Grape drying on the plant or in drying lofts?
The question is more relevant than ever: can drying grapes on the plant help us tackle climate change? The Masi Technical Group is trying to answer this question with a targeted research project, in collaboration with the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences of the University of Milan. “Masi Expertise AppaXXImento: drying loft or vineyard”, was presented on 10th April at the XXIV Masi Technical Seminar.
Corvina, Refosco and Sangiovese under test
Winemaker Andrea Dal Cin talks of the experiment in more detail, “We decided to assess the grape drying process on the plant by squeezing the bunch stem, manually pinching it with special pliers. Three different grape varieties were involved: Corvina (in the Verona area), Refosco (in the province of Udine) and Sangiovese (in the Maremma).”
Anita Boscaini, quality control manager of the Masi Technical Group, continues, “For each variety we analysed a control sample (fresh grapes), an A treatment (drying on the plant, squeezing the bunch stem) and a B treatment (drying in lofts, except for Sangiovese).”
The laboratory results
The data obtained showed how both the grape drying on the plant and in the drying lofts are strongly influenced by the characteristics of the variety, as well as by the climate. “Corvina grapes dried on the plant reach the desired Babo degree (i.e. sugar level) in a similar way to drying in lofts; whereas Refosco grapes dried on the plant present some difficulties. Some critical issues in the vineyard (such as the onset of mould) forced the drying term to be brought forward. Lastly, the level of anthocyanins proved to be higher in the drying lofts, both for Corvina and Refosco.”
Refosco prefers the drying lofts
The wine from Corvina grapes dried on the plant retain more fruity and spicy notes compared to the sample from the drying lofts, which, however, shows more structure and softness on the palate. Refosco dried on the plant, on the other hand, shows more marked characteristics of hardness and proves to be less balanced, clean and structured compared to that in the drying lofts. Therefore, at the moment, this variety is not very suitable to the technique of drying on the plant. “There is still a long way to go and we will continue working in this direction,” concluded Raffaele Boscaini, general coordinator of the Masi Technical Group. “Some very interesting ideas have emerged from this first year of experimentation, which will be the basis of future research.”