At family gatherings long ago I remain with fond memories of joining my grandfather Dominic to his basement wine room. I recall the cool musty experience, the old dark wine-stained barrels and the interesting and consistent smell of his wine room. In preparation for a family dinner he would carefully pour his ruby-red homemade wine from one of his barrels into a large ceramic pitcher. Inevitably he would then put a finger over his lips suggesting we share a secret. “Frankie, do you want a taste of grandpa’s wine?” And with a predictable nod of approval he reached for a small glass, carefully opened the tap on a barrel and poured us a small sample. We shared a sip and always exchanged mutual smiles 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 very own homemade wine with his family. It pleases me that I am now the one making memories for my family, my friends, and that may now include you.
Over the last 20+ years, I have refined my wine making skills through the study of advanced enology literature, attending educational opportunities at national symposiums and from valuable hands-on lessons learned from yearly wine making.
The historic wine making principles that our ancestors employed, persist to this day; however modern chemistry, more efficient equipment, sterilization compliance, barrel aging at optimum temperature/humidity controls, and the ability to reproduce successful techniques allow us to confidently produce wines that can rival the best of the best. Often life tends to return us to our past interests, and in my case, it has allowed me resurrect skills learned from my undergraduate degree in chemistry.
In more recent years, my experience grew when we formed an informal winemaking COOPerative to include numerous friends beyond my family. Its success was fully beyond expectation and requests for membership quickly outgrew its original intent . Our wines received acclaim by all involved including many notable critics in the wine industry. Encouragement from many to bring our popular COOP concept to the commercial marketplace became too hard to resist and has inspired the birth of a new winery for Cape Cod. Our COOP is the foundation of First Crush Winery and is providing an opportunity for many to experience the joys associated with making their own wine.
Frank D. Puzio, Winemaker