Technique

Blue-Ribbon Home Winemaking Tips

Tom Petuskey East Brunswick, New Jersey Tom has been making wine since 1981 and has won more than 100 awards in state and national amateur wine competitions. His most recent awards were achieved from the Corrados Annual Home Wine Competition. He won a gold medal for a “méthode champenoise” apple wine made from New Jersey apples and another gold medal for a Chardonnay. These achievements also earned him the title of the James A. Corrado “Amateur Winemaker of the Year” which included an all-expense-paid trip for two to Napa Valley. Tom suggests that aspiring home winemakers follow some simple rules: Find the best fruit available. Tom prefers to use fresh California juice for his white wines; he also obtains premium grapes from a New Jersey vineyard. His award-winning apple wines come from cider purchased at a local orchard. Don’t over-sulfite your wines. Use 25 ppm SO2 at crush only if the grapes are overripe. Use no SO2 in the primary, and then only 12.5 ppm for subsequent rackings. During each racking, first fill the receiving containers with nitrogen gas to