It’s odd, isn’t it, that a throat-scorching liquor made from the almost spent left-overs of the wine making process would command a relatively high price and be consumed in thin and elegant glasses whose glistening flared chimneys amplify the vapors like the bell of a tuba amplifies the wet lip blat that originates with the artist at the other end. But there you have it.
But what gives Grappa the luster of modernity is the way it is produced from the detritus left over from a vintage: skins, seeds, leftover pulp, and even the stems are fermented, then distilled. Totally spent, this pomace that’s given its craved flavor up to the process is returned to the soil, a life cycle that that is quite admirable in these wasteful times. Each step in the process provides goodness and warmth, as wine and a potent digestivo, then is returned to the soil to restart the process as soon the vines awaken from their winter slumber.
Today artisan grappa is made in copper stills and passes through a Rube Goldberg array of looping tubes, a crazy, glittering delight for the eyes. It is consumed most often as a digestivo with or in coffee.
You gotta see this. I’ll tell you how.
3 ways of Visiting Poli Distillerie in the Veneto Region
If you really want to know and see how grappa is made, a visit to the Poli Distillerie and the Poli Musseo della Grappa in the little village Schiavon is the way to go. You’ll learn of the history of a resourceful family who sold straw hats and operated a small osteria for folks waiting for coaches before the introduction of the steam train that plied the rails between Bassano del Grappa and Vicenza and stopping in Schiavon, starting in 1910.
The distilling operation started in Schiavon in 1898. The museum holds many artifacts from this time forward. This is the most comprehensive way to see both the grappa distillation and the history behind Poli Distillerie.
You can also choose to visit the Poli grappa museum in the compelling tourist destination of Bassano del Grappa, which is conveniently located at one end of the Ponte Vecchio, also called the Ponte degli Alpini. 5 rooms of grappa-related history and appliances are yours to discover at a mere 5 euro including tasting.
Founded by Jacopo and Cristina Poliin 1993 in Bassano del Grappa, in front of the Ponte Vecchio, with the aim of spreading the culture of Grappa and passing the distillation know-how on to the outsiders.
As a bonus, there is also the Grapperia Nardini at the exit of the bridge. Nardini claims to be Italy’s oldest grappa, born in 1779
Ponte Vecchio, 2
36061 Bassano del Grappa VI
A third way to learn about grappa is the Poli showroom in Venice, if La Serenissima is on your itinerary.
Located just 400 metres from San Marco Square, along the route that leads to the Ponte dell’Accademia (Accademy Bridge), it’s possible to taste the authentic Venetian Grappa into the magic frame of the most beautiful worldwide city. The Poli Distillery showroom is located in the suggestive Campiello Feltrina, near the Church Santa Maria del Giglio, just 200 metre from the La Fenice Theatre.
How Grappa is Made, a Video
Mapping the Veneto Grappa Territory
There is lots to see in this part of the Veneto. From Bassano del Grappa in the upper right corner of the map you can head down the Brent river towards Padua, where the “Riviera del Brenta” continues from there to Venice. The riviera is where you’ll encounter the famous Paladian villas, like Villa Foscari, and towns like Mira and Dolo. It’s a wonderful territory to explore.