Like the ancients: producing wine in amphora


A Frascati winery is promoting the rediscovery of winemaking in amphora: we tell you the story of the Imperatori winery.

Not just steel and wood: the renewed interest in vinification in amphora is growing. Whether for fermentation or aging, the use of terracotta is an ancestral practice , once common throughout the Mediterranean basin, which is still very widespread especially in Georgia. In Frascati , on the outskirts of Rome, Cantina Imperatori is a young company with an approach free from preconceptions,a young reality in Frascati is rediscovering winemaking in amphoraable to combine the productive vocation of the territory with the desire to look beyond. On the one hand, the focus is on the rediscovery of indigenous vines, on the other hand we allow ourselves the freedom to devote ourselves to international varieties as well. In this context, suspended between experimentation and respect for tradition, the Amphora Project, the first in Lazio, is inserted. Six months after the harvest, our visit to the company coincided with the drawing off of the three amphorae in the cellar. After this operation, a couple of useful days followed for decanting, in order to make the wine ready to be bottled. The oenologist Angelo Giovannini revealed the details of this interesting project to us.

The grapes used

Although the vinification in amphora mainly concerns red wines, it was chosen to produce a white starting from a non-aromatic grape such as Trebbiano Verde .

The amphorae

The amphorae, from the point of view of capacity and material, can be of different types depending on what you want to get. Those used by Imperatori are produced, in collaboration with the University of Udine, by a furnace specialized in the production of ceramic stoves. Internally they are not enameled or covered with beeswax as is usually done but, thanks to a special mixture, the wine is prevented from leaking without giving up measured oxygenation.

The use of peels

In order to enhance the peculiarities of the fruit, the skins were left in contact with the liquid for the entire 6-month period. A prolonged maceration thanks to which it was possible to extract all the typical scents of the grape.

The fermentation

The fermentation took place, without the addition of selected yeasts , completely in the 300-liter amphorae kept in an ancient Roman gallery, where they enjoy a stable temperature. After the tumultuous fermentation the amphorae were closed again. The endogenous carbon dioxide produced therefore remained inside, acting as a true natural antiseptic.

Ideas for the future

According to the oenologist Angelo Giovannini, the possibility of trying to repeat the operation with Cesanese , another type of grape that has interesting potential compared to the hypothesis of vinifying in amphora, with prolonged maceration of the skins , is not excluded .


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