Crushing destemming

Amarone grapes pressing

We are pressing the dried grapes that will become the “Amarone della Valpolicella” and “Recioto della Valpolicella” and with this article I would like to explain what the pressing and destemming of the grapes is!

Crushing and destemming

Dry Corvina grapes for Amarone
Dry grapes for Amarone

The destemming separates the berries from the stalks to facilitate the release of the must and then start them for pressing. Destemming is carried out with a machine with a shaft equipped with a paddle system that rotates inside a perforated cylinder allowing the separation of the stalks by means of centrifugal force. All this takes place in a very delicate way in order not to compromise the quality of the grapes and to avoid the transfer of unwanted substances to the must. The berries are then pressed to obtain the must.

The pressing is the mechanical operation that allows you to extract the juice and pulp from the grapes, once separated from the rapi, giving life to the must which will then be fermented to become wine. A machine called a crusher is used, consisting of a frame on the bottom of which is placed a pair of pressing rollers in food-grade rubber whose rotation gently crushes the berries. A pump then pushes the must into a tank, called a fermentino,

The crusher-destemmer is the machine that carries out both operations: under it there is a pump that pushes the must into a tank, not a normal tank but a fermenter. That is, a steel tank, thermoconditioned in order to keep the temperature always constant, equipped with a pump for pumping over and an extractor to push the pomace out at the end of fermentation. I’ll talk about vinification in a futer article!

Amarone crushing and destemming

The pressing and vinification of the grapes destined to produce wines capable of claiming DOCG “Amarone della Valpolicella” and “Recioto della Valpolicella” was already possible from November the 16,  following the acceptance by the Region of the advance application presented by the Consorzio tutela vini Valpolicella.

However, we decided to leave the grapes (Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Oseleta and Negrara) withering for about another two months and the reason is simple: the longer we wait, the less must we will get but this must will be much more concentrated (simplifying it means more color, more aroma and more structure). Read the article on appassimento for a more detailed explanation!

Amarone 2016
Amarone 2016

The pressing is only the first step: the must must then ferment (alcoholic and malolactic) and subsequently refine in steel and wooden barrels. We could taste Amarone only in 4-5 years! In the photo above you can see Tommaso moving the boxes with the dried grapes to bring them to the crusher-destemmer.

But now we can taste an excellent bottle of Amarone 2016! 🙂

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