People have been asking, “what exactly is the difference between vodka from grapes and grappa?” First, we are mandated by the TTB (Tax and Trade Bureau) to use their terminology on our labels. With that in mind, vodka by their definition has to be distilled to 95% alcohol or greater, from any material, and “needs to be neutral spirits distilled or treated after distillation with charcoal so as to be without character, aroma, taste, or color.”
Grappa, according to the TTB, is a type of brandy. Brandy by their definition are spirits distilled from fermented fruit at less than 95% ABV (Alcohol by Volume) and must also have the taste characteristics generally attributed to brandy. All Brandy is “grape” unless stated otherwise. (IE…Peach Brandy)
Now, more specifically, Grappa is a type of Pomace or Marc Brandy, meaning, it’s a brandy distilled from the skin and pulp of sound ripe fruit after the withdrawl of the juice.
So what does this all mean?
Our Vodka from Grapes is a product made from Vidal grape skins and pulp taken from Shade Winery estate grown fruit directly after pressing. We rehydrated and re-pressed this pomace and then fermented this “small wine”. After fermentation, we ran this small wine through our stripping still which produced a “low wine” as we distillers call it, which is about 45% abv. This product was then distilled in our rectification still which brought the alcohol by volume up to 96%.
Even though we began much like one of many methods of Grappa production, we distilled to such a purity, we could not call our product a Grappa.
I must say, though, the more one tastes vodkas from all different raw ingredients, the more one can pick out the original ingredients. Grape is definitely a background, if even tertiary, character which you may discern with some comparisons over time. It is indeed a joy to taste it next to our organic corn based vodka to see a marked difference.