Grappa is an Italian alcoholic drink similar to whiskey, brandy, sherry or cognac and is often referred to as "firewater." The distilled beverage is normally produced by wine makers because it is made from pomace or the raw grape seeds, stalks and stems that are discarded during the wine making process. Grappa gets its name from the town in northern Italy, Bassano del Grappa, in which the drink derived in the Middle Ages. Today, there are grappa distilleries around the world. You'll find several festivals in Italy that distinctly celebrate the drink.
Specifically, grappa is the combination of 40 to 45 percent alcohol and 50 to 55 percent pomace, or discarded grape pieces. Producers of grappa mix the two elements by slowly adding heat until the mixture evaporates to form a concentration. This process is known as distillation. The distillation process turns the combination into the 80 to 90 proof alcohol known as grappa. Before the alcoholic beverage is sold to the public, it is stored in bottles for approximately six months and sometimes sweetened with syrups or flavoring such as cherry, pear, apricot and peach.
The Vinitaly Festival is a festival that celebrates the oenological field, or all areas of the wine making process. The festival is held annually in Verona, Italy, and has been going on for nearly half a century. More than 150 thousand oenological field professionals from more than 100 countries attend Vinitaly annually. The festival offers exhibits of all types of wine, grappa and any alcohols derived from the wine making process. Attendees can expect to see thousands of exhibits, as well as attend tastings and workshops.
Trentino Grappa Festival
The Trentino Grappa Festival is held annually for five days in Levico Terme, Trentino, Italy. The event is specifically designed for companies that produce grappa. Attendees can take advantage of grappa workshops. The festival is also open for two days to the public, in which people can meet experts in the grappa industry and sample grappa. The festival is typically scheduled during the Christmas markets in Levico Terme between November and January.
Poli Grappa Festival
The Poli Grappa Festival is held at the Poli Distillery in Bassano del Grappa, the town where Grappa originated. The Poli Distillery has been in existence since 1898 and offers the Poli Grappa Museum to visitors. The distillery offers a number of events annually, including the Poli Grappa Festival in which attendees receive a meal paired with wines, followed by the squeezing of Torcolato Grapes, which signifies the starts of the grappa production process.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images