For as long as people have been making wine they have been producing wine from dried grapes. Appassimento is the common term for wines made from grapes that are dried before crushing and fermenting.
This process, widely practiced in Veneto, must occur on specially designed trays, and temperature-controlled rooms with good air circulation.
It is important to dry only ripe bunches that have been selected specially for this procedure.
On the island of Pantelleria, winemakers also dry grapes for the famous sweet wine Moscato di Pantelleria.
In Tuscany, winery dry bunches which hang from the ceiling then use the dry grapes to make their ambrosial sweet wine.
In Ontario, winemakers use old tobacco drying kilns to increase the concentration of the sugars are flavours. This results in deeply flavoured, and highly alcoholic wines ranging from 13 – 15.4 per cent alcohol by volume.
Appassimento is a labour of love that comes at a cost, and the loss of moisture (up top 30 percent), which causes reduced yield. Appassimento wines cost more than regularly produced wines.
In Veneto, most wineries use the lees of amarone wines to fortify both flavour, and alcohol content by incorporating some into standard Valpolicella and re-fermenting it.
In Ontario Burning Kiln, Vieni Estates, and The Foreign Affair wineries use appassimento technique for their superior quality wines.
The Stick Shaker Savagnin 2012, Aglianico 2011 from Vieni Estate, and the Conspiracy 2012 from the Foreign Affaire are available at the Vintages as well as several amarone wines from Veneto.