Frank Dominic Puzio, Winemaker
January 6, 2020
At family gatherings long ago I remain with pleasant memories of joining my grandfather Dominic to his basement wine room to collect his home-made red wine for the family dinner. These childhood memories remain vivid of the cool musty experience of the earthen floor, the old dark wooden barrels and the interesting smell of the wine room. He would carefully pour his ruby-red wine from one of the old barrels into a glass pitcher. Inevitably he would then put a finger over his lips suggesting we share a secret. “Frankie, do you want to taste grandpa’s wine?” And with a predictable nod of approval, he reached for a small glass and briefly opened the tap to retrieve a sample. We each shared a small sip and exchanged nods of approval. I can now reflect that those memorable and endearing times with my grandfather, and my observation of the joy he experienced sharing his home-made wine with his family, would inspire me to attain that same experience all these years’ later. It pleases me that I am now the one making memories for my family.
WineMaker Magazine… “Winemaking is an unending process, starting with the grapes and continuing to evolve once bottled. Wine is a complex chemical mixture that can go to ruin quickly if not managed properly. With all the technology available, and products galore to help you create a wine that would compete with many larger wineries, it is the winemaker’s responsibility to care for and nurture the biological soup that eventually becomes a beverage to be gifted, shared, or simply sipped and enjoyed.”
One of my winemaking publications stated, “Making wine must have been the world’s second oldest profession.” In any case, wine has been made and enjoyed for many centuries, but only since Pasteur’s time in the mid-nineteenth century, has the study of the science of the winemaking been a factor. Today, the small production winemaker can utilize the same science and the same process as with the large commercial wineries. I have gained confidence through experience, that when properly done, and with the procurement of quality fruit, we have an excellent chance to produce a very enjoyable product.
My personal understanding of the winemaking process has evolved greatly over many years. My quest has been to precisely document my experiences and make practical attempts to simplify the process so that I can confidently repeat the steps each year to achieve results I and others truly enjoy. We now have the capability to produce a much better wine and with a more predictable outcome than our home winemaker ancestors. In my experience, once you achieve a wine you personally enjoy, and also if it is confirmed by others, you become motivated to continue. It is my hope that I can be a source of inspiration for others and allow them to experience the many joys of home winemaking.
The procedures I employ are specifically tailored for the equipment I personally use. Since I make wine from fresh grapes, the anticipation of the procurement of equipment and chemicals must be planned for and completed by mid-summer. Once the quality grape is available in the fall, you must not delay, it’s time to stomp!
Frank Dominic Puzio
Bachelor of Science, Chemistry Doctorate, Optometry