TOUR OF THE WINERY
In this section we would like to offer a virtual tour of our winery, with a short explanation of the vinification method and sparkling process used in our company.
The grapes, picked only by hand, are transported in bins (large cases in plastic materials) having a capacity of about 300 kg. There are 2 reasons to use them. The first is that in this way there are not large volumes of grapes which may get squashed, get warm and start unwanted fermentation during transportation before getting to the winery (in a traditional trailer there is room for 3,000 up to 10,000 kg of grapes, just imagine the pressure exerted on the grapes at the bottom!).
The second reason is strictly practical: bins can be easily stacked while their content waits to be processed.
By using a forklift truck, bins are emptied inside a hopper with conveyer belt which takes the grapes to a destemmer. The grapes without their stalk are then sent to the presses by using a pump.
The presses are pneumatic: they have a sort of “balloon” inside which, expanding due to compressed air, gently squash the grapes against the inner wall of the press, thus juicing them.
The must which is thus obtained is placed in large steel tanks where primary fermentation begins.
Fermentation lasts about 2 weeks, the temperature is constantly checked and kept at about 18 °C.
Once fermentation is over, you obtain a still wine which is the basis for the following process. The wine is filtered and kept in tanks at a controlled temperature of 10 °C for a perfect preservation.
The sparkling process is the working which makes it possible to obtain sparkling wine starting from the basic still wine obtained from the previous vinification.
In order to obtain a product which is always fresh, this operation is performed several times and in different moments during the year.
Special chambers called “autoclaves” are used. These chambers are different from tanks because they are built to resist to high pressure. Moreover, they are equipped with “agitators” whose function is to continuously stir the wine inside.
The basic wine is placed inside the autoclaves together with selected yeasts. Thus, a second fermentation, very similar to vinification, starts The only difference is that the carbon dioxide, which is naturally produced by the yeasts during the transformation of sugars into alcohol, is now trapped inside the chamber and creates bubbles.
It is of fundamental importance that this phase takes place slowly, because the slower the fermentation, the smaller and “creamier” the bubbles of the future sparkling wine will be.
Every day the quantity of transformed sugars is analyzed and, if according to this, the fermentation is too fast, the temperature is lowered.
This process lasts about 2 months and the temperature varies depending on the behaviour of the yeasts. At the beginning it is about 18 °C and it finishes at a temperature between 13 and 16°C.
At the end of the fermentation the yeasts are separated through centrifugation and the product is ready to be bottled.
After second fermentation, the wine is ready to be bottled.
From the autoclave it goes to the bottling machine through a very fine filter which separates the last possible impurities.
In order for the sparkling wine not to lose its bubbles, bottling takes place at a very low temperature (-3°C), moreover, before the filling, the isobaric bottling machine brings the bottle at the same pressure that there is inside the autoclave, so that the wine does not lose the precious bubbles it has previously acquired.
After bottling, the wine is left to rest in piles for at least 2 months to recover from the “stress” it has undergone. So it can be at its best when it leaves the winery.