How Balsamic Vinegar is Made

Traditional aged balsamic vinegar comes from Modena or Reggio Emilia

Traditional balsamic vinegar is produced from the Trebbiano grape being made in Modena and Reggio Emilia since the Middle Ages by a careful fermentation process in cherished wooden casks.

The reduction of the grape creates a thick syrup called Mosto Culto in Italian. The Mosto Culto is aged in seven barrels each one getting smaller than the last. The barrels are manufactured from a variety of woods including chestnut, acacia, cherry, oak, mulberry, ash and Juniper (each one imparting its own unique flavor). It takes a staggering 800 gallons of grape juice to make 30 gallons of balsamic vinegar.

The balsamic vinegar from Modena has a special color coded cap labeling system, a cream cap signifies that it has been aged 12 years and a gold cap over 25 years. There are many mass-produced balsamic vinegars on the market made with artificial colorings and added flavorings, but only one is truly original and authentic – Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.

The Process of making Balsamic Vinegar:

The traditional method of making the vinegar is carefully overseen and takes years of fermentation and aging to get the best from the grapes. The grapes are reduced down to a Must or concentrated syrup. This highly prized syrup is added to barrels with an acetobacter or “mother” or a strong wine vinegar. The process is more often than not started in the warm summer months for optimal fermentation to occur. The vinegar is stored in wooden barrels, traditionally in the attics of Italian families.  In the winter, each barrel is topped off with the contents of the previous (larger) barrel, this process is called Rincato and the process of going between the casks is known as Travaso.

Balsamic vinegar of Modena in casks

The region of Modena is known around the world for its prestigious vinegar but it has only really come into the culinary spotlight in recent years, being used by creative chefs to add some pizazz to desserts, fish, fresh fruit and eggs. Just a few drops are needed to bring the dish to life. Italians have known this for centuries and families have a special place in their hearts for their vinegar. The vinegar would often be passed down from generation to generation.  In fact, there is a saying in Modena “who will first start the vinegar will not taste it, but his children or grandchildren will.”  The exquisite, hand crafted vinegar would be given to honored guests and nobility at family ceremonies and celebrations.

Our 150 year old Modena Balsamic Vinegar is the best in the World it comes in a box from the Giusti family the oldest producer in Modena. The box was made for a Charity Auction at the request of Luciano Pavorotti known as Lo Scigrio. It comes in a bottle designed by Giugiaro in 1870, which can be used solely for true balsamic vinegar produced in Modena.  With a refined, sweet and rich flavor, why not treat yourself and enjoy the fruits of an ancient and timeless Italian tradition, taking your place in history!

Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena


~ by blackstargourmet on March 31, 2010.

3 Responses to “How Balsamic Vinegar is Made”

  1. Thanks for sharing this. Just this past weekend, a friend asked ‘How do they make balsamic vinegar?’, and of course we didn’t know for sure. There is a beautiful flavor to this vinegar.

  2. DuoDishes: its wonderful and its amazing how long it takes to make

  3. Thanks for sharing this article. There are very few websites that features how balsamic vinegar is made.

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