Experience the Art of Balsamic Making in Reggio Emilia’s “Acetaie Aperte” Open Farms

The Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia, or Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia, is a unique culinary product that embodies the rich history and tradition of the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy. Produced from the noble art of fermentation, maturation, and aging of cooked grape must in wooden barrels, this gastronomic gem has earned a significant place in the culinary world.

Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia

The making of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia traces its roots back to ancient times. It was a highly prized condiment in the noble courts of the Duchy of Modena and Reggio Emilia. The meticulous process of crafting this elixir has been handed down from generation to generation, becoming an essential part of the region’s cultural heritage.

The production process begins with cooking grape must over a direct flame until its volume is reduced by half. This must is then left to ferment naturally in a series of barrels made from different types of wood, such as chestnut, cherry, oak, mulberry, ash, and juniper. This array of barrels imparts distinctive characteristics and complexity to the vinegar.

The maturation process, which lasts a minimum of 12 years, involves a unique method called the ‘solera system’. This entails annually transferring a small quantity of vinegar from a larger barrel to a smaller one in the series. The largest barrel is then refilled with new cooked must. This process yields a vinegar with a complex, multi-layered taste profile and a balance of sweet and sour flavors.

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia is classified into three categories based on its aging process:

Lobster Label: Aged for a minimum of 12 years. This vinegar has a rich, full-bodied flavor, perfect for salad dressings or drizzling over vegetables.
Silver Label: Aged for a minimum of 18 years. This vinegar is denser and more complex, suitable for grilled meats or fish.
Gold Label: Aged for a minimum of 25 years. This precious condiment offers the most complex and nuanced flavors, ideal for cheese, fruits, or even desserts.

Like any artisanal product, the production of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia is governed by strict regulations to maintain its authenticity and quality. The Consortium of Producers of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia oversees these rules and also carries out rigorous tasting tests before the vinegar can carry the DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) label.

Beyond its unique taste and rich history, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia also tells a story of the Italian passion for good food, heritage, and meticulous craftsmanship. This enchanting condiment continues to win the hearts of gourmets worldwide, and is a testament to the culinary tradition and excellence of the Emilia-Romagna region.

Discover the traditional craft of balsamic vinegar production at the heart of Reggio Emilia during the “Acetaie Aperte” (“Open Vinegar Factories”) event, held on April 15-16, 2023. This annual occasion offers a unique opportunity for food enthusiasts, culinary professionals, and curious travellers to tour local acetaie (vinegar factories) and engage with the passionate artisans who uphold this centuries-old Italian tradition.

Here are the acetaie you can visit during the Acetaie Aperte event:

Acetaia Al Livel is a renowned balsamic vinegar producer located in the beautiful town of Gualtieri at Via Pieve 94/A. This charming establishment warmly welcomes visitors who are interested in experiencing their exquisite balsamic vinegar production process. To make an appointment to visit Acetaia Al Livel, you can reach out to Simonazzi Fabio via email at [email protected] or by calling 0522 22 00 31. The visiting hours are as follows: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm on both Saturdays and Sundays. This is a unique opportunity to witness firsthand the meticulous crafting of their exceptional balsamic vinegar. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable experience at Acetaia Al Livel!

Acetaia Comunale Rupe di Canossa
A visit to this vinegar factory at Loc. Canossa, 22 in Castello di Canossa is guaranteed to be an enlightening experience. Get in touch with Cortesi Stefano at [email protected] or call 343 06 777 to schedule a visit. The factory is open from 10:30 – 12:30 and 14:30 – 18:00 on both days.

Acetaia Comunale Villa Tarabini
Located in Albinea at Via G. Garibaldi 17, Acetaia Comunale Villa Tarabini doesn’t require reservations for visits on Saturday from 16:00 – 18:00 and Sunday from 10:00 – 12:00 and 16:00 – 18:00. Contact Antonella Melloni via [email protected] or [email protected] for more information.

Acetaia Stella
Address: Via dei Mille 97, Reggio Emilia
Contact Person: Giacomo Stella
Phone: 349 72 91 512
Email: [email protected]
Company Website: www.acetaiastella.it
Visiting Hours: Saturday 9:00 – 13:00 15:00 – 19:00; Sunday 10:00 – 13:00 15:00 – 18:00
Reservation Required: NO
Additional Info: Acetaia Stella has been producing traditional balsamic vinegar for generations, maintaining the highest level of quality and authenticity.

Acetaia Vignoli
Address: Via Antica Locanda 7, Cavriago (RE)
Contact Person: Luca Vignoli
Phone: 0522 94 78 89 – 334 85 46 012
Email: [email protected]
Company Website: www.acetaiavignoli.it
Visiting Hours: Saturday and Sunday 10:00 – 18:00

Az. Agr. Iotti Andrea – Acetaia Castelli
Address: Via Castelli 5, Rio Saliceto (RE)
Contact Person: Andrea Iotti
Phone: 333 83 27 873
Email: [email protected]
Company Website: www.acetaiacastelli.it
Visiting Hours: Saturday 09:00 – 12:30 15:00 – 18:00; Sunday 10:00 – 13:00
Reservation Required: YES
Additional Info: Acetaia Castelli, run by Andrea Iotti, is a family-owned establishment that values tradition. The company is known for its quality vinegar, produced using age-old techniques.

Az. Agr. Lucenti
Address: Via Serraglio 11, Loc. Roteglia, Castellarano (RE)
Contact Person: Federica Lucenti
Phone: 339 83 11 455
Email: [email protected]
Company Website: www.acetaialucenti.it
Visiting Hours: Saturday 09:00 – 17:00; Sunday 09:00 – 12:00
Reservation Required: YES
Additional Info: Acetaia Lucenti, operated by Federica Lucenti, offers a variety of balsamic vinegars. The company is committed to delivering an exceptional tasting experience, allowing visitors to discover the fascinating process behind the production of their vinegar.

Il Borgo del Balsamico
Address: Via chiesa di Albinea 25, Botteghe di Albinea (RE)
Contact Person: Cristina Crotti
Phone: 0522 59 81 75
Email: [email protected]
Company Website: www.ilborgodelbalsamico.it
Visiting Hours: Saturday and Sunday by appointment only
Reservation Required: YES
Additional Info: Il Borgo del Balsamico, led by Cristina Crotti, is a renowned producer of balsamic vinegar. Their tours provide insight into the traditional methods used in the production process, and their tasting experiences allow visitors to appreciate the unique flavors and quality of their products.

Lini 910
Address: Via Vecchia Canolo 7, Correggio (RE)
Contact Person: Alberto Lini
Phone: 0522 69 01 62
Email: [email protected] [email protected]
Company Website: www.lini910.it
Visiting Hours: Saturday and Sunday 9:00 – 12:00 14:00 – 18:00
Reservation Required: YES
Additional Info: Lini 910, run by Alberto Lini, produces excellent balsamic vinegar that has been aged using traditional methods. Each tour ends with a tasting session, enabling visitors to appreciate the depth and complexity of their products.

Medici Ermete e F.lli
Address: Strada per Sant’Ilario 68, Montecchio Emilia (RE). On Google Maps enter only Tenuta Medici Ermete, without an address
Contact Person: Alessandra Medici
Email: [email protected]
Company Website: www.medici.it
Visiting Hours: Saturday and Sunday 9:00-12:00 14:30-18:00
Reservation Required: YES
Additional Info: Medici Ermete e F.lli is a prestigious acetaia with a rich history of producing high-quality balsamic vinegar. Visitors can tour their facilities and experience firsthand the painstaking processes that result in their premium product.

Società Agricola Ferrarini
Address: Via Conte Re 13, 42020 Albinea (RE)
Contact Person: Mario Di Garbo
Phone: 335 57 79 703 – 347 35 49 497
Email: [email protected]
Company Website: http://www.ferrarini.com
Visiting Hours: Sunday 8:00 – 13:00
Reservation Required: Not obligatory, but preferable
Additional Info: Società Agricola Ferrarini, under the guidance of Mario Di Garbo, is renowned for its traditional balsamic vinegar. The company is committed to preserving the traditional methods used in the production of balsamic vinegar, ensuring the quality and taste of their products are unrivaled. The nearby “Società Agricola Ferrarini” cheese factory, located just a few hundred meters away at Via Fratelli Menozzi 29, 42020 Quattro Castella (RE), is worth a visit as well.

Immerse yourself in the charm of Reggio Emilia’s Acetaie Aperte and delve into the fascinating world of balsamic vinegar production. From the passion of the artisans to the rich aromas permeating the factories, this event promises an unforgettable gastronomic journey. So mark your calendars and prepare your senses for a unique Italian experience.