Vineyards and wineries. Collis: at the very birthplace of our wines
Care of our vines begins well before the grapes are harvested, when the vegetation is interrupted and our winegrowers expertly guide the vines in their growth.
SpringSpring wakes the plants back up again after their long winter dormancy and towards mid-April the vines begin to bud, colouring our hills green. Thanks to the mild temperatures and a good water supply, the leaves begin to develop and the small berry clusters peek out, the embryos of future bunches of grapes, which will get bigger and ripen with the passing of the months. This is the period when winegrowers perform manual green pruning operations to encourage plant balance, by removing double shoots and stripping leaves where necessary.
SummerSummer is an explosion of colours, because the bunches of grapes start undergoing the veraison process, with white grapes taking on a yellow colour and red ones, a red colour. At this stage, the optimum criteria are achieved for sugar, acidity, tannins and aromatic substances, which are ideal for harvesting and making wine with high quality grapes. Clearance, thinning out and leaf stripping operations favour the harvesting of a healthy, ripe grape: harvesting completes the production cycle and normally takes place between August and October, first for the white grapes, and then for the red ones.
During the harvesting period, the grapes are delivered on a daily basis to the collection centres and taken into the care of our wine experts and cellarmen, who use the best facilities and technologies for vinification in more than 2,000 containers that allow separate vinification of the different grape varieties at a controlled temperature.
The partial drying of grapes is an ancient method that has its roots in Roman times. The technique has been fine-tuned and perfected over the centuries but still to this day distinguishes the production of high quality wines with good structure from Verona (Amarone, Recioto della Valpolicella and Recioto di Soave). Partial drying can take place directly on the plant especially in hot, rainy areas, for several weeks, or indoors in dedicated grape drying rooms. In this case, the healthy, fully-ripened bunches are harvested by hand and carefully laid down onto large perforated crates that are stacked one on top of the other for three or four months - the time needed for optimum partial drying. The grape drying room layout guarantees optimal constant ventilation and temperature for dehydrating and partially drying the grapes, which lose weight due to the evaporation of water contained in the berry. This therefore leads to the concentration of the sugar content, tannins, aromas and many of the substances that characterise the quality of the future wine. The process comes to an end with low-temperature fermentation in winter, which will give body and life to these high-quality wines of excellent structure.
The “ripasso” is a traditional wine processing technique from the Valpolicella area, which involves double fermentation of the Valpolicella wine with unpressed Amarone skins. Once the Amarone has been devatted, Valpolicella wine - obtained from fresh grapes from the last harvest - is placed in the same container, in contact with the still partially fermenting skins. The wine obtained - Valpolicella Ripasso, for the record - is caressing, well-rounded and firmly structured, suitable for ageing in barriques for around 12 months.