your 30th anniversary, complete with fireworks, or just toasting the end of a workday, this wine is the perfect accompaniment. Pair with braised meats, chorizo sausage or roasted eggplant.




The Pecorino grapes are sourced from Abruzzo, Italy which is a mountainous region located along the Adriatic Sea. It is also home to the highest point on mainland Italy, Corno Grande. Veneto is located in northeast Italy and is the source region for the Pinot Grigio. The influence of the nearby Alps provides a cooler microclimate where fresh, crisp white wines flourish.

Pinot Grigio was originally established as Pinot Gris in Burgundy and although most famous in Alsace, France, made its way to Switzerland in the 1300s and eventually to Northern Italy where Pinot Grigio was born. Today it is Italy's most popular grape. Pecorino has a bit of a different history; thought to be extinct in the mid-20th century, it was rediscovered in the 1980s by a local producer who then took cuttings and propagated them resulting in this grape's resurgence. Blending Pinot Grigio, the most popular Italian white wine grape, with the lesser-known Pecorino grape results in a delicate white wine with high acidity, lemon, lime and honeysuckle flavors, and an elegant floral aroma. Pair with steamed mussels, seafood risotto and vegetarian spring rolls.




The Pacific Rim, encompassed by North and South America on one side and Australia on the other, has microclimates that match those from all over the world. From blazing sunshine to crisp mountain air, and with soils ranging from sandy loam to stony red clay to nearly pure limestone and everything in between, the range and variety provide the perfect terroir for almost any grape, especially those found in this charismatic red blend. PACIFIC QUARTET RED For our 30th anniversary, we've decided to put a spin on one of Winexpert's most popular Limited Releases ever, introducing Pacific Quartet Red! We've selected the most revered red varietals from the same regions that are featured in Pacific Quartet. Blending California Cab, Chilean Malbec, Australian Shiraz and Washington Merlot created the most delectable, full-bodied wine. The combination results in a well-structured, tannic wine with a bouquet of blackberry and cherry. The palate offers rich berry overtones w ith hints of currant and dark chocolate and a toasty oak finish. Pair with rich meat and bean stews, roasted leg of lamb with rosemary or aged cheddar.


YOLO WHITE (MARCH 2020) $159.95

YOLO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA - YOLO is commonly known as an acronym for 'You Only Live Once', however, the origin of the name Yolo County is believed to come from Native American descent. This county is situated at the northernmost region within the Central Valley in California. Because of the deep and fertile soils found here, Yolo County is largely known for its agriculture, mainly its tomato production. The marine effects from the nearby Sacramento River provide cooler temperatures and the fog that rolls in and out of the vineyards daily, combined with the coastal winds, make for ideal grape growing conditions. The climate contributes to the concentration of aromatic compounds found in the wines produced in this region. YOLO WHITE Fruit-forward and slightly off-dry, the palate on this wine is inviting and well-balanced. The Chardonnay contributes vibrant green apple and melon flavors. The floral aromatics come from the Muscat, and the Chenin Blanc completes the wine with citrus flavors and high acidity. Pair with mild curry dishes, baked ham, Brie and Camembert.


CAPE BLEND (APRIL 2020) $189.95

WORCESTER, SOUTH AFRICA - The Worcester region in South Africa is located approximately 100 kms from Cape Town, in the Breede River Valley. It is surrounded by majestic mountain ranges and the Breede River runs through the valley on its way to the Indian Ocean. The hot climate and the protection provided by the mountains combine to provide perfect conditions for high-quality, fruitful wines. CAPE BLEND This exciting combination of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage and Grenache creates a wine that is truly outstanding and worthy of being a part of the 30th anniversary of LE! The dark berry flavours from the Cabernet Sauvignon balance nicely with the forward spiciness from the Shiraz. Pinotage, which is a grape varietal that is unique to South Africa, provides strong tannins and smoky, earthy characteristics while the Grenache contributes aromas of leather and licorice. Together these elements offer a complex, full-bodied wine that pairs well with roasted red meats seasoned with marinades or savory herbs and aged hard cheeses.


*Alcohol level based on following Winexpert winemaking instructions.

Contact us to check availability and reserve yours! If you preordered kits we will contact you when they arrive in stock.

WE LE 2019

Vineyard Consultant - The Farm Smith, Christina Smith

Christina Smith FarmSmithNeed help with your vineyard? Contact Christina, the Farm Smith - she has very reasonable rates, with great experience and knowledge!  She has been highly recommended by several of our customers that she has helped with their vineyards.  Contact her directly to get an estimate for her services.