The road is truly long before a cluster of grapes becomes Franciacorta.
The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, hand-picked into 20kg-boxes, are brought to the press house, where they are separated into homogeneous lots according to grape variety, vineyard, and grape composition characteristics. The whole clusters are then loaded into inclined-plane presses, which exert a slow, progressive, and very delicate pressure.
The clear, fragrant must is divided into four separate quality fractions, and after a chilled gravity-settling for clarity, the fermentation takes place in steel tanks or in oak barrels.
Following initial fermentation and of malolactic–the latter just on certain lots–, selected lots of base wines are given further maturation and bâttonage, which adds structure and aromatic complexity. The base wines then rest in steel or oak, and are analysed and tasted, in order to decide their final destination.
In January of the following year, the winemaking staff begins the cuvée tasting trials, a very complex process, since it involves 150 base wines.
After addition of the liqueur de tirage, the bottles are placed in stacks in the historic cellars, where they undergo the secondary fermentation and successive maturation sur lie, which varies from a minimum of 18 months to more than 6 years. Following riddling and disgorgement, the wine is given further bottle-ageing, and then it is ready for release.
The commitment to sustainability continues in the winecellar as well. Any kind of waste is prevented. Water, for example, is of course crucial for cleanliness of work areas and equipment, and has already cut in half the litres necessary for the production of one bottle of classic-method wine.
Berlucchi has already eliminated use of allergenic substances from its production process, such as eggs and milk. It is also a participant in the Ita.Ca initiative, which monitors and reduces CO2 emissions; an extensive solar-panel system was installed on the winecellar roof, which now supplies 35% of the energy needed by the winery operations