These cold winter days are the perfect time for the Acetaio (vinegar maker) to go up to the attic where the barrels are stored and to work with the balsamic vinegar.
Balsamic vinegar hibernates
Why? The bacteria, which modify the grape must to vinegar aren´t active in the cold (the warmer it is, the more active they are) and the balsamico is in its sleeping mode. During this sleeping mode the Acetaio has to refill what evaporated during the hot summer months. This refill is a complicated process and needs lots of experience. The young must, stored in the “mother barrel”, gets filled into the “batteria” of aging barrels. The Acetaio also has to decide which barrel he will send to the consortium to get approved for the selling label “Aceto Balsamico di Modena tradizionale”. These winter days are supposed to bring in the harvest of 12 or 25 years of work, there is no room for mistakes.