If the story of the wine begins in the vineyard with the attentive care of the vines, the winery is the space where the qualities of the vineyards are clearly reflected.
It is not just a matter of technique and technology. It is the presence of man with intelligence and creativity to translate the various stages of production along a path to achieve the highest quality wine.
The individual technological stages generally correspond to different parts of the cantina, where various operations are carried out to promote the best possible result.
With the arrival of the grapes at the winery, the first stage is pressing for white wines and then pressing for reds. In the case of white wines, a pneumatic press is used to gently compress the grapes, which derives a pleasant juice that is at the same time sweet and tangy. In the case of red wines, the pressing is done with a roller machine that crushes the grapes and separates the grapes and their valuable contents from the stems, which are then used for other agricultural purposes. In this case, the juice is tends to be darker, with reddish reflections due to the presence of the skins, which color the wine.
The work then moves in the section of the winery dedicated to fermentation, a spacious and well ventilated area, where the fermentation phase is carried out in stainless steel temperature controlled tanks. It is the operational nerve center of the winemaking process and must be managed carefully because affects the future quality of the wine.
In the case of white wines, fermentation temperatures do not exceed 18°C in order to preserve the delicate perfumes, while for red wines, the temperatures are higher, but never above 29 - 30°C.
The juice of red grapes, which also contain the skins and seeds follows a more complex fermentation process: the skins must be in constant contact with the liquid and for this reason it is periodically moved by pumping over or “punching”. The maceration time (contact between the liquid and the skins) is different depending on the wine variety and in general is longer for more structured wines which are intended for aging and shorter in the case of younger, fresher and easy to drink wines.
After fermentation, with or without maceration on the skins, the new wine is drawn off and transferred into a clean container. The wine is sent to a new section in the cantina to allow it to mature and clarify. It is in this area of the winery that the wines develop the second fermentation, the one known as "malolactic” fermentation. During this time the malic acid, which is more aggressive on the palate, is converted into lactic acid, which is softer.
After this step the wines are ready for consumption - whites and young reds - mature in steel or concrete tanks. In these environments, clean and cozy, the wines lose their sharpness of youth and any remaining residues of the fermentation sink to the bottom of the tank.
The more structured wines, white or red, after a short time (a few months) spent resting in stainless steel or concrete tanks are sent to wooden barrels for a gradual maturation process. They can be large casks (Slovenian and French oak casks from 30 - 50 hectoliters) or smaller barrels (barriques or tonneaux) of French oak and this depends on the type of wine and result to be achieved.
The time spent in the various types of barrels also varies according to the wine and final results desired. In general, we use a maturation period ranging from 12 to 18 months.
After the crucial stage of maturation, the wine can follow two paths: to continue its preservation in storage rooms to be sold in bulk or proceed to the room destined for bottling.
The storage rooms are generally the same, where the wine continues its maturation process. Simply put, the wines are stored in containers of various sizes and capacity will remain there pending subsequent production decisions. It is well-ventilated, kept at fairly low and constant temperatures, away from light and temperature fluctuation to encourage a perfect conservation of the wines.
When this phase of maturation is completed and the wine has achieved a good level of harmony and balance, it is ready for bottling: the operation of the passage of the wine to the bottle is in a specific environment with strict hygienic controls with a bottling line that has two essential machines, the filler which transfers the wine into the bottle and the capper which closes the container with a cork or screw cap, depending on the wine.
The last step is the labeling of the bottle, which can immediately follow the bottling or can occur after a resting time, in this is the case the bottle is stored without a label in a protected part of the cellar, temperature controlled without light, movement and noise.
Dressed up or dressed simply, every bottle of the wine from Cantina del Nebbiolo concludes its journey on the consumer's table. And it is here that the feast begins, when a bottle is opened and the character of the wine is expressed and it is ready for a new toast!