Grappa is a unique spirit because it is derived from a solid, raw material: 'vinaccia,' the Italian term for pomace, or the skins and seeds left from table wine production. Vinaccia as a substance is solid, spongy and very delicate.
For many centuries, no distinction was made between distillates obtained from grapes and those obtained from other kinds of fruit. Only in the early eighteenth century, did grappa become a distinct product with its peculiar characteristics.
Today, grappa is made throughout Italy, but there are five main grappa producing regions: the Veneto, Piedmont, Lombardia, Trentino and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Each of these regions offers a different style of grappa. The Veneto carries the biggest share of the production at 40% and this ‘capital’ of grappa is centered in Bassano del Grappa (after which the beverage is named), a picturesque town about 30 miles from Venice.
Three Factors that Determine the Quality of the Grappa:
- The kind of still used in production: pot still (artisanal) or patent still (industrial).
- The style of the distiller.
- The quality of the vinaccia.