Distillation is the exacting art of extracting and concentrating what is found in the raw material,
the vinaccia or grape pomace.
Distillation is the exacting art of extracting and concentrating what is found in the raw material, the vinaccia or grape pomace. The quality of a good grappa depends mainly on the character of the grape pomace itself, which must be completely fresh and unspoilt. To guarantee optimal grape pomace conservation not only while stored, but also when transported, the Berta family has introduced an innovative system of collecting pomace in special 200-kg plastic food containers. The grape pomace coming from every Italian region is maintained fresh and damp thanks to this special conservation method. Indeed, in a hermetic container a natural fermentation process is created, during which sugar transforms into alcohol, generating carbon dioxide.
The oxygen contained inside the containers is discharged through a small air valve on the cover; the lack of oxygen prevents grape pomace from coming into contact with the microorganisms in the air and water that might cause deterioration. It is not surprising, then, that visitors to the Berta Distilleries during the autumn, winter or even spring months, can see, touch and savour the freshness and unsurpassed quality of the grape pomace conserved using this system. Another particular feature of this type of storage is the traceability of the product, guaranteed by a
system that indicates the origin and type of the grape pomace, essential information for a transparent relationship between producers and consumers.
Upon arrving at the distillery, the grape pomace may be fermented, semi-fermented or virgin.
Fermented grape skin is kept in contact with the must, until the latter has become wine. It is ready for distillation immediately after racking, because the sugars in the grape have been completely transformed into alcohol. It is normally obtained by means of vinification of black grapes.
Virgin grape pomace is separated from the must immediately after pressing, before fermentation. The sugars it contains have not yet been transformed into alcohol; it cannot therefore be distilled immediately after racking. It is necessary to conserve it in the containers described above, so that it ferments. Virgin grape pomace is normally obtained from white grapes.
Semi-fermented grape pomace is only partially fermented with the must. It can be distilled immediately, releasing the part of alcohol that has still not been transformed, or it can be conserved until the alcohol fermentation process is complete. This type of grape pomace is obtained from either white or black grapes.