A micro distillery is a production unit of Distilleria Prete, licensed to distil alcoholic products and spirit drinks (beverage) according to the specific requirement of the production facilities. Specifically, the production site is licensed for the distillation of raw materials from which alcohol is produced (pomace), or alcoholic materials (wine, fermented fruit or cereals) that must occurs in a traditional, simple, bricked and direct fire alembic. The production requirement is the quantity of alcohol products obtained every harvest: 300 anhydrous litres of distilled products which is almost 750 litres of final 40% alcoholic grade beverage per year.
The alcoholic products are
• Not Aged Grappa
• Aromatized Grappa
• Barriqued Grappa (aged grappa < 6 months)
• Grappa Riserva (aged grappa > 18 months)
• Brandy Italiano (Italian Brandy aged > 6 months, small barrels)
Distillation of the pomace or wine is carried out according to the traditional methods by means of a simple alembic with direct fire, walled up and equipped with a constant reflux deflemmator. The traditional alembic operates in batches: at the end of each cooking, the process is stopped to empty the heating vessel and to fill it gain with new raw materials (pomace or wine). The raw product, obtained from pomace or wine distillation (phlegmas), is redistilled, rectified to separate toxics substances and impurity to leave the so called “heart “. The specific organoleptic characteristics of a distilled product depends on the impurity it contains (some substance may generate defects if in excess) and on its final concentration (the concentration of some specific impurity in the final product can amplify the sensorial character of a distilled product and make the flavour more persistent, round and complete).
In the rectifying process, the separation of the impurities, and their concentration or dilution depends on the ability of the Master Distiller, together with the use of an optimised design and dimension of the system. Indeed during the rectifying cycle the Master Distiller must:
• Constantly monitoring the parameters such as temperature, alcohol content and efficiency flow;
• Carrying out specific regular timed sensorial analysis on the distilled yield;
Stopping the process at the right time sometime even loosing part of the product (this part of the lost yield it’s said “a gift to the angels”, similarly to that alcohol lost during the aging in the wooden barrels). Once the analyses are carried out, the Master Distiller decides also through simulations, how the product obtained will be transformed, in terms of organoleptic properties, as a result of the stabilization processes, reduction of alcohol content and sweetening and will control the tannic content according to aging of the final product.
The direct fire technique compared to other craft techniques (e.g. bain-marie), allows a slower evaporation, more balanced and richer. It takes time: 2-3 hours to distill 100 kg of pomace for the production of grappa and 4-6 hours to distill 200 litres of wine for the production of brandy.