Wine guides

How to become distiller master

diventare mastro distillatore, esempio di distillato - EFW
Written by EFW Staff

The tool of distiller master: the Alembic

Distiller master has to be considered as a craftsman. With the same working tools, the results can be different. The passion and experience that each master owns are unique and unbelievable. Distiller master uses the Alembic to produce distillates. They, under a visual analysis can seems the same but, analyzing them deeply they are pretty different.
The distillation starts with the heating of the pomace. This first phase allow to eliminate the most volatile substances that give a bitter taste to the distillate. During the heating, water and alcohol start evaporating, as they reach their boiling points. To obtain a good quality distillate it is necessary to address the different phases of the process. The technique of  head-earth-tail  consists in selecting the result of the distillation. The head contains the substances that evaporate for first. They are the most toxic and unpleasant among which methyl alcohol. The heart contains instead the most noble substances of the distillate. Here ethyl alcohol, aromas and notes are concentrated, to make the product fine and elegant. The tail is made of fat and oily substances, that should be delated.
The distillation, thus, is a delicate operation that take place based on the experience of the distiller master.

Becoming distiller master

The distiller master is pretty similar to a maestro. He is able to put together in a single symphony the notes played by different instruments. The instruments alone won’t be enough, but if they play together they create a perfect melody. The distiller master, instead of using his/her hearing, use the sense of smell.

The courses to become distiller master are organized by specific institution; the aim of the course is to have the necessary basics to use the tools of distillation. Anyone who comes from oenological or agricultural institutions can make part of the courses.
Theoretical lectures are alternated to practice ones with internship in the distillery. For this reason it is easier to participate to the courses organized in some regions like Trentino, Veneto, Piedmont, Friuli because they are an example of reasons where the organization of the courses is easier

Subjects included in the study plan

first phase involves the analysis of vineyard and cellar conditions. The pomace, in fact, is the fruit of the work done for the production of wine. Care for grapes and must is the basis for obtaining good distillate. The study of microbiology of pomace, in particular, makes it possible to understand whether they are of good quality and without bacterial contamination.
The second phase of the course involves the distillation test. Once the product has been distilled, the product must be stabilized. The refining in barrels or bottles is one of the topics discussed.
When you are familiar with the distillation process you can move to branding. It tries to convey the concept of olfactory complexity to future distillate masters. A vine that has its typical aromatic nature can be cut with another one which exalts its aromas. The participants’ senses are stimulated so that they can create an olfactory bag that will accompany them throughout their course.
The course will be completed with a study of the market and consumers. Tastes and trends vary from year to year, preferring a product compared to another. The master distiller must be able to anticipate trends and be a good communicator.

diventare mastro distillatore, esempio di distillato - EFW

Legislation for the distillates

A master distiller at the end of the course will be aware of all the rules governing the world of distillation. Starting a distillery involves fulfilling tax obligations towards the state and also knowing how to handle a tax inspection. Ultimately, you will not miss a good preparation on ISO Certification and HACCP.
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EFW Staff