Grappa 

Grappa can only be produced in Italy and is protected by Italian law. Pomace brandy is produced all over the world, in every wine region. Known as MARC in France. Grappa is available in different styles including flavoured (herbs/spices) and is made using any grape variety. 

Raw Material 

Pomace - by product of the wine industry

  • grape skins left over 

  • pomace gives flavour and colour

  • premium eg. express the grape variety - Muscat and Gewurz.

  • pomace is available in red and white 

  • fresh 

  • no taints 

  • if stored for a pro-longed period of time - high levels of methanol

  • distillers must work closely with winemakers to ensure good quality pomace arrives as quick as possible 

Processing the raw material

 

White grapes 

  • pomace does not contain alcohol 

  • pomace contains juice 

  • the juice and solids contain sugar 

  • dilute the pomace with water 

  • fermentation takes place 

Black grapes 

  • contains alcohol

  • can be distilled straight away

Distillation

  • max 86%abv 

  • both batch and continuous 

  • stills have adaptions due to the high level of solids 

Batch Distillation 

  • premium quality 

  • traditional 

  • bagno maria (bain marie/water bath) 

  • reduces risk of burning 

  • pomace is loaded into perforated baskets or constantly stirred to make sure it does not compress under its own weight 

  • modern alternative is steam injection

  • pomace is loaded onto perforated trays to avoid compaction and steam is injected into the base of still. Steam passes through the pomace extracting all of the volatiles. Further concentration is possible. Cut of heads, heart and tails 

Continous Distillation

  • majoirty of grappa is made using this still, keep up with demand

  • steam injection

  • pomace moves through and out of the first still 

  • pomace stays there long enough for the volatiles to be stripped by the steam

  • alcoholic vapours pass into a rectifier

Maturation

  • typically unaged 

  • pure expression of the grape 

  • premium barrel-aged styles

  • ash and chestnut are common alternatives to oak

  • can be flavoured with herbs and spices

Finishing 

  • permitted by law to add aromatic pant material

  • permitted by law to add 20g/L sugar

  • caramel can be added if the Grappa has been aged for longer than 12m

Styles 

  • Vecchia > min 12m

  • Riserva > min 18m

  • Grape variety > only 2 can appear on label

  • Single variety > min 85%

  • 2 varieties > min 85%

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