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Uncorked: Italian winemaker embraces new technology

Published: Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Innovation has been a trend for six generations at Allegrini. 

The Allegrini family pioneered grape growing on the Veneto hillsides in northeastern Italy. Centuries later the family-owned winery continued its trend. In 1998, Allegrini built an entire facility dedicated to drying harvested grapes properly. 

It’s a massive innovation for a wine discovered by accident centuries ago.    

Winemaker spotlight

Botrytis and mold are enemies of Amarone. 

When grapes are set to dry for three to four months, it was once a challenge to prevent the onset of botrytis and mold. Now, the facility allows Allegrini to dry grapes at a constant 50 percent humidty. 

“We have conditions that are almost ideal to make Amarone every year,” owner and producer Marilisa Allegrini said. “We don’t compromise when it comes to making wine and our grapes now dry much better.”

Motivated by the opportunity to improve the final product, Allegrini has embraced new technology. 

“Everybody was excited,” said Allegrini, who answered the phone with a polite ‘Pronto’ greeting on Thursday when reached in Italy. “That’s the miracle of the wine industry. We work the land and cellar. We also make our minds up to do things better. That’s what makes the job so fun and so exciting.”

Amarone predates the Roman Empire. According to legend, it was discovered by accident when Recioto grapes were allowed to ferment longer than usual turning all the sugar into alcohol. 

It is an accident that the farmers and winemakers of the Valpolocella and Veneto regions have spent centuries perfecting. Located in the northeast corner of Italy, Allegrini’s hillsides and warm microclimate provide the indigenous varietals of Corvina, Rondinell and Molinara with ideal growing seasons.          

“We look forward to the future and maintain our integrity,” Allegrini said. “Amarone is a very important wine with a rich history. We want to continue to bring Amarone to consumers and keep our tradition alive.”

• James Nokes writes a bi-weekly wine column for the Daily Chronicle. He’s been tasting, touring and collecting in the wine world for several years. Contact him at news@daily-chronicle.com.

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