Friday, December 30, 2011

Field Trip to the Grappa Museum

Before moving to Italy I had not heard of Grappa.  And even after living here for 4 years, learning about Grappa has never been on my "to do" list, but sometimes you end up doing unexpected things, like touring the Poli Grappa Museum.  And on occasion, you even end up enjoying the unexpected, and learning new something along the way.  

The Poli museum is located just south of the wall cited of Marositica.  It offers an excellent history of both Grappa and the entire distillation process, presented both in Italian and English.  The museum itself is a beautiful building full of copper Grappa making equipment and very well written explanations of both the history and process of making Grappa.   
Do you know about Grappa? It is a potent alcoholic drink made from the distillation of grape marc, the grape skins, pulp, and seeds leftover after the grapes have been pressed during the wine making process. It is very popular here in the Veneto region, and after yesterday's field trip to the Poli Grappa Museum I now have a deeper understanding and appreciation for Grappa, even if I am still not a fan of the taste.  

The first room of the museum gives a thorough history of the distillation process.  Thousands of years before distillates were enjoyed as beverages, they were used as essential oils and medicines.  
As you venture further into the museum a complete explanation of the distillation process accompanies beautiful copper distilleries.  
The process begins by heating the fermented grape marc.  Alcohol and volatile oils have lower boiling points than water, and therefore evaporate first.  The evaporate is collected in copper tubing and cooled back down to its liquid state.  The liquid is then collected in large containers.  

On the second floor of the museum offers its visitors an eloquently written Poli family history. The Poli family began making Grappa in 1898, and is still making Grappa today. Grappa making is clearly a family passion.  The contraption pictured below is a modified locomotive steam engine converted to make a portable distillery once used by the Poli family.  

The final room of the museum is dedicated to an extensive Grappa bottle collection. Grappa bottles line lighted shelves showcasing a variety of Grappa bottles shapes and displaying all the various labels. 

Thinking of making your own Grappa?  Think again, by law Grappa is exclusive produced in Italy through the direct distillation of grape marc.  And apparently it is no easy task to make a distillate from the solid grape marc, but rather takes years of experience.  

From the words of Jacopo Poli, " I am determined to continue the tradition and to make people understand and appreciate the hard work, the constancy but, above all, the kind of Love which is part of a Distillate, a total Love for our art, for our world, a Love without which nothing would be possible."

You can really work up an appetite touring the Grappa museum.  A light Pizza lunch is recommended.

And after touring the museum, a visit to the town of Bassano del Grappa is a must. 

The Brenta River at Dusk
If you would like to learn more about Grappa and the Grappa making process please visit and


  1. These are beautiful images of the museum, Daisey. Not being much of a fan of the potent potable, I've never visited this museum. Does John like it? A friend suggests that I try a nociola-flavored one...tastes like Nutella! This could be dangerous.
    Happy New Year!

  2. Happy New Year to you too, Dana! I wrote a lengthy response a few days ago and just now noticed it didn't post :o(
    Loved the museum and the history, even though I don't enjoy drinking the stuff. Apparently in Bassano del Grappa there is a place you can go and smell all the different flavors.