Technically, it can only be called Grappa if it is grown and made in and with all raw materials used coming from Italy. Grappa has also been called Pomace Brandy, Grape Marc, or Grape Marc spirit.
Grappa is a strong, almost brandy-like drink made from grape skins, stems and seeds left over after pressing the grapes for wine. They are fermented,the must is distilled, then watered down with distilled water to reduce the alcohol level to the desired amount.
At the moment, most Essex County wineries are using those leftovers throughout the vineyard as a form of fertilization, putting nutrients taken from the ground back into the ground.
Though it sounds like a natural fit, Grappa does not seem to be at the forefront of the local winery industry’s plans.
“The process of making grappa is not terribly difficult, but, the equipment would need to be specific to making a spirit (distilling equipment; “a still”) explains Izabela Bemben of Aleksander Estate Winery. “The regulations for distilling, working with spirits, then selling them is probably the biggest challenge we face here in Ontario.”
She also mentions that “making grappa is not only more work, but, the regulations here in Ontario about making and selling it are very strict and deterring.”
“I am not aware of anyone locally producing grappa as of yet” says Izabela. “Colio is actually building a winery in Niagara On the Lake where they will be making Grappa at that facility. As for the rest of us, no word.”
Izabela states that while the popularity of Grappa might be growing worldwide, she is not sure what the potential in the Ontario marketplace would be.
“I’s an acquired taste, that’s for sure.”
Izabela does mention that although “no Grappa is being made commercially here in Lake Erie North Shore to date, never say never. This type of talk and spreading the word may stimulate some to give it a go.”