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Strawberry Grape

Making wine out of strawberry

UvaViva Americana is a grape brandy created in 1985. Initially it was called Chiara di Fragola but many clients, confusing fragole (strawberries) with uva fragola (American Isabella grapes), thought it was a fruit distillate.

I decided therefore to change its name to UvaViva Americana.

Uva Fragola or Isabella was imported from America in 1820 by Isabella Gibbs, who gave it her name. Here in Veneto it is commonly called Uva Americana because of its origin.  Like other varieties of the Vitis Lambrusca species it was used as a rootstock for European vines against phylloxera, being resistant to the disease that decimated the vineyards of half of Europe in the mid 19th century.

European wine producers, however, made sure it was forbidden to make wine from it for commercial purposes, fearing that the American varieties might supplant the noble Cabernet, Merlot and Pinot.

Fragolino wine

A couple of rows of uva Fragola were however planted in each vineyard of the Vicenza area and the grapes used to give a fruity and intense note to the wine produced for family consumption.

It is difficult today to find a true fragolino wine and the few farmers who make it from pure uva Fragola grapes are very careful not to sell it to the first passer-by.

The fragolino that you find in supermarkets is nothing more than red wine flavoured with strawberry juice, a nice commercial gimmick devised by a producer who was clever enough to use a name that was neither registered nor included in the ‘official’ wines list.

The first time we tried to make wine from uva Fragola we used the carbonic maceration technique in fiberglass tanks. 

UvaViva Americana

I got inside the tank and as Bruno Pajetta, our master cooper, threw in one box of grapes after the other, I pressed the grapes with my feet to prepare the layer that would start off fermentation and thus develop the carbon dioxide required for the remaining grapes, on top of the first layer, to ferment.

A few days later, as it seemed to me that fermentation had not started yet, I decided to go into the tank again to press the grapes better.  At one point I felt my strength failing me and I just managed to say “Bruno, get me out of here”.

Luckily he was there, and he pulled me out.
I owe it to him if I can tell today how carbonic maceration works.  

Jacopo Poli



Raw material: Fragola grape from Marostica hills (Veneto)
Distillation: artisanal, in small lots, with a discontinuous bain-marie still
Aroma: red berries, vermouth, honey, violet
Taste: full-bodied, charming, autumnal
% Alc - Content: 40% Alc./Vol - 700 ml
Service: at temperature of 10/15 °C - 50/59 °F in a tulip-shaped glass

UvaViva Rossa di Poli with metal tube - Grape Brandy