The drying process
The drying of the grapes is a specific and very ancient technique, the first mention of which dates back to the era of ancient Rome. This method, which is typical of the Valpolicella area, is essential for the production of wines like Amarone, Recioto and Ripasso.
At the time of harvesting by hand, the sparsest, least-compact bunches are selected, the grapes of which must be perfectly ripe and healthy. The bunches are then placed in large crates, called plateaux, and left to rest in the spacious, very well-ventilated fruit-drying rooms. The drying lasts about 100-120 days, depending on the percentage of water contained in the grapes which evaporates. At the end of this process the bunches consequently lose 30-40% of their weight, and the concentration of sugars and juice increases in the grapes.
In January, the pressing of the dried grapes usually takes place, followed by fermentation and ageing in oak barrels, which transform the grapes into splendid wines, such as Amarone, Recioto and Ripasso San Michele.