Deepen your knowledge about the world of grappa: we have compiled a glossary of terms and definitions that will make you a true specialist of grappa.
To learn more, click on letters.


Organoleptically they give a classic taste noticeable at the edges of the tongue.
In grappa the most representative acid is the acetic.


Permanence of grappa in wooden casks for a quite long time in order to obtain a beverage with organoleptic characteristics different from those original and of greater value. At this stage the primary aromas (from grapes) and the secondary ones (from production processes), are replaced by tertiary typical of the various methods of ageing.

Alcohol concentration

Concentration, expressed in percentage by volume, which identifies the presence of alcohol in a given liquid solution.

Alcohol content

Percentage of ethyl alcohol present in a liquid.

Alcohol extraction

Extraction of alcohol from a substance, done bringing it to a boil.


It is the amount of ethyl alcohol present in a watery solution.


Series of organic compounds.
In grappa it can be distinguished: the methyl alcohol, present in very small amounts, but always kept under surveillance because it is to avoid beyond extremely low limits; the ethyl alcohol, very important to be used as a benchmark for the commercialization of spirits; the higher alcohols which have a crucial role in the structure and the bouquet. The latter determines the alcohol strength in beverages.


Equipment suitable to transform a liquid into its vapour phase and then to turn it back into liquid.
The most elementary alembic is constituted by a heat source, a closed boiler where the liquid is present, a manifold which conveys the vapours in a refirgerant that condenses them again.


It is a process which enables, through the direct infusion of medicinal herbs infusion or addition of water and ethanol in grappa, to obtain a new distillate with new organoleptic characteristics determined by the predominance of the characterizing element’s aroma rather than the typical grappa aroma.


Unicellular microorganisms of different shapes (for example ball or rod) that replicate by fission. If not carefully controlled at each step of the production of grappa, from the picking of the grapes to the ageing in barrels, they can bear negative effects to the organoleptic characteristics of the product.


Wooden barrel with a capacity normally between 225 and 228 litres used for the fermentation or the ageing of wine and spirits.


A mixture of distillates having different characteristics, in order to obtain a single mass of liquor with the desired characteristics.


Term used to indicate the heat generator, therefore the steam. The alembic is the part in which the liquid to be distilled is introduced.


French word that literally means “little wood, bunch of flowers and smells.”
Organoleptic examination is used to indicate the set of smells emanating from the pleasant grappa.

Column for distillation

Equipment that, during the distillation, allows to obtain in a single step the concentration of alcohol vapours and / or the separation of certain substances.
It is made up of a long copper or steel cylinder which allows the fractionation, the rectification and the subsequent sampling of various elements present in alcohol vapours coming from the raw materials, heated and or boiling.


The basic form of cutting apt to decrease the concentration of a particular component in a liquid mixture. Grappa and distilled spirits in high alcoholic strengths, even above 80 % alc/vol, are diluted with demineralized water until the desired alcoholic content, generally 40 % alc/vol, making the so-called reduction in grade.


Separation by heating and subsequently condensation of vapours of substances with different volatility.


A place designed for production of distillates.


Generic name which includes beverages with a high alcohol content (over 30 degrees but on average from 40 to 50) obtained by distillation of raw alcohol materials; wine (brandy, cognac, armagnac, etc..), marc (grappa, etc..) ciders of fruits (calvados, slivowitz, kirsch, prunella, williams, etc..) sugar cane molasses (rum, etc..) cereals (whiskey, vodka, bourbon, etc..), agave (tequila).

Ectolitre of anhydrous alcohol

Unit of measure used in the commercialization of grappa corresponding to 100 liters of anhydrous alcohol, that is to say 100 alcohol strength.


Organic substances of fundamental importance that produced by yeasts, bacteria and molds, are able to catalyze chemical and biochemical reactions in various fermentations of marcs.


The passage of the raw material from the liquid to the gaseous state, the vapour.


Group of biochemical processes that, through yeasts, converts substances into others. In the marcs you can have fermentation of sugars, acids, alcohols or proteins. The first one is the most desired and implemented of these substances, in which sugars are converted into alcohol, with the consequent formation of other important substances such as the secondary aromas.


Operation which consists of passing the grappa through a filter able to retain the constituents of turbidity.


Small container of different shape, material and dimensions, which used for drinking or performing the organoleptic and sensory analysis of a beverage.
For a taste of grappa a glass or crystal clear stem glass is used, colouorless and odorless, tulip-shaped, very suitable even for regular consumption of grappa.

Grape brandy

Grape obtained by distilling grapes destemmed, pressed and fermented.

Grape harvest

It occurs at the moment of favorable maturity, chosen accordingly the needs of the final product to be obtained.

Grape must

Liquid product which is obtained from fresh grapes, with or without stalks by crushing or pressing. The must is turned into wine by alcoholic fermentation made from yeasts, transforming from a sugary liquid (must) to an alcoholic liquid (wine).


A vine fruit consisted of grapes attached to the stalk, forming the bunch.


Seeds contained in the grape.

Grape Variety

This term identifies a specific variety of vine. In the jargon of grappa, this term is used to indicate an eau-de-vie derived exclusively from marcs of a particular variety that are purity processed, such as Frattina Grappas single grape varieties.


Resulting from the distillation of marcs in Italy.


Collection of bottles of grappa. It can be a simple household collection of bottles or within a stock of vintage wines with a considerable space to distillates.


First parts of the spirit obtained by distillation. They are rich of unpleasant parts, separated from the heart and then rejoined to the tails, which are eliminated from the final distillate.


Term used to indicate the noble fraction of grappa, taken after having discarded, during the distillation, the heads that first pass in the column, and before the arrival of the products of the tail. It represents the best grappa, with the finest organoleptic characteristics.


It is formed from the peel, the residual pulp and grapestones, after the crushing and extraction of the must for the production of wine. Most of the flavorings and colouring substances are contained inside the marc; this is the raw material from which the Grappa is obtained after its fermentation and subsequent distillation.

Organoleptic test

Operation performed by a skilled and qualified person, who gives an objective judgment on the organoleptic qualities of grappa using sight, smell and taste senses.

Primary flavours

Aromatic substances naturally present in grapes, which determine the aroma and taste of grappa and other spirits.
The primary aromas are therefore those that directly derive from the fruit of origin.


Alcoholic liquids, which are derived from the first stage of distillation. They contain water, alcohol and a large amount of impurities, which are then largely eliminated.


Chemical index of acidity and alkalinity of a substance.
Ph 1 = maximum acidity, pH 7 = neutrality, pH = 14 maximum alkalinity.


Colouring substances and tannins in marcs that are removed during the distillation of grappa. In grappas, but only in those aged, you can find only the tannins from the wood of the casks in which they are placed for the ageing process.


It is performed to remove impurities from the distillate. In the distillation step, this process occurs by separating accurately the heads and tails from the heart.

Reduction of the alcohol content

It consists of adding demineralized water to the grappa in order to bring it from the gradation of distillation (even up to 86 degrees) to that of consumption, 38/50 degrees.


Cooling action with the aim at making the undesirable substances of the distillate insoluble, and thus separable from the grappa by filtration.

Secondary flavours

Aromas that arise from transformation of grapes or marcs in spirit, for example by fermentation.

Sensory Analysis

It’s a scientific discipline that consists of evaluating the characteristics of a product through the senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch.


Part of the still with a spiral form which serves to condense, bringing the hydroalcoholic vapours back to the liquid phase thanks to the drop of the temperature.


Operation previous to the bottling with the aim at making the grappa clear and stable over time.


It is the remaining part of the bunch of grapes when the grapes are subtracted (or beans).


They consist of last substances separated during the distillation of marcs, as they are heavier than others in the liquid.
Since some of these substances have negative organoleptic characteristics, tails must be present in the right quantities in the grappa.


Person with specific experience and technical knowledge, able to evaluate objectively a grappa and assess it in a classification of merit, giving a score.

Tasting sheet

A guiding tool used by tasters for the organoleptic test of a certain food. The card consists of a standard form in which the assessments are transcribed to examine the appearance, smell and taste.

Tertiary flavour

Aromas derived from subsequent processes of aging, such as the ageing in wooden barrels. These cover the primary and secondary aromas characterizing the final product.

Varietal flavours

Primary flavors typical of the specific vineyard of origin (eg Chardonnay, Aglianico, Traminer, Prosecco etc).


Since ancient times it was a climbing shrub widely cultivated for its white or red fruits (grapes).


Plot of land planted with vines.


Product of the alcoholic fermentation of musts from fresh grapes or slightly dried.


Unicellular microorganisms able to produce enzymes and perform fermentations. The most important yeasts for the fermentations of grapes and marcs belong to the genus Saccharomyces, which ferment the sugars, transforming them into alcohol.