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Waarom Amarone duur is

Waarom moet Amarone zo duur zijn? Dat heeft direct te maken met het proces, dat veel tijd kost. In de eerste plaats wordt Amarone gemaakt van topdruiven. Die worden altijd in trossen met de hand geoogst. Selectief nog wel, want de bessen mogen niet te dicht op elkaar zitten. Anders kan er geen lucht doorheen als ze enkele maanden in de droogkamer hangen of in kistjes zijn opgslagen. Tijdens het drogen verliezen de druiven 40 % van hun sap. Luigi Boemmi, wijnmaker bij Cesari, een van de bekendste Amarone-producenten, geeft uitleg:


“One may wonder why Amarone demands the price it does in today’s marketplace. Amarones are indeed some of the more expensive wines to be found on retailers’ shelves. Most consumers ask why the price is so high.

Knowing the unique process used to produce this wine, however, I sometimes wonder how Amarone producers make any money at all. While a typical bottle of high-end California wine will more often than not be dominated by costs related to marketing rather than actual wine production, Amarone producers are not so lucky.

 

Superior fruit

First off, to produce a quality Amarone, as with any ultra-premium wine, one must have access to superior fruit. So far so good. In the picking, however, extra care must be taken.

All fruit destined for Amarone production must be picked by hand, and the harvest in the vineyard must be strict. Not only must the individual bunches selected show even ripeness, but they must be carefully selected for having berries not too close to each other, allowing for even air flow during the appassimento, or drying process. It is not so much a harvest as a selection off the vine. This process, as one might imagine, is highly labor-intensive and requires a trained and trusted hand. And the unique and painstaking process of Amarone is only just begun.

For a minimum of 120 days the fruit is placed in a specially prepared facility called a “fruttai”, the need and investment for which is unique to the production of Amarone. Here the fruit is left to wither and dry in specially designed baskets which stack while allowing airflow to pass among the bunches. The baskets must be regularly rearranged by hand to allow for inspection during the drying process, removing spoiled, rotting or otherwise damaged fruit.

 


Trained labor

Once again, specially trained labor is required to ensure that the fruit dries evenly and is not exposed to spoilage. During this process the fruit loses about 40% of its juice. To make a bottle of wine in a normal winery, one normally would need about 1-1.2 kg of fruit; but to make Amarone – because so much of that juice is lost in this process – 2-2.5kg of fruit are needed. This is juice that other wineries in other regions can crush and produce and profit from.

This method also puts Amarone producers 3 to 4 months behind all other wineries in terms of production schedule and this as well incurs added costs. Add to this process the usual costs involved in ageing, cellaring, expensive oak barrels, transport, taxes, marketing, PR and importer and distributor margins and one begins to wonder not why is Amarone so expensive but, frankly, why other wines cost so much”.

(Source: The Reverse Winesnob)