Pomace and grape seeds: reuse at harvest!
Organic farming requires a change of mindset. You choose to go organic only if it is something that reflects your inner nature. Paying attention to each and every detail, complying with rules, regulations and certification guidelines are all key factors. For this reason and more we have embraced the reuse and ‘zero waste’ approach: pomace and seeds from our processes are reused and processed in order to obtain other products. Let’s see how!
Grappa is a world-unique distilled liquor obtained from the distillation of solid raw base ingredients from wine production, pomace, i.e. the grape skins left over after the grapes are pressed. This year we sent our pomace to two different Italian distillers to have our two grappa styles produced: Prosecco and Riserva.
Distillation is the process of separating the volatile components of fermented products through selective boiling. Basically, the fermented product must be heated to allow alcohol vapours to evaporate with the aromas and increase alcohol concentration. If these vapours are cooled, a high-alcohol liquid is obtained.
In order to accomplish this process, three essential elements are required:
• the raw base ingredients to be distilled (pomace in the case of Grappa);
• a master distiller;
• a pot still.
Traditions linked to Grappa
Grappa is the expression of a thousand year old culture and tradition consisting in the extraction of anything good left in winemaking leftovers such as the grape skins. When pomace encounters the skillful hands of a master distiller, it becomes a high quality base ingredient to be enhanced via the production of our national brandy. Grappa is a unique distilled liquor whose Italian origin and fascinating traditions are world famous. Take, for instance, the “resentin”, a ritual that most of us have performed at least once in our lifetime at the end of a large meal. For many people this ritual has become a regular habit, for others a way to taste Grappa by taming its alcohol. The “resentin”, as they call it in the local Trentino language, is a ritual consisting of rising a coffee cup with a dash of Grappa, or better what is left after drinking up the coffee in it, as it is a common belief that coffee will enhance its aromas!
The Veneto region currently hosts a high number of distilleries, most of which are artisanal family run operations where the art of making grappa is mastered thanks to jealously-guarded family secrets and expertise passed on through fully committed generations who keep working hard towards this end. Improved pomace distillation and storage techniques has led to a larger and higher quality offering of made-in-Veneto Grappa. To support this activity, in 1964 the Veneto Grappa Institute was established in Treviso with the aim of enhancing and protecting the uniqueness of our regional Grappa.
The idea of using grape seeds to produce an edible oil came on the scene last year. We were somehow seeking ways to turn into a resource what is seen as a ‘waste product’ by many people, by “distilling” the leftovers from wine processing into a remarkable product which is gaining increasing popularity in the food industry. And we achieved this aim during this year’s harvest, as again our pomace has been reused into organic byproducts. As a matter of fact, we sent around 400 tons of pomace to Villapana distillers in Faenza where the grape seeds will be dried to obtain a food oil rich in nutrients that can be used as a supplement to our daily meals. The discarded products from this process will then be employed in biomass systems and for the production of alcohol. The main nutritional property of grapeseed oil lies in its high content of linoleic acid, the parent compound for the family of omega-6 fatty acids. These acids are not produced by the human body and are essential for all the tissues to work correctly and for the development of the brain. This exceptional byproduct, when made by qualified producers, can be used for cooking or seasoning food. Thanks to its high smoke point grapeseed oil is ideal for frying or when used as a finishing oil on top of salads and fresh cheese.
Grappa may also be a secret ingredient when cooking or if used to enhance cocktails and mixed drinks. Here is an example!