Sidewinder Spirits Company is introducing two new clear spirits this fall: traditional Grappa and rare Eau de Vie de Vin. Each of these two spirits is unique, both in the way they are produced and in how they taste. Because we are the only ones producing these spirits locally, they may be unfamiliar to many of you.
Grappa is distilled from the skins and seeds of the grapes after the wine has been pressed out at the end of fermentation. The pressings, which contain residual alcohol, are known as the pomace, and sometimes you will see Grappa sold as pomace brandy. Fine Grappa is a laborious process that requires careful handling of the pomace as well as special Grappa stills to keep the skins from burning.
Fine grappa requires fresh pomace, and because it is rare to have a distillery located near the winery, a costly effort is required to prevent the skins from spoiling. I believe that there is no winery where the still sits as close to the wine press as Sidewinder. Sidewinder is unique to have the perfect Grappa still within a few feet of where Occasio’s wine is pressed – and in the same building! Fresh pomace allows us to capture more of the grape’s aromas in the distillate and provide a smoother spirit.
Eau de Vie de Vin is also a rare spirit. Though there are several distilleries producing a product called Eau de Vie, these are usually distillates of fruits other than grape. Outside of the French producers of Cognac and Armagnac, production of a clear Eau de Vie from grapes is uncommon. Instead, most grape spirits are barrel aged into brandy, which allows the distiller higher margins on their product.
Grappa and Eau de Vie de Vin join our sweet and dry vermouths as part of the gradual expansion of the Sidewinder portfolio. From last year’s harvest, we also have an alembic brandy aging in the barrel that, when released many years hence, will complete our portfolio of grape-based spirits.
Sidewinder is also crafting grain spirits – gin, bourbon, rye, and single malt. We are close to approving a juniper-focused gin and hope to have the first bottling by next spring. And for the dark spirits, we now have a bourbon and rye whiskey aging in barrels. Very limited in production, these spirits won’t be available for many years. However, the lucky members of the Occasio Society will have a chance to share in their development when we hold our private barrel tastings.
To learn more about our Eau de Vie you can click on the image below for a one minute video.