A dozen neatly arranged copper cauldrons, linked to tall distillation columns by curved pipes, the whole framed by smoothly jointed brick walls and permeated by the characteristic mix of sweet and dry scents that accompanies the production of brandy: Already at first glance the Grappa Distillery Poli proves to be a place where tradition and craftmanship go hand in hand. For more than one century all sorts of Grappa are given birth and mature here. An exciting guided tour shows in detail how this is done. With great enthusiasm it illustrates the functioning and special characteristics of the historic stills that operate until today, and that are able to create a large variety of flavours. Visitors can feel what it is like to grasp a handful of fresh marc – the residues of grapes left by winemakers serving as the basic product of the distillation process. They can touch the warm copper cauldrons loaded with marc and learn about the advantages of a discontinuous distillation cycle. During the degustation after the tour smelling and tasting are particularly in demand. At this point (if not before) everybody can prove his talent as first class distiller by distinguishing "head", heart" and "tail" of a Grappa by its smell only.
Poli Distillery is most busy when the region's vineyards are harvested. At this time the copper cauldrons bubble day in, day out, warming up the pipes, and feeding the distillation columns with steam from the heated grape-marc. The taste of the resulting product heavily depends on the equipment and the heating technique used. The still of the Distillery Poli is one the oldest in use today. It was handed down through the generations and continuously expanded. The first flowing steam cauldrons started operating as early as the 1920s, joined by further five cauldrons in 1959 respectively 1964. A new still with four cauldrons, again using a flowing steam system, was acquired in 1983 by the current manager. Each of the twelve cauldrons has its own pace and differs in the amount of steam that is necessary to obtain the best results. Two additional stills purchased later are based on a different heating technique. Both rely on a bain-marie system, the latter of which, installed only in 2008, is working under vacuum conditions. What all of these distillation systems have in common is their discontinuous cycle that is hardly ever applied in the European context. Unlike in the case of industrial production the cauldrons have to be emptied and refilled with fresh marc after each distillation cycle – that means roughly every three hours.
Whoever witnessed how many factors influence the distillation process will easily understand why every Grappa is unique even though they tend to look all the same. That's why the tasting at the end of the guided tour is an essential part of the experience. A visit to the Grappa Museum right next to the distillery is highly recommended. It tells the history of Grappa and features the widest collection of Grappe known in Italy. There is another Poli shop in the nearby Bassano del Grappa, a regional centre of Grappa production.
|Recommended duration of visit:||1,5 Hours|
|Duration of a guided tour:||90 Minutes|
|Access for persons with disabilities:||For details see website|
|Infrastructure for children:|
|Visitor centre on site:||yes|
|Gift and book shop on site:||yes|
Monday - Friday 8.30am-1pm and 2-6pm