Northern League senators propose legalization of homemade grappa

According to a report published last week by the Italian news agency ANSA, Italian senators Enrico Montani and Sergio Divina have proposed legislation that would legalize the production of homemade grappa, a traditional distillate made from the solids of wine must after vinification. Both senators are members of the populist Lega Nord (Northern League) party. The proposed legislation was met with opposition by some of Italy’s leading distillate producers, including Andrea Maschio, producer of the popular grappa, Prime Uve.

“Those who produce grappa,” said Maschio to La Tribuna di Treviso, “need to submit [their distillates] to a series of tests, regulations, and technical requirements that have been created for health safety. I believe that the distillers association will have something to say in this matter.”

The proposed bill would allow home-distillers to produce up to 30 liters per year, as long as the grappa meets safety requirements. Home-distillers would not be allowed to sell their grappa but they would be permitted to serve it in agriturismi, “farm-to-table” farm house establishments, where proprietors generally serve artisanal products.

Opponents note that inspection of home-distillers would be nearly impossible because of the number of potential producers and that homemade grappa would continue to pose a health risk.

Supporters believe that the legislation would help to revive a nearly extinct tradition of artisanal distillation.

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