Wines by Design

We’re in the business of helping you make wine! Whether you’re just starting out, or if you’re already an experienced vintner, we can help. Stop by for some instruction and help with your first batch or stop by for some supplies. We’ll be here!

Quality, without the cost

Wines By Design has been in business since 2006. While some things have changed, our love of quality wine production hasn’t! Whether you enjoy red or white, dry to sweet, we have something for everyone!

Let the wine making begin.

Welcome to Wines By Design!

We are a full service, on-premises wine making facility and wine-making kit supplier, located in Rochester NY. If you’re interested in making your own wine, come on in and we can help! We have hosted families, small groups, wedding parties and corporate team building events.

Or, if you are already an experienced vintner and are simply looking for supplies, we can help with that too. While our primary focus is wine-kits, check in with us, if we don’t have it in stock, we can probably get it for you!

For more detail on how your time will be spent making your very own wine, please see: our process.

A year in review…2015

year in review


Well, THAT went fast! It’s hard to believe that a whole year has gone by since we took over Wines By Design! We just wanted to take a quick moment to look at the past year.

It’s been a busy year and we’re not regretting a thing… OK, maybe ONE or two things… (Like wishing we had a chiropractor appointment set up for the day after Fresh Juice day!)

One of the best parts of this “gig” has been the opportunity to meet all of the wonderful people who share with us a fondness for the fruit of the vine! We’ve met some wonderful folks. It’s been great to make new friends and we enjoy sharing a laugh or two with them.

We’ve introduced a couple of small changes to WBD: this website, our newsletter, and updating our computer and POS system. We have also recently (re)introduced some favorites from the past. Some of you have been requesting “oldies but goodies” from the RJ Spagnols line. Favorites like: Super Tuscan, Russo Grande Eccellente, and a couple of new blends – Winemaker’s Trio (Red and White) are (back) in the house!

We have a couple of ideas for the upcoming year as well. We’ll share more details as they become more solidified. Hint: A lot of them have to do with additional education about wine: more articles on the website, expanding the “class” concept, and/or having some “guests” visit us/write for us. But we’re not close enough to announce anything yet, so please, be patient!

We hope that you’ve found that we haven’t changed TOO much though; like we indicated last year, “If it AIN’T broke, don’t fix it it“!

It’s been some hard work and sometimes, long hours, but we’re (still) pleased that we have this opportunity to continue helping the greater Rochester area make some of their very own delicious wine!

Remember: You can sign up for our newsletter here!

BTW: We’d love to hear from you too! Feel free to stop by and chat. Or, you can use the contact form (above) to drop us a note if you have an idea or question for the website or newsletter!

From all of us at Wines By Design: Happy New Year!

Marty and Cheryl Zess
Dan and Kathy Hartwig

WOTM! – January 2016

WOTM (Wine of the Month)! – January 2016

Introducing a new column for us! It’s our first ever Wine of the Month post!

Our plan is to highlight one of the kits we have to offer each month. We’ll jump around a little, so make sure to check-in throughout the year.

We’ve had a lot of requests for some old favorites, but along with the old, sometimes you need to bring in the new!

So, without further adieu: Winemaker’s Trio (Red) (from RJ Spagnols)

Winemaker's Trio

Winemaker’s Trio has already been quite a hit! A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Zinfandel, this wine has a nicely integrated balance of tannins and acidity. It features an inviting blend of vanilla, red berries, and black cherry on the nose and it combines the sweet flavors of ripe raspberry, chocolate, and cherry on the palate.

This kit is part of the Cellar Classic Winery Series from RJ Spagnols. Red wines in the Cellar Classic Winery Series (18L) are produced by fermenting grape juice on crushed grape skins, seeds and stems. This allows the winemaker to extract deep color, chewy tannins, tantalizing flavors and complex aromas to produce richly structured wines.

We have found that a lot of people have thought this to be drinkable very quickly. But, of course, with patience (and aging) comes even greater wine!

From the RJ Spagnols website:

Category Size Yield Ready Time Oak Body Sweetness
Red 18 L 23 L 6 Weeks 3 3 0

RJ Spagnols

RJ Spagnols

We’ve been asked a lot lately about some of your favorite kits, they may be oldies but they’re definitely goodies: Super Tuscan, Rosso Bravissimo, Rosso Grande Eccellente, to name a few. These kits were from the RJ Spagnols lineup.

As a result, we’re happy to announce that we’re bringing back a few of the RJ Spagnols line for your vinting pleasure! In particular, we’re bringing back a selection of the Cellar Classic Winery Series (18L) kits. We know that some of you have really enjoyed these kits and we’re here to help.

Winemaker's Trio
A few kits in our recent shipment:

Super Tuscan Full-bodied and dry, this classic Italian blend exudes aromatics of farm fresh raspberries supported by subtle hints of vanilla and earthy tones Fermentation on untoasted American oak shavings and GenuWine Winery Grape Skins adds intense tannins to round out the concentrated nose of blackberries and black pepper.
Rosso Grande Eccellente Deep, dark and rich, this assertive wine is bold in all aspects. A delectable bouquet of sweet ripe berries, spices and farm cherries opens up to the palate, stacked with juicy fruit flavors and firmly structured tannins. Fermented on GenuWine Winery Grape Skins and un-toasted American oak, this wine is sure to create waves of excitement.
Winemaker’s Trio (Red) The Winemaker’s Trio is the perfect blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Zinfandel fermented on GenuWine Winery Crushed Grape Skins. This new world style red has a nicely integrated balance of tannins and acidity. It features an inviting blend of vanilla, red berries, and black cherry on the nose and it combines the sweet flavors of ripe raspberry, chocolate, and cherry on the palate.
Winemaker’s Trio (White) This Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscat blend exudes pretty floral aromas with hints of tropical fruit and lychee. The juicy pineapple, mango, peach, and lychee flavors pair well with seafood, BBQ pork, fresh salads, spicy Pad Thai and peach cobbler. If a cheese pairing is preferred, serve Winemaker’s Trio White with your favorite brie or goat cheese.

Note: At this time, we are currently unable to get the Rosso Bravissimo, as it has been discontinued.



Chocolate Salted Caramel Port

We come across some phenomenal custom labels during our travels. They celebrate a special event, a cherished memory, or sometimes, just a fantastic bottle of wine. But whatever they’re sharing, sometimes it’s difficult to get it “just right”. We’d like to spend a little time reviewing our process and share a couple of new ideas for creating labels.

We traditionally print labels that use Avery labels templates:

    • 5164 – 3×2 (4″ x 3 1/3″) format (6 per sheet)
    • 5163 – 5×2 (2″ x 4″) format (10 per sheet)

We print on two types of label. The first type are removable self-adhesive labels, they’re quick and easy to apply. The second type is parchment type paper, which requires use of glue sticks to attach them to the bottles, but they produce great looking labels!


Designing labels (new options!)
    1. We have traditionally used Avery label software to design the labels we produce. You can get it for free at their download site. You can also use the Avery online site, located here. (Note: The online site appears to require the use of Adobe Flash.)
    2. We have recently discovered that you can print Avery labels via templates available in Microsoft Publisher as well. We have had very good luck with them and, in fact, sometimes find the editing tools in Publisher to easier to use than the Avery software. (ex: It’s MUCH easier to create an oval image in Publisher!) Notes on how to find Avery templates in Publisher can be found here.
    3. Maybe saving the best for last, we’re really loving Canva. An online web service, it produces images, posters, labels, infographics, you name it, for free! Simply create a free account (there ARE options to upgrade if you desire), and begin to play! There are HUNDREDS of designs to start from and you can edit to your heart’s content! (Note: Make sure to explore all of the options: Posters, Presentations, More…, there are different options associated within each type.)
      Wine OnWhat’s really cool is that you can tweak to your hearts content. Start with a template that Canva supplies and tweak the colors, size, fonts, whatever! Alternatively, start from scratch and create your own design. Upload an image (or three!) and add some text and/or borders and VIOLA! You are an artist! Be sure to download your creation as an IMAGE (JPG or PNG) file when you’re done. The PDF option won’t work for us (see below).
No matter which tool you use to create your labels, what works best for us is if you bring your image in as a graphic file (although we can deal with the Avery files too). PNG’s work GREAT, JPG’s and GIF’s work as well. What doesn’t work great for us is .DOC, .DOCX and/or .PDF files. Unless the file is the exact size of the label, .DOC and .PDF files won’t resize like you’d like them to.

By the way: All of the labels in this post were created with our new favorite: Canva!


1424 Buffalo Road
Rochester, NY 14624
Contact Us:
Business Hours:
Tue – Fri: 3:30p – 7:30p
Sat: 9:00a – 2:00p
Sun & Mon: CLOSED


Continuing Education

Looking for something to do? Got four nights free? How about joining one of classes, we’ll show you how to make your very own delicious wine!


Why not share your special day with all your guests? Let them take home part of your special day, a bottle of your very own wedding vintage.

A Night at Home

What’s better than a night by the fire, some artisan cheese and a bottle of terrific wine you’ve made yourself?
We heard many great things about you, so we decided to check you out for ourselves.

(BTW: They were right!) DH

We cannot say enough good things about Wines By Design. The quality of the wine is better than most bottles of wine you can buy at the store, plus you get to tell your friends and family you made it on your own! Krista Hudson