The Production

Respect for the rhythms of nature

We believe that the real success of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar PDO lies in the exploitation of the long ageing process and the characteristics that the different traditional woods provide in terms of inimitable perfumes, aromas and flavours.


By resorting only to the cultivation of its organic vineyards, we start to produce of this world-wide famous product called Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO. Grapes are still hand-harvested today: Trebbiano di Spagna, Sauvignon Spergola and Lambrusco from Sorbara and Salamino. The use of a blend including different grapes, both white and red, ensures that the bouquet of the product includes a combination of peculiar characteristics, aromas and tastes that cannot be obtained otherwise.

Immediately after the harvest, before alcohol fermentation sets in, the grapes are pressed.
In the past, the tender feet of gentle maidens caressed the grapes, whereas today – with the same respect – a sophisticated pneumatic press leads to the soft pressing of grapes, thus obtaining only the most noble part of the must (through the direct bursting of berries) and avoiding to press tannins from the skin, pips and stalks.


The must is cooled at first, then left to decant at low temperature (2/3°C) for a few days before cooking. It is carefully cleaned and the cooked. The latter stage calls for great attention, experience and care.
Modern open-vessel and direct fire steel boilers adjust the temperature so that the process is completed in a few hours without leading to physical stress which may cause burnt/charred flavours or other imperfections.

The doubling of the sugar concentration and the sterilisation deriving from cooking enable the must to welcome particular yeasts naturally selected from local strains in the course of generations directly by our families.
Today, thanks to refrigerated containers, natural fermentation takes place moderately and constantly, so that no aroma in lost during the fermentation process.

Thanks to the first warm days of Spring, alcohol is turned into acetic acid by particular micro-organisms: acetic bacteria.
Only after having developed a high degree of acidity in large old barrels (also called mother-barrels or abbesses), the must may be used to top up the first casks of the batteries in the following years.


The historical and optimal location of “Traditional Balsamic Vinegar” is in attics, i.e. very quiet places exposed to marked temperature variation. Cold winters favour decanting, hot summers stimulate fermentation and evaporation.

Intuitively, the progressive and increasing concentration and many delicate evolution processes cannot take place simultaneously in the same container: consequently, the production unit of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is not composed of one single cask but of a series of casks of decreasing size and made of different woods, called BATTERY (from 5 casks minimum to 10-12 casks. We find that 7 casks are the best solution).
The different wood of each cask is responsible for the precious bouquet including peculiar aromas and features.
Typical traditional wood types include: oak, chestnut, mulberry tree, juniper tree, in addition to cherry tree, acacia/false acacia and ash tree.
The filling level of casks is paramount: ¾ of the total volume or slightly more, in order to expose the largest possible surface to oxygenation and foster the microbiological activities of vinegar bacteria and enzymes.

Time, evaporation and the relentless action of micro-organisms living in Traditional Balsamic Vinegar lead to the development of an environment unsuitable for their survival. Special enzymes foster a slow and natural lysis process, thus generating additional aromas typical of Balsamic Vinegar.

It is only long, endless, eternal periods in increasingly small casks that will enhance the qualities (or defects) in terms of aroma and taste, thus proving the success or failure of the “Master of the Acetaia”.

There are two seasons for the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar:
the “warm” season, during which microbiological transformations take place and water evaporates leading to greater concentration, and
the “cool” season, fostering rest and decanting, leading to a clearer product.
The transfer of small quantities (approximately 10%) from one cask to the next, only at surface level, is repeated every year at the end of the winter, i.e. when the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is in its clearest form. Each cask receives a small quantity of Vinegar (approximately 15%) from the previous cask to restore the correct level.

Only after at least 12 years in the case of Traditional Vinegar and 25 years in the case of Extra-old Vinegar may a small amount be withdrawn. The 10% limit of the smallest vat may never be exceeded, or 3% of the total content of the battery, to avoid jeopardising the quality and yield in the years to come. Of course, the certification of the ageing process is not enough: it needs to have ensured the full development of the necessary organoleptic properties.


Thanks to the “Consortium for the Protection of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena – TBVM”, a new driving force is available for the production of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena: all stakeholders, institutions, producers and associations have rediscovered the natural communion of objectives such as the protection of the quality of the product and the cultural and traditional heritage of the Modena area. Grapes are the origin of balsamic vinegars but the skilful and patient work of the inhabitants of Modena was the key to develop unmatched products. The TBVM Consortium includes the Institutions, Associations and Producers of the vinegar sector in its Board of Directors, has improved its strength and potential thanks to its great commitment to the services to its partners and the promotion of the product.
The TBVM Consortium is based at the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and Handicrafts of Modena, Via Canaletto, 80, Italy (

Every phase of the marketing process must be monitored by the Certification Agency.
During the supply of each single lot from the Acetaia to the ABTM Consortium, three samples are taken:
One is stored in the archive of the ABTM Consortium to enable future checks, if necessary
One is sent to a dedicated laboratory to be analysed
One undergoes the organoleptic test conducted by expert examiners appointed by the certification agency.
Pending the result of both analyses, the whole lot remains sealed inside its container and is stored inside the cellar of the ABTM Consortium. Only after the positive result and the certification of its excellent quality, may the bottling centre of the Consortium transfer the product, in the presence of its producer, into the dedicated cruets (the law envisages they need to be of 100 ml format and are designed by Giugiaro Design).

The Quality of must, the careful selection, the techniques and know-how passed on and learnt from one generation to the next are officially certified by the Tasting Commission (composed of 5 “sommeliers” authorised by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture and Handicrafts of Modena). Those professionals fill in a dedicated tasting form and assess the visual, olfactory and taste characteristics of the vinegar and attribute a score according to an assessment table totalling 400 points. The product may be marketed only if a score of at least 229 is attributed, based on two categories:
“Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena” from 229 to 254 points
“Extra-Old Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena” from 255 to 400 points.

A different sample for each bottling lot is carefully assessed in terms of both organoleptic parameters and laboratory analyses. If the careful assessment of organoleptic parameters and laboratory analysis of the whole lot supplied lead to a positive result, the certified product is classified into two different categories:
“Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena”
“Extra-Old Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena”
The Certified Bottling Centre deals with all bottling operations directly inside the dedicated cruets (the law envisages they need to be of 100 ml format and are designed by Giugiaro Design), which will also bear the numbered seals issued by the Italian Ministry for Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies.

Since 15/01/2001 CERMET has been the certification agency accredited by the Italian Ministry for Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies to examine the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO.
Every year CERMET checks the whole production process: from the origin of raw material (i.e. grapes), stock in hand and available casks, to the bottling availability and the certified quality of bottled products.
To ensure the most efficient implementation of its institutional tasks, CERMET has always searched for and obtained the involvement of business associations and firms in the choices to develop its services.
Its particular company structure, envisaging the presence of the Board of Directors of the Emilia Romagna Region, all associations of small, medium and large enterprises and a Certification Committee including the association of consumers and citizens’ representatives, guarantees its independence and reliability in terms of the protection of consumers, products and producers.
CERMET – Via Cadriano, 23 – 40057 Cadriano di Granarolo (BO), Italy- tel. +39.051.764811 – (


The flexibility of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO and its long ageing in traditional woods make its suitable for any menu: salads, meat, fish, cheese and desserts of any kind. A few drops, always added after cooking or, even better, while assembling the dish to be served, provide a jubilation of aromatic sensations.
A 100 ml cruet allows to customise over seventy portions.
After use, close the bottle and store it in a normal kitchen environment far from direct sources of light, heat or refrigeration, e.g. a cupboard next to the oil bottle. Its high, natural acidity makes Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena eternally healthy, even though the law envisages that the label must show an expiry date amounting to maximum ten years after the bottling date.

To pay tribute to the value and commitment leading to the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO, as well as the high concentration achieved in the course of the years spent in the casks, a few drops are enough to season any food: from aperitifs to desserts, as well as meat, game and fish, cheese, cured meat and vegetables, or even by tasting it directly from a teaspoon to provide immense pleasure to your palate