From plant to bottle.
The Sugar cane is grown onsite ensuring a well-controlled plantation, free from pesticides. The soil is prepared with organic fertilizers along with analysis of soil components. There is a wide range of different types of sugar cane grown in Brazil and we opted for CB 47-355. Among the features taken into account when choosing this specific variety, along with high sucrose content, we looked at:
- sprouting capacity during times of drought;
- tillering capacity;
- Growth rate and closing lines;
- size and structure of the plants;
- spontaneous detrash of stalks;
- Uniformity of height and stem diameter;
- resistance to major diseases and pests;
- Lack of flowering;
- Absence of joçal.
After the harvest, the cane field is fertilized with the waste from the previous production (bagasse and vinasse). It is completely natural and does not harm the environment.
Our harvest is usually done at the end of May of each year and lasts two to three months. When the cane sucrose level reaches its maximum point, the cane is cut leaving a stem of approximately 10 cm high to promote the sprouting of stumps. The foliage is also removed and left in the cane field, in order to assist the retention of soil moisture and aid in the natural soil fertilization process.
Milling is the juice extraction process where the cane passes between three rollers with a predetermined pressure applied to them. The mill extracts the juice as well as a substance called “bagasse”, which at the end of the process has a moisture content that allows it to be used as fuel in the distillation still. 30 to 35% of the bagasse from sugar cane is used as fuel with the remainder returned to the plantation as fertilizer. The milling is usually conducted in 2 stages. After passing the first of these, the proportion of broth compared to the cane fibres drops from about seven to between 2 to 2.5 drops, which becomes difficult to extract; A device used in the second stage of milling, removes this residue from the broth almost entirely.
During the milling process, the broth contains a small percentage of solid residue which requires settling to be eliminated to avoid possible damage during fermentation. The broth passes through stationary vat with several settling columns. Then passes into vats to standardize the percentage of sucrose (Brix), while preserving the permanent vitality of yeast in fermentation. The brix content may vary in each section as the broth pours in, so this settling process helps to ensure a consistent sucrose content. The sugar content of 16% brix is adjusted using filtered water. A crop in full brix stage can generate up to 22% intensity.
From this point on, it is essential that the process is strictly controlled in order to achieve a good quality cachaça.
The spontaneous fermentation of the broth is already in motion at 16%, which up to this point, has been carried out exclusively by microorganisms from sugarcane found in the production site. The combination of these, as well as selected yeasts present in the fermentation vats, will be responsible for the transformation of sugar into alcohol and the development of secondary aromas during the fermentation process.
The yeast activity during fermentation reduces the sugar content to 0% Brix. At this point in time, we cease the fermentation process and the yeast lies dormant on the bottom of the vats, awaiting the next production. The vats are constructed so that the end of a fermented batch, the yeast is not diverted to the still. This preserves them for following batches. Among the various yeast strains, we found a participation-controlled fermentation of lactic acid bacteria, which contributes to the formation of the aromatic bouquet of cachaça, and the low presence of acetic bacteria. These bacteria are mainly responsible for the acidity of the beverage, which is undesirable in excess.
The results produce a cachaça noteworthy by the activity of native cane yeasts, with a rich sensory profile, produced under strict guidelines when compared to products that have been produced without strict control.
The fermented mixture is at this moment considered “wine” and is ready to be distilled into cachaça. This stage involves boiling the wine inside a copper still producing vapors which are then condensed via a cooling process and hence, transformed into cachaça.
The “head” of the liquor obtained in the initial distillation is rich in more volatile substances and is not recommended to be included as part of a good-quality liquor. It is therefore separated and discarded. In reality, producers consider this portion to make up approximately 5-10% of the total distillate. The “heart” of the cachaça is the second part of the liquor, which consists of the highest quality liquor, generally between 75% and 85% of the total distillate. The tail of the cachaça or "syrup" contains a larger portion of volatile and undesirable substances. This is also segregated and discarded.
After distillation, the liquor undergoes special filtration to eliminate any traces of copper, and is then sent to age.
This stage plays an important role in enhancing the quality of taste and aroma of distilled drinks. Aging is the final stage of preparation of the cachaça. The cachaça is stored in oak barrels, which gives the distillate a yellowish tone and produces a characteristic aroma, leaving the cachaça smoother, sweetened and fragrant, depending on the length of time it is aged.
For our clear cachaça (Silver), the aging process is carried out in stainless steel vats.
After aging for a period of at least 6 months in either stainless steel vats or oak barrels, the liquor is ready to be bottled.
Cachaça Vista Verde has a standard alcohol content of 40 ° GL /% Vol. Before bottling, there is sometimes a need for adjusments.
During the aging process, cachaça loses a small part of its alcohol content. The content is measured before aging and is balanced through filtered distilled water, ensuring that there is not any contamination by microorganisms or metals.
Após ajustado em 40 °GL / % Vol., a cachaça passa por uma última filtragem e é envasada pro sistema automático, sem contatos manuais.After being adjusted to 40 ° GL / vol.%, the liquor undergoes a final filtration and is bottled automatically without manual contact.
The bottles are then labelled in accordance with their specifications.