The liberalization of home production of grappa: the debate is still open

Published: 29th September 2009
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In these last months the decree, proposed by the Senators of the Lega Nord to legalize the production of homemade grappa, caused and is still causing much discussion.

The decree liberalizing the production of grappa and brandy promoted by Senators Montani and Divina has already obtained the first go ahead by the parliamentary commission, but the protests show no sign of subsiding. So far the production of homemade spirits was strictly prohibited by law for tax and sanitation reasons. But the bill would provide to produce at home no more than 50 liters of grappa, but only for domestic use and to offer friends or guests, in the case of farm stay. The commercialization is still absolutely prohibited.

The motivation would be to legalize a de facto situation that already exists, especially in the north, where the home production of the famous Italian distillate is a common practice. The law would then only make come out who has produced grappa at home for years.
But professional associations have arisen, however, pointing out that the controls on these producers will be impossible, while the risks are high.
Who illegally produces grappa swindle the eight euro per liter fee for official producers. There are concerns also from the hygienic point of view, with the declared risk that without a certain expertise in the production, there is the strong risk that in the bottle end up also some methanol, capable to kill.
In addition, this law falls right when the government is waging a battle against the abuse of alcohol among young people.

"We will lose the sense of this profession, - Beppe Bertagnolli explains, the president of the Protection Institute- a profession that has seen by our distillers over the years the increase of business investment in new technologies while remaining true to the principles of craftsmanship distillation. Thanks to this we have managed to bring grappa to become an even more refined product for its organoleptic qualities. Giving the green light to homemade grappa would be a dramatic downgrading of the image of this product after that, not without difficulty, we have managed to win the favor of consumers".

The distillate produced by professional distillers are carefully inspected and certified by various institutes. Only in this way, they say, we can offer consumers a high quality product, for example using mostly a single vine variety; a product with high organoleptic characteristics.

The problem of homemade grappa is not only the possible presence of methanol, which is already very harmful to the organism, but also the lack of hygienic guarantee during the distillation of pomace.
It is known that in the production of grappa the head and tail have to be removed during the process, because they contain components very heavy to digest. But to do so the adapt and controlled tools are required. Who professionally produces grappa knows it very well and is extremely attentive to produce high-quality grappa, also to avoid having trouble with consumers.

But all these things can be guaranteed also by do-it-yourself producers? Sure, some of them may even have experience and expertise, but if you loosen the reins on the controls, it is likely to encourage a production of shoddy grappa for the taste but also harmful to health.

This article was written by Martina Meneghetti, with support from brandy store For any information please visit grappa invecchiata , please visit vendita amarone

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