The harvest and drying
Even in a well-maintained vineyard, no more than 20% of the grapes are suitable for producing Vin Santo. After a careful selection by our most experienced staff, once harvested, the bunches are taken to the appassitoio where they go through a second selection process, to make sure the skin of the grapes has not been damaged during transport.
The chosen bunches are laid out in a single layer, not too close together, on reed mats stacked on several levels and supported by wooden frames. The drying lasts a few months, during which time the grapes are never touched.
Processing the grapes
The grapes are pressed gently in a pneumatic press. The quantity of the must never exceeds 15% of the fresh grapes and it has a high percentage of sugar.
Fermenting the grape juice
After about 2 months, the must is poured into small 50-litre caratelli. They are filled to 9/10 of their volume with 43 litres of must, and 2 litres of ‘mother,’ an old, indigenous yeast, unique to Avignonesi, which thrives in the must’s high sugar content.
Ageing and refining
Immediately after filling, the caratelli are closed, sealed with red wax and not touched for the next ten years. They are opened with great ceremony at the end of this period, usually in May at the end of a waning moon. We then blend the wine from the different caratelli and leave the Vin Santo to sediment before bottling. Refining in bottles takes at least 1 year before the wine is ready for sale.
Bottling and refinement
We refine the new Vin Santo and Occhio di Pernice in bottles for at least 1 year before the wines are put on the market. A wine which goes through such a long, uninterrupted ageing process in oak will feature an oxidised quality when it leaves the caratelli and is beautifully balanced by the high sugar content. This means that it will be able to refine in the bottle for many years without changing character. It also means that it is a wine one can open, recork and keep for a long time without the risk of it going bad or changing in taste.