A post on this blog about the Poli Grappa Museum may sound strange. In fact many of you already know the horrible truth about me. I do not drink alcohol. I don’t particularly like it. And this seems to be a huge problem… for the others. Yes. You have to know that the Veneto region is one of the biggest wine producers in Italy. Its most famous wines are Prosecco, Amarone, Valpolicella, Colli Euganei… just to name a few.
In Italy, Venetians are famous for their high alcohol tolerance. So the few poor astemi [ah – STEH- mee], i.e. non-drinkers, are pointed at and mocked by their own friends (not by the closest, luckily). As for who comes from other Italian areas, they look at you with astonishment and suspect. “What? You’re Veneta and you do not drink wine! I always thought that all Veneti drank a lot. It’s impossible!”. Well, no… it’s not. I don’t understand why people bother so much. What do they care?
Anyhow, soon after leaving Marostica to get home, we spotted a seemingly industrial brick building with the sign Poli Grappa Museum. “Matteo stop. Let’s go and take a look inside. Maybe it’s interesting for my readers. Plus, you could buy a bottle for yourself”. Yes, he drinks. He is a “proper” Veneto! He was in fact immediately convinced.
Poli Grappa Museum Our Experience
We entered and what a sight! A perfectly clean, neat and elegant shop, full of shelving displaying dozens of different bottles, provided with coffee bar, a couple of leather armchairs and a peculiar Olfactometer. You press the button and a soft mist comes out. You have to smell and identify the taste. The best one? Raspberry (ok, I’m biased, I love raspberries). Some of them were not working. Others emanated an alcoholic smell so intense that I feared to get drunk!
The girl at the counter was super kind. She invited us to visit the museum. The exhibition was partly on the ground floor and party upstairs. She also said that we could have joined a guided tour to visit museum and distillery within 40 minutes. But we declined. We were already tired. Plus the tour would have lasted 90 minutes. The visit to the museum only was nevertheless satisfying. There are plenty of information.
The museum has 6 areas:
- The Origins of Distillation
- Distillation Plants
- Grape Marc – characteristics of the raw materials
- The Poli family
- Grappa history, with a impressive collection of bottles (about 2.000)
- Selection of books (coming from the Bassano Library, 1.600 books about the history of grappa)
We discovered for example that
- The Poli family started producing grappa in 1898. The great grandfather, who produced straw hats, loved grappa and built a little home made distillery.
- Grappa is the only distillate in the whole world to be obtained putting in the alembic a solid raw material, the grape pomace
- Starting from 100 kg of grapes you can obtain 100 bottles of wine and only 2 bottles of grappa.
- The term grappa may come from grappulus, meaning bunch of grapes.
- Once, the upper classes privileged wine and the grape marc left to the farmers who used to obtain grappa from it.
- The first essay on the preparation of grappa was written by the Paduan doctor Michele Savonarola in 1400s.
- People can use the leftovers of grape marc as organic fertilizer or biomass.
At the end of the visit Matteo bought a bottle of Chamomile Elixir. Just in time! The group for the guided tour arrived. They were 50, and not very polite. So we ran off as soon as possible! I really enjoyed this visit. The museum is neat, modern and interesting. There is a also clean rest room. If you like grappa I sincerely suggest you the detour. It is only 6 minutes by car from Marostica.
“La Grappa (singular) does not exist. There are le Grappe (plural), each one is different.
Because different are: the vine, the still, the marc, the vintage, the aging, the style of the producer…”
Poli Grappa Museum
via G. Marconi, 36 – Schiavon (Vicenza)
Monday – Saturday
8.30am – 1am / 2pm – 7pm