"Barrels": remember the difference?

"Barrique"... "Barrel-ageing"... "Barrique cellar"... what feelings do these terms evoke?

They create in the listener's mind, warm images of ancient cellars, where centuries-old barrels defy time in guarding their precious contents and all the more so if the listener is a wine enthusiast.

Indeed, one of the most evocative and fundamental phases in the production of many wines is when they are transferred to a barrel, in which they begin their ageing process. And it is precisely the interaction that the wine has with the wood, during the time they are in contact, that will determine its organoleptic characteristics of flavour, structure, aroma and complexity, its 'personality'.

Historically, when did people start using wood in the ageing of wines?

Throughout winemaking history, wood and terracotta have been the very oldest materials used for storing and transporting wines. The first to discover the benefits of wood in wine production seem to have been the Gauls and then the Romans, who began to consider this material not simply as a transport container but as a tool to be used skilfully to develop the organoleptic qualities of the wines that were placed within it.

Today, thanks to the improvement of toasting techniques in the production of barriques, we obtain woods with highly prized characteristics capable of enhancing the ageing of great red wines as well as whites, prompting producers in more and more cases to increase their barriques in order to age not only part of their production but even in its entirety.

What are the different types of barrels and according to what criteria are producers choosing them for ageing their wines?

In general, wooden 'Barrels' can be classified according to their shape and capacity, the wood used in their construction and the treatment they undergo, the so-called toasting.

In terms of shape and size, a wooden 'Cask' can be classified as Barrique, Tonneaux or Botte Grande. Let us examine the characteristics of each type.

Barrique. One of the most widely used in the world is the Bordeaux Barrique from Bordeaux, France, which has a capacity of 225 litres. Equally widely used is the Barrique from the Burgundy region, the so-called Burgundy Barrique, which has a capacity of 228 litres. The latter differs externally from Bordeaux because it is lower and has a more pronounced belly.

Barrique is characterised by having a greater surface area of wine in contact with the wood than other barrels of greater volume. This characteristic leads to a much more pronounced impact of the wood on the sensory properties of the wine, thanks to a greater oxygenation and release of polyphenols that help soften the tannins, stabilise the colours and give a greater contribution to the aromatic compounds.

Tonneaux. These are larger containers, with a greater capacity ranging from 400 to 800 litres, but with a smaller surface area in contact with the wine, which leads to slower oxygenation of the wine and a less noticeable impact on the wine's aromatic and polyphenolic components than barrels. For these reasons, Tonneaux are widely used by producers for those wines for which the aim is to preserve the primary aromas.

Last, we find the Large Barrels, with capacities normally ranging from 1000 to 5000 litres. This type of barrel has a much more limited influence on the development of the wine due to the greater thickness of the staves and a very light toasting of the wood. When are Large Barrels used? It is usually used where the producer wishes the wine to age very gently while preserving the typical character of the vine and its territorial identity.

Then, as mentioned above, the type of wood used in the construction of the barrel is also important when it comes to assessing wine-wood interaction. French Oak and American Oak are the two most commonly used species. In the case of French wood, this is the most prestigious and is characterised by providing a higher quantity of tannins that contribute elegance to the wine. American oak, on the other hand, has a greater influence on the aromatic composition of the wine, helping it to develop sweeter notes.

The last aspect to be highlighted deals with the so-called Barrel Toasting, i.e., the time the barrel spends on the fire, which not only fixes the curvature of the staves but also modifies the phenolic character of the wood. For example, as a rule, Barriques compared to Tonneaux or Large Barrels have a more pronounced toasting which greatly affects the aroma of the wine and the degree to which they release more or less sweet tannins. Just as a strong roast will produce a much more pronounced transfer of tertiary aromas (vanilla, spices, roasted notes and roasting aromas) than a light roast.

We have tried to explain in a simple way what lies behind the use of a barrel. As you can see, the choice of using a certain type of barrel, made from a certain type of wood, with a certain degree of toasting is not random. Each good oenologist will make his or her own choices according to the characteristics of the wine he or she wants to age, the type of structure he or she wants it to develop (e.g., a high alcohol content, or a good acidity or a certain polyphenolic content), and its capacity for ageing.

Good 'wood' to all!

"Viae": all roads lead to… Imola!

The "Viae" project, created by Cavim and Morini Wines, the firm of the Tenute d'Italia brand, was presented on November 6, 2021, on the occasion of the Baccanale, the traditional Imola festival, in the presence of the mayor of the city of Romagna, Marco Panieri , and of a large audience.

“Viae”’s source of inspiration were the ancient consular roads, fundamental routes during the Roman era, starting from Via Appia in Lazio, Via Cassia, Via Flaminia and of course Via Emilia, which crosses our region. And if in Roman times all roads led to Rome, the center of the empire, now they seem to lead... to Imola.

"A successful joint venture between two companies from Imola, which carry the "Viae "label and the wine of our territory around the world, through Tenute d'Italia", with the aim of creating constant quality over time ", said Maurizio Baldisserri, president of Cavim.


From sparkling Pignoletto DOC to Albana, from Sangiovese Rubicone IGP and Superiore, from still and sparkling Trebbiano to Chardonnay, up to Syrah Lazio and Roma DOC red: sixteen wines for a label that is already a success: "Our greatest im is that of re-evaluating the wine production of our territory ", confirmed Guido Garelli of Morini Vini," we know its quality, history and tradition, and we are convinced that it can bear ever better fruits and results ".

At this link you can see the service that Televallata dedicated to the event.

The service will also be broadcast within the TV program "With the fruits of the earth", which will be broadcast according to the following schedule:

o E'TV Rete7 LCN 10 Sunday 21 November at 12.00

o TELEROMAGNA LCN 14 (in Veneto LCN 99) Sunday 21 November at 9.00 and Thursday 25 November at 22.30

o TR MIA LCN 74 Sunday 21 November at 12.00 and Saturday 27 November at 20.00

o TV HERE LCN 19 Sunday 21 November at 12.00 - Friday 26 November at 22.00

From 22 November 2021, the service will also be available on the website and on the relevant social media profiles, as well as on Vimeo.

(Our) Red Vinification: Ageing and Control

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At the end of malolactic fermentation - or after racking, if you opt not to intervene on acidity - what happens?

At this point the vinification is officially finished, so our wine is ready for the ageing phase, which can last from a few months to several years. Depending on the wine, the ageing process can take place in tanks of inert material - such as steel or cement - which do not give tertiary aromas but rather preserve and enhance the typical scents of the different grape varieties, or in wooden containers of different sizes, toasting and origin.

Just as for white wines, the monitoring carried out by our laboratory - and initiated as early as the harvest - will then continue for the entire stay of the wine in the cellar, and even beyond.

The control system to which all the wines in our cellar are subjected is in fact based on the periodic analysis of samples to verify the state of conservation and development of each batch, and to this is added the constant supervision work carried out by the regional and national institutions.

(Our) Red Vinification: Alcoholic Fermentation and Racking


In general, how long is the fermentation of red wines? 

The times are comparable to those of white wines, so we are talking about 10-12 days.

As always this is intended as a rough indication: each vintage has its own special characteristics and you can never completely exclude the risk of unexpected events such as a difficult start to the fermentation or its arrest.

How is it possible that the fermentations of white and red wines have a similar duration if their results, in terms of alcohol content, can be even very significantly different?

Great question! The answer lies mainly in the temperature: white musts work at lower temperatures, which makes their fermentation processes longer, even where there is less sugar to be worked. On the other hand, the temperature of the red musts is kept at higher levels (around 20°C) and this means that the work of the yeasts is catalyzed, speeding up the process.

What happens at the end of the alcoholic fermentation?

At the end of the fermentation we proceed to the racking, or the complete separation of the must from the marc. The first phase of this procedure involves the extraction of the liquid must from the tank, which is started by simply opening the valve and letting the liquid flow out. Once this is done, the marc is extracted from the tank, and then loaded into the press to recover the fraction of must still retained in it. The use of the press in this specific step is absolutely comparable to the one we have described for pressing the grapes in white vinification

The must thus obtained is then decanted into a new tank and we decide whether or not to subject it to the so-called malolactic fermentation.

(Our) Red Vinification: Fermentation

In the article in which we illustrated the white and red wine-making techniques we also mentioned temperature as an element that can affect the maceration process. Would you confirm that?

Yes, I would definitely confirm that. Temperature control is generally one of the most effective methods through which it is possible to literally steer the different stages of production and keep them monitored without having to resort to invasive interventions. At Tenute d’Italia, however, we do not use different temperature modulations to regulate the maceration process, but we focus on maintaining the perfect conditions for carrying out alcoholic fermentation.

How is the temperature of the fermenting must controlled?

All the tanks we use for fermentation are equipped with a system through which it is possible to regulate the temperature from inside, which during the fermentation phase is strictly kept between 20°C and 22°C. This is another difference with respect to our white vinification which, if we remember, involves much lower temperatures (10°C-15°C) which renderthat long and delicate process necessary for the acclimatisation of the yeasts.

Since the red musts are at a temperature which is higher and perfectly suited for the survival of the yeasts, they can therefore simply be hydrated and inoculated directly.

(Our) Red Vinification: Malolactic Fermentation

What exactly is malolactic fermentation?

Inside the grapes (and consequently in the must) there are three main types of acid - tartaric acid, malic acid and citric acid - as well as numerous other organic acids which are present in smaller quantities.

Malo-lactic fermentation, as can be deduced from its name, involves the malic acid, and specifically aims to degrade it into lactic acid through a fermentation of selected bacteria. The goal is to obtain a softer and rounder wine: lactic acid is in fact considerably less astringent and acidic to the taste than malic acid.

Furthermore, the wine thus obtained is significantly less susceptible to micro-biological changes which use malic acid as a substrate for their development. The choice of subjecting our wine to this procedure or not depends, as always, on the product we want to obtain.

Is malolactic fermentation a process exclusively used for red wines?

At Tenute d’Italia we only subject red wines to malolactic fermentation and, even then, not all of them. As we said, depending on the goal we set ourselves and with the help of laboratory data, each year we select which batches to start this process.

Generally speaking, nothing prevents this procedure from being applied to white wines as well, but personally I would find it a rather risky choice: freshness is one of the pillars of the organoleptic profile of a white wine, and (any) an intervention aimed at attenuating it could seem almost a contradiction.

However, each producer makes his own choices based on his own specific conditions and needs and certainly always with a view to obtaining the best possible product!

(Our) Red Vinification: Remontage (pump-over), Delestage (Rack and Return), Submerged Cap - Part 1

We are still in the company of our production manager Ivan Lentini to talk about the red vinification technique adopted in Tenute d’Italia. In the previous articles we outlined the main differences with the white vinification process, and now we are ready to go into detail on one of these, perhaps the main one, that is the management of the marc. Does the presence of the marc within the must affect the fermentation process? If so, how?

Let's say that the presence of the marc – or pomace - affects the fermentation of the actual sugars only indirectly, however some interventions are necessary to optimize the management of the mass.If the main (objective is to achieve) goal is to facilitate a perfect extraction of the aromatic and colouring substances from the skins, at the same time you will need to be especially careful to anticipate the onset of some potential problems that could seriously affect the success of this process.What we absolutely must avoid is the deterioration of the mass of marc, or to ensure it will not dry out or develop mould or rot.

How can this deterioration occur?

As we said, the marc basically forms a solid mass immersed in a liquid. During alcoholic fermentation, the production of carbon dioxide by the yeasts within the must tends to bring this mass upwards, making it surface. This creates the so-called "cap" or "head", the upper part of which will be exposed to the air, making it vulnerable to the problems mentioned above.

What are the methods you use to preserve the best conditions of the marc?

There are two methods that we use. The first involves the use of the remontage (or pump over) technique, that is, the extraction of a part of the must from the tank, and then to reintroduce it from above, breaking the cap of marc and making it sink. In the early stages, when fermentation is more tumultuous and favours the rapid re-emergence of the marc, this operation is performed up to three or four times a day; as time passes, with the slowing down of fermentation and with an ever greater degradation of the skins, the frequency decreases to only once a day.

This same operation can also be carried out by completely emptying the tank and takes the name delestage (or rack and return).


(Our) Red Vinification: Remontage (pump-over), Delestage (Rack and Return), Submerged Cap - Part 2

[READ THE PREVIOUS ARTICLE: [Our] Red Vinification: Remontage (pump-over), Delestage (Rack and Return), Submerged Cap - Part 1]

(...) The second method is instead called "submerged cap" and differs substantially from the former, totally submerging the marc by completely filling the tank with the fermenting must. In fact, to correctly carry out a remontage, or "pump over", it is essential that the tank is not completely full, so as to allow perfect handling of the must: on the contrary, the "submerged cap" technique involves the complete filling of the tank, so as to allow the marc mass to remain completely immersed in the must without the need to intervene with further processing.

What makes you lean towards one or the other technique?

Again, in this case the determining factors that guide our choice are the variety of grapes processed and the type of wine we intend to obtain. In general, however, we could say that for shorter fermentations, in other words for those wines that will have a lower alcoholic strength, we generally favour the remontage technique, while for longer fermentations we prefer the submerged cap.

The reason lies mainly in the search for a perfect balance between the need to maximise the extraction process - favoured by pumping over - and that of manipulating, therefore stressing, our wine as little as possible.

In any case, both techniques, if correctly performed, are able to produce wines of the highest quality and great aromatic finesse.

[Our] Red Vinification: Harvesting

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After talking about grapesin general, let's move on to the important topic of harvesting: how does the harvest of your red grapes take place? Do you use machinery, or do you opt for the manual method?

Just as for white grapes, the harvesting of red grapes here at Tenute d’Italia is also strictly manual. It is true that mechanized harvesting allows operations to be carried out faster, limiting the risks of delay in the event of sudden bad weather and thus respecting the perfect moment of fruit ripening in a more precise way, but in our opinion, manual harvesting remains absolutely the best choice. Thanks to the experience of our team of harvesters we are in fact able to make an important selection at the time of harvest, bringing to the cellars – thus starting the vinification - only the best grapes, perfectly ripened and without defect.

And after that?

As soon as the grapes are harvested, they are loaded onto special wagons and transported to the winery, where theybegin the vinification process.

So far, the procedure is exactly the same as that followed for white grapes. At what point do the two processing techniques differ?

First of all, in our specific case, while it is possible to use the terms "procedure used for white (or red) grapes" and "white (or red) vinification" as perfect synonyms, we must remember that this equation doesn’t always hold true, since the two winemaking techniques can be applied to any type of grape, regardless of colour.

Having established this necessary premise, the crossroads that distinguish the two procedures is met precisely when the grapes arrive at the winery. The white grapes, as you will remember, are placed in the press, while a different tool is used for the black grapes, the so-called crusher-destemmer.This machinery separates the stalks - therefore the green part of the bunch - from the berries, which are then pressed to release the must.

So the press is not used in red wine making?

Yes, it is used, but only at a later stage. After passing through the crusher-de-stemmer, all the product obtained - composed then of must and marc - is transferred to special tanks in which maceration and alcoholic fermentation take place.

[Our] Red Vinification: Maceration

Ivan, can you explain to us what maceration consists of and why it is so important in the context of red vinification?

Let's say that in the maceration process lies the true sense of red wine production! In fact, it consists in letting the marc (the skins of the grapes) remain in contact with the must (the juice extracted from the berries) so as to allow the extraction, then the transfer from the first to the second, of the aromatic substances and especially the colourants. In other words, this procedure causes the must - therefore the wine - to absorb the colour and become… red!

What are these colourants you talk about?

They are called anthocyanins: they are the chemical compounds naturally present in the skin of red and purple fruit, and therefore not only of grapes. Without going into too much technical detail, let's say that there are different types - that result in different shades of red - and they are present in different concentrations depending on the variety.

These two variables, obviously also conditioned by cultivation techniques, the harvest time and the specific pedo-climatic conditions of each plot, determine the possibility of obtaining a greater or lesser coloration of our must.

Could you give us an example?

The two native varieties that we mentioned at the beginning, the Ancellotta and the Malbo Gentile, are both characterized by a great colouring power, which makes them excellent blending grapes: in addition to the very pleasant aromatic complement, they are in fact able to perfect the appearance of the wine, giving wonderful violet hues to the blends in which they are placed.

It is no coincidence that both are often used as a complement to Sangiovese, a variety which, on the contrary, produce wines with a decidedly less purple and intense colour.

[Our] Red Vinification: The Grapes - part 1


We are back in the company of production manager Ivan Lentini to continue our journey to discover the main winemaking techniques used at the Tenute d’Italia winery. After having discovered the main steps that make up the so-called white vinification procedure, here we are again, ready to review the red vinification procedure.

Hi Ivan! Nice to see you again. Let's begin our story starting, as usual, from the raw material, that is, from the grapes. What are the varieties grown in your vineyards, that is, those processed in your cellars?

Hi everyone. First of all I want to say that it is a pleasure to continue this interview: I hope that the readers have enjoyed the first part of our journey, and that they have been able to discover some interesting details about winemaking. In fact, I believe that this topic is really important for a full appreciation of the finished wine, and thus enriching one's experience as a consumer. On this premise, we come to our new topic: in the vineyards of Tenute d’Italia, red grapes undoubtedly represent the greater percentage of our crop, and we have several varieties.

The first we should mention is certainly Sangiovese: this is in fact the most typical grape variety of our territory, and one which, like most of the Romagna producers, we are particularly fond of!

Alongside Sangiovese there are also some international vines, which can also boast a great tradition in Romagna: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Barbera.

To complete the review we must add Malbo Gentile and Ancellotta: these are also two native varieties, therefore typical of our areas, which due to their characteristics are mainly used as blending grapes: this means that they are not used to produce wines in purity (that is, produced 100% with these varieties) but rather, they contribute to the production of others. This happens through the assemblage carried out either at the actual start of the winemaking process, adding these grapes to those of other varieties - this mainly happens with the Ancellotta - or by producing a wine that will later be used to cut other batches - as is the case with Malbo Gentile.


[Our] Red Vinification: The Grapes - part 2

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[READ THE PREVIOUS [Our] Red Vinification: the Grapes - part 1]

Speaking of white grapeswe specified that they are the first to be gathered in the harvest, and we also gave a rough idea of the order in which they reach maturity. Can we do the same for black grapes too?

Well, we can certainly say that, in principle, black grapes are harvested after the white ones. With regard to our own vineyards, Syrah is usually the first to be harvested, followed by Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Normally it is Barbera that closes the operation.

As we have said several times though, this order is subject to numerous variables.

The first, and most important, factor is certainly the wine we intend to make from a specific batch of grapes: some of our products, such as Cabernet Sauvignon Rubicone I.G.P. “Potente”and the Merlot Rubicone I.G.P. "Sintria" are in fact produced with late harvest grapes, thus slightly extending their stay on the plant to obtain higher sugar concentrations.

Having said that, we must take into consideration the specific characteristics of each plot, which can favour a more or less rapid ripening process, as well as the atmospheric conditions!

So, let's say then that, if it was quite simple to outline an order for white grapes, for black grapes it is decidedly more complex!

[Our] White Vinification: Harvesting - part 1

We have already had the opportunity to introduce the theme of the colour of wine, recognising its origin in a real choice that the producer makes in the very first stages of winemaking. After our brief introduction, in which we introduced the concepts of white and red vinification, we will now begin to go into the details of each of them, illustrating the different stages of development and the specific characteristics.

To do this we will have the pleasure of benefitting from the collaboration of the production manager of Tenute d'Italia, Mr. Ivan Lentini, who will accompany us on a journey to discover how wine is made: starting from the story of his work in our cellars in Linaro.

Hi Ivan! First of all, thank you for your willingness to help us get a deeper understanding of the great topic of wine production. We have already had the opportunity to mention to our readers the two main wine-making techniques, white and red vinification. Now we hope you will be able to tell us all the details. Where do we start?

Hello everyone! I would like to start by saying that the theme we are about to deal with is really very broad, and in addition to the general distinction between the production of white or red wine, it is always necessary to specify that each particular production follows a precise, absolutely singular logic, which depends precisely on the product that you intend to produce. This means not only reserving specific stratagems for each variety of grape, but also applying different stratagems for the different lots of the same type of grape that we want to allocate to different products.

Could you give us an example?

Of course! Think of Pignoletto: in 2019 we decided that we would make a sparkling version, and this led to harvesting the grapes slightly earlier than normal, before the fruits had fully ripened. In this way, we ensured not only a greater finesse of the aromas, but also a better acidity of the must and a lower alcohol content, due to the lower presence of sugars in the grapes. Since two fermentations are required for a sparkling wine (the alcoholic fermentation and the re-fermentation which gives the effervescence) an alcoholic degree that starts off too high could in fact have significantly compromised the pleasantness of the finished wine.


[Our] White Vinification: Harvesting - part 2

[READ THE PREVIOUS ARTICLE - [Our] White Vinification: Harvesting - part 1]

As we have already named the Pignoletto, we could start right away with the theme of white vinification! What are the other grapes which you use this technique for?

Having read the previous article, I immediately want to clarify that in Tenute d’Italia we apply the equation: white grapes/white vinification and red grapes/red vinification. We are evaluating the possibility of testing the maceration technique for the Albana, but for now it’s only a project.

As for white grapes, there are three types in our vineyards: the Pignoletto, the Trebbiano and the Albana. Let's say that they are perhaps the three most typical varieties of our territory, capable of giving wines of great quality but also of great character.

With regard to the Pignoletto, you mentioned a harvesting that is earlier than normal. Usually, what period are we talking about?

Pignoletto is usually the first variety to be harvested, not only for our production needs but also for the specific characteristics of the plant. In fact, there are varieties that ripen earlier, and others that need more time to mature. Let's say that the harvest of the Pignoletto can begin as early as the last weeks of August, followed closely by the Albana. Trebbiano is the last white variety we gather.

Obviously, this is a rough outline: each harvest is a unique and unrepeatable adventure, marked mainly by the climatic trend of the entire vintage.In addition, another detail not to be overlooked, the timing of the collection must also take into account the position of the vineyards: the fruit ripening process varies significantly depending on exposure, altitude and the type of soil on which the plants are born, sowe always need to take into consideration the differences between the lowland vineyards and hills.

How does the harvest take place?Do you use specific machinery for the grape harvest?

No. At Tenute d'Italia we only carry out manual harvesting: it is certainly less rapid than the mechanical method, but it allows us to make a better selection of the fruits, discarding the bunches that are not perfectly ripe or that have imperfections and, above all, it is much less invasive, less traumatic for the grapes. The bunches are placed in small crates and then loaded onto a cart, on which they are transported to the cellars, where the real wine-making process begins.

[Our] White Vinification: Pressing - part 1

[READ THE PREVIOUS ARTICLE: Harvesting part 1 / part 2]

Let's continue our chat with the production manager Ivan Lentini on the white vinification process as performed at Tenute d’Italia. To read the first part of the interview click here!

What happens when the grapes arrive at the winery?

The bunches of grapes are immediately loaded into the press, i.e. a cylindrical machine equipped inside with an air chamber whose increase and decrease in pressure can be controlled: when the grapes are placed inside the press and this chamber is swollen the berries are crushed against the walls to let out the juice (the must): the presence of a grilled wall allows the must to come out perfectly separated from the marc, or pomace.

How big is a press?

The press is a machine available in different formats: ours allows us to load about 30 quintals (3000 kgs) of grapes.

Is it preferable to work at maximum load or with smaller quantities?

Let's start by saying that if the harvest is a traumatic moment for the grapes, the moment of pressing undoubtedly represents the peak of the stress to which we subject the fruit. So the general rule when it comes to wine is that we should always minimize the trauma which our product undergoes at every stage of its processing: during the pressing cycle, the chamber in which the grapes are introduced rotates on itself (to facilitate the distribution of the grapes inside) therefore the fewer grapes we introduce, the greater the possibility of their being knocked about inside the press, causing an uncontrolled crushing of the berries.

Our goal is to preserve the integrity of the wine grape with a full load, so that we can have maximum control of the pressing.


[Our] White Vinification: Pressing - part 2

[READ THE PREVIOUS ARTICLE: [Our] White Vinification: Pressing - part 1]

Do you also adopt other measures?

For some years we have adopted a veritable pressing protocol that allows for the complete abandonment of the so-called pre-set loading programs to adopt customised programs, designed for our specific needs. To give you an idea of the improvement, we went from about 30 rotations for each load to a current average of 3. In the same way, even for the subsequent phases of the actual pressing, our machinery is set up to work according to a precise sequence developed by our technicians and consultants.

What does it consist of?

The white wines of Tenute d'Italia are treated with a procedure inspired by that of the great French white wines: we work in gradual increments, that is, we set a first pressing pressure which will be kept constant until the flow of must exiting the press has ended.

At that point, without deflating the chamber, we increase the pressure to get a new flow, and so on for a maximum of two more sessions. In this way we obtain the so-called free-run juice, absolutely the most precious must and the one that will be used to produce the most valuable wines, such as Pignoletto DOC Spumante Santerno Wines.

Is that the end of the pressing phase?

Absolutely not. From this first phase we obtain the absolute finest must (the free-run juice), but the process can continue. The procedure is simply repeated by applying higher pressures, obtaining the so-called second pressing, which is still quite precious and with great aromatic potential.If you want to completely exhaust the extraction potential of our grapes, you can finally proceed with a third and final cycle, the so-called third pressing (or torchiatura), whose quality level will however be significantly lower than the other two lots of must. Though, in certain cases, it is in fact possible to allow for the blending of the free-run juice and the must from the second pressing, the must produced by the third pressing will always be kept separate, to process it independently.

[Our] White Vinification: Refining and Monitoring

[READ THE PREVIOUS ARTICLE: [Our] White Vinification: the Fermentation part 1/part 2]

Laboratory tests confirm that fermentation has ended. How do we proceed at this point?

At this point we generally proceed with a sulphurisation of the must, or the addition of potassium metabisulphite.

But why sulphurise the must if the sugars have run out? Shouldn't it stop automatically?

Well, this question is obviously valid if we are talking about a dry wine. If we wanted to keep some sugary residue in our wine, it is clear that the interruption of fermentation must be imposed, since the yeasts would still have sugars present that would feed them and enable them to continue their work.

Even in the case of dry wines though, we operate this procedure for two essential reasons: first of all, it should be remembered that the dry type does not designate a wine in which there is a total absence of sugar. A minimum residue will always be present, which brings us back to the observation made above. In addition to this, it is absolutely necessary to ensure that any microbiological activity is stopped, to prevent the risk of uncontrolled bacterial fermentations.

For this reason, right at the end of fermentation, it is our habit to proceed with a second clarification precisely to eliminate a substantial part of the residual yeasts and prevent the possibility of spontaneous refermentation.

Is our wine ready at this point?

Not exactly. We can definitely say that we have completed the transformation of our must into wine, even at the regulatory level, but the work is far from finished. After fermentation, in fact, the aging process begins, which will be longer or shorter depending on the type of wine we want to produce. Some white wines, for example, are aged in wood, but even those that are not subjected to this procedure need to spend a few more months in the tank to refine and stabilise themselves.

So even your control activities are still not over...

Absolutely not. The monitoring of our wines is a constant activity throughout their lives, right up to bottling... and beyond! For each batch of bottled wine, we keep numerous samples which we use to continue to monitor the evolution of the bottled wine, even after years.

[Our] White Vinification: the Fermentation - part 1

[READ THE PREVIOUS ARTICLE - [Our] White Vinification: the Must]

So the yeasts are inoculated into the must and start the alcoholic fermentation which will transform the must into wine.

Yes, but not only that. In order for the yeast to work best we need to make sure we keep it strong. In this sense, a yeast behaves just like us human beings: to give of its best it needs to be nourished. The more precise the management of this nourishment, the greater the health of the organism. So during the entire fermentation process we will take care to check the condition of our yeasts, supplying them with specific nutrients - all absolutely natural - to maintain their high performance, both at a quantitative level - in terms of work rate - and qualitative, guaranteeing the optimal development of the aromatic qualities of our wine.

Your supervision, then, must remain pretty constant throughout the fermentation.

Definitely! Controlling the progress of fermentation is crucial to guaranteeing the quality of the final product: the process can in fact be neither too fast nor too slow. In the first case there is a risk of a real stress of our yeasts, which, working at too high a rate, can run out of nutrients and, consequently, develop unpleasant aromas in the must, such as the hint of rotten egg. If, on the contrary, fermentation is too slow, there is an equally serious risk of blocking the fermentation, which would cause a significant loss of aromatic components and would require a second inoculation of yeasts, a practice that is generally always discouraged.

But how is it possible to effect this type of control?

Nature once again provides us with the most precious tool: by controlling the temperature at which fermentation takes place, we are able to manage and regulate this delicate process. Usually for a white we work between 10°C and 15°C, always depending on the specific type of wine we want to obtain.


[Our] White Vinification: the Fermentation - part 2

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[READ THE PREVIOUS [Our] White Vinification: the Fermentation - part 1]

Let's go back to our cellars to learn the principal steps in the production of white wines from Tenute d’Italia getting a close-up view from Ivan Lentini, head of production, with whom today we will expand the topic of fermentation.

How long does the fermentation of a white wine last?

Usually for a white wine we carry out fermentations of 10-15 days. Once again, the fundamental distinction is the type of wine we want to obtain, but also the variety of processed grapes. Each variety is in fact capable of developing a greater or lesser quantity of sugars, which translates in a perfectly proportional way to its potential to develop alcohol content.

How is the end of fermentation determined?

The progress of fermentation is controlled by means of a simple instrument, that we call a bomé, which measures the quantity of residual sugar in a must. This measurement is taken every day, even several times a day, until the desired level is reached. If we want to produce a dry wine, for example, this level will be close to zero.

Does this figure tell us that fermentation is over?

Not exactly. Measurement with the bomé is an indication that we need in order to monitor the progress of fermentation. The data on which we base the actual programming of each processing step is provided to us by the analyses of our laboratory, from which we obtain absolutely precise data.

[Our] White Vinification: the Must

In the previous episodes we talked about the harvest and the first processing stages of our white grapes. We continue the story of the white vinification process as performed at the Tenute d 'Italia winery in the company of the production manager Ivan Lentini.

Hi Ivan, good to see you again! During our last meeting we examined the pressing process, until the must was obtained. Having arrived at this point, how do we proceed?

We can say that we are now entering the heart of the winemaking process, getting closer and closer to what will eventually be our finished product.The first operation that is performed after the pressing is the transfer of the must into our tanks to proceed with the first clarification.

This operation can be performed in different ways, but an absolute constant of our processing protocol is to reduce the temperature of the must: this simple trick allows us not only to avoid the start of a spontaneous fermentation, but also has the power to preserve the aromas and above all to facilitate the precipitation of the solid parts (lees), promoting clarification in an absolutely natural and minimally invasive way.

Always staying faithful to the principle of minimal intervention on our raw material, we try to exploit the power of Nature to avoid, as much as possible, mechanical operations or the use ofadjuvants.

How long does this process last?

The must remains in the clarification process from 24 to 28 hours, always depending on the type of wine we want to produce. As a general rule, we can say that the more body you intend to give to the finished product, the longer the process, this to make the most of the aromatic contribution of the lees right from the start.

What happens after the clarification?

At the end of this first clarification we are ready to start fermentation. First we carry out a further transfer of the must to make a first separation of the lees (racking); then we proceed to one of the most complex and delicate operations, namely the inoculation of yeasts.

Why is it so complex?

We must remember that our must has undergone significant cooling, so at this time of the process it is at a cure temperature of 8°C / 9°C. The initial mass of yeasts that is prepared for the inoculation (the so-called mother-yeast) has instead a temperature of 37°C, optimal for the multiplication of these extraordinary, but very delicate, micro-organisms. To avoid that the yeasts undergo a literally fatal thermal shock, it will therefore be necessary to acclimatise our mother-yeast by progressively decreasing its temperature according to a precise pattern: 4°C every 20 minutes.

This is possible by taking small quantities of must from the tank to add them to the mother-yeast, and it is an operation that requires several hours during which the level of attention must remain very high! At the end of the procedure, the mass of yeasts will have increased their volume almost tenfold, adjusted their temperature, but will also have developed sufficiently to take prevalence over any other indigenous yeast inside our must.

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Tenute D'Italia is a trade mark of Morini s.r.l.
VAT 00615541208 e 03367140377
Tel +39 0542 641194 - Imola (BO) Italy