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the secret of a great wine

Valpolicella produces two special wines

Amarone and Recioto


Recioto embodies the oldest tradition that intimately binds this land to its wine. Amarone, though relatively more recent, already holds a place in history as its noble counterpart. Both owe their uniqueness to a particular art introduced in the winemaking process: Appassimento (grape drying).


Two wines transfigured in two different stages by the same process, Appassimento, a practice rooted in ancient wisdom tied to the secret of the vine thriving amidst these hills: Corvina.

Once, grapes were laid out on large wooden racks called arele in the drying room, where they dehydrated. Nowadays, for hygiene reasons, hand-collected grapes are placed in plastic crates while large fans ensure optimal humidity and ventilation, preventing mold formation.


Appassimento is poised to be recognized as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Steps and Benefits of Appassimento


During their time on the racks, the grapes dehydrate, losing up to 30% of their mass (in the case of Amarone). Ventilation plays a crucial role in removing the moisture escaping from the bunches. However, the primary aim of Appassimento is not to reduce the weight of the berries but rather to enhance sugar concentration, tartaric acid, and other grape components. This process also transforms the chemical composition of other substances, simulating continued ripening.


In the case of Amarone, Appassimento lasts about three months: after harvesting the grapes between September and October, they must remain in the drying room until early December. Subsequent pressing and fermentation phases demand careful attention, given the high sugar concentration in the must.


Appassimento subjects the berries to nutrient deprivation, inducing stress. This stress triggers the production of polyphenols (stilbenes) and the creation of new aromatic precursors, with variations depending on the grape variety. For instance, Corvinone exhibits tobacco and pepper notes, while Corvina presents mentholated and balsamic aromas.


Different strains of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae yeast are used, such as Zinfandel, known for its resilience to sugar-induced stress. Additionally, yeast stress activates numerous metabolic pathways that would otherwise remain dormant, influencing the production of aromatic and phenolic compounds.

Learn more about Terre di Fumane

The world's largest center for Appassimento

Ugolini Vini is among the founding members of Terre di Fumane, the world's largest center for Appassimento: an ambitious, pluralistic, and eco-sustainable project.

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