Campo di Bella


Artisan Traditional Red Wine Vinegar

Production of artisan red wine vinegar is a long and complex process. At Campo di Bella, we harvest grapes from our vineyard and through other local producers to make red wine. Grapes are hand harvested when they reach a sugar content of 20-22% brix. They are the crushed, de-stemmed and pressed to produce a natural grape juice. Wine yeast is added to allow for conversion of sugar to alcohol through the process of fermentation. The initial fermentation process requires the absence of oxygen. The wine is transformed into vinegar by utilizing two traditional vinegar making techniques. The first process is known as the Boerhaave method. Wine is diluted with water and added to a bucket with wood shavings and a vinegar culture. Five gallons of vinegar are transferred twice a day from one bucket to another. The wood shavings are covered with a fine mesh cloth and exposed to air. The wood shavings, damp with wine and vinegar mother, have a tremendous surface area to convert the alcohol to acetic acid, the main component of vinegar. One 5 gallon batch takes about 1-2 weeks to produce. It is then transferred back into our French oak barrels were it continues the conversion process to vinegar by the Orleans method. In addition to imparting subtle oak flavor to the vinegar, the barrels allow for slow evaporation and concentration of the vinegar to produce a more flavorful product. The entire process takes several months to complete. We started our vinegar production in 2018 with our 2017 vintage of red wine made primarily from Frontenac grapes, a cold hardy French-American Hybrid.

The Orleans method was developed in France during the middle ages when wine was transported up the Loire river from the Southern wine growing region to Paris. Barrels of wine were unloaded in Orleans and those that had “soured” were kept in Orleans to produce vinegar. Wine that had successfully survived the journey continued North to Paris. During peak production of artisinal vinegar, there were approximately 300 vinaigriers in France where only 1 remains to date. We carry on this artisinal tradition at our winery in South Central Wisconsin. Vinegar is available for purchase at the winery and for pre-order through our To-Go store.