The Veneto and Friuli–Venezia Giulia Feature
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The Rise of Grappa
The Veneto and neighboring Friuli–Venezia Giulia produce Italy's most popular brandy, grappa, distilled from the skins, seeds, and stems of many types of grapes left over after wine making. Commercial production began in Bassano del Grappa in the 18th century, and for many years it was considered a rough drink—potent, harsh going down, and cheap. In the 1970s more-refined grappas, from single-grape varieties or selected blends, began to appear, and what had been a mere wine by-product was elevated to a higher status. Although "grappas" are now produced all over Italy, to be a Grappa D.O.C, it must be produced in the Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, or Trentino Alto Adige. Excellent distillations are produces in other areas, but they must be labeled "acqua vite," and not "grappa." These days many Italians, especially in the northeast, finish off even the most elegant meal with a glass of carefully selected grappa. There are now several major producers in the region, along with countless small enterprises.
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