In Valpolicella, the drying of the grapes is a 2000-year-old tradition.
In the past, the grapes underwent the drying process to increase the richness, the concentration and, above all, the sweetness of the wine. The real traditional wine in Valpolicella is Recioto, noble descendant of the Acinatico, the wine of the Romans. Then, in the second half of the century, Amarone was born. It happened as an oenological mistake, but soon acquired more and more prestige and supplanted Recioto.
The winemaking technique stays the same: at the beginning of September, the best grapes are harvested and left to dry in small crates in ventilated rooms until January.
The grapes lose 50% of their weight, change the poliphenolic structure and concentrate sugars.
In January, when the grapes are pressed, the temperature is often close to zero and it can be necessary to heat up the cellar in order to trigger the fermentation process. It is a slow and often very long fermentation, which can last even a month, with frequent pumping overs and a couple of delastages.
After racking, the wine is transferred to small 225/250 L. barrels, where the Amarone wine evolves for the first two years. The wine is then transferred again, for other two years, in 20/25 hL slavonian oak barrels, until complete ripening.