A Wine Product Born of Fire

Pomace
The wine warehouse fire in Vallejo earlier this year forced a number of wineries struck by the disaster to re-think their business plans. Many found themselves without any product to bring to market. Long Meadow Ranch from Napa Valley was one such winery, losing two future vintages. But they have plan.

According to reports Long Meadow will get themselves back on the shelves by producing a Grappa from single variety pomace.

Some explaining is in order. Grappa is a drink made from the distillation of grape pomace. Grape pomace is the skins and seeds and such that are left over after the grapes are crushed and pressed. Normally these "left-overs" are scattered back out into the vineyard and/placed in a mulch pile.

Even in Europe, where Grappa is drunk more often, it is still not drunk commonly. You really do need to develop a taste for this stuff. It is very strong and often it is very hard on the throat. It tends to be drunk after a meal as a digestif. Very little is made in America. Most is imported from France and Italy.

Long Meadow claims it will produce a "different style" of Grappa: "in recent years, high-end makers have been adopting changes, such
as using fresh pomace from just one type of grape, to produce a much
more polished product."

So we are looking at Single Varietal Grappas. Why not? Certainly in California, where the trade and consumers like to take care of their own, it will probably sell well. It will also end up in a lovely package (I’m guessing a tall, skinning, 500ml bottle).

Again, this is a drink that requires one to cultivate a taste for it. It is sometimes described as tasting like fingernail polish. Some like gasoline. Even the very best are extraordinarily potent. You won’t see restaurants selling a bottle to a table. It will only go by the glass.

I hope Long Meadow does well with this project. Certainly there is room in the market for a very high end, smooth (as smooth as grappa can be) tasty Grappa.

Posted In: Wine Education

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  1. Jack - December 27, 2005

    First: Love that photo!
    Second: There’s definitely not too many Cal. Grappas! So it seems like a good idea.


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