Wine News — 14 November 2012

A proprietary new temperature controlled drying room facility that optimally manages humidity and air flow can produce superior fruit for appassimento-style wine production and increase competitiveness for Canadian wineries.

(VINELAND, ON) Rennie Estate Winery and Angels Gate Winery have partnered with Vineland Research and Innovation Centre to pioneer the development of a locally-adapted, high-efficiency technique for drying grapes in the appassimento style.

This process, which has traditionally been used for the production of Amarone, a richly flavoured Italian wine, has tremendous potential for local production of premium vintages in an otherwise heavily imported market place. The process also helps to mitigate risk for various production pitfalls such as poor climatic conditions.

Although a small number of wineries are utilizing various drying techniques to dry grapes, current applications are not optimal and do not mitigate the risk of mold efficiently. Bernard Goyette, Vineland’s biosystems engineer is assessing drying variables such as air flow rate, humidity and temperature control on grape quality with a specific focus on Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon varieties. Research results will be available as early as January 2013.

Appassimento is an Old World drying technique that has been practiced in Italy for more than a century. Research will focus on adapting the process to local grape varieties and local climatic conditions in the interest of developing a premium wine category for Ontario wineries. John Young, President, Angels Gate Winery and Graham Rennie, owner of Rennie Estate Winery are producing full bodied Appassimento wines today and believe that in the near future, locally-produced amarone style wines from Ontario will create a new wine category for consumers to enjoy.

“Consumers are asking for local, premium products and this process provides wineries the opportunity to deliver a niche product that offers excellent return potential,” advises John Young. “Come early 2013, we will be meeting with wineries across the country to discuss specifics of the drying process and the potential for large scale, commercial drying facilities.”

This initiative is another example of how industry-focused research at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre is supporting growth and success in the Canadian horticulture industry. Funding for this project was received in part from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP), which supports the development and commercialization of innovative new products, technologies, and processes for the agricultural sector.



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