That's how fairy tales usually begin. But what if this time someone who saw the history, the generations and the changes was the one telling the story? So he will have the floor now, the alembic from which it all began. It was 1948 and I was not much more than a copper steam boiler. The intuition and the wise hands of Enrico Invitti created me and gave me to the historic distillery in Sondrio, on the banks of the Mallero river where I still am today.
I still remember my first, famous product: "a genuine grappa typically from Valtellina", or as Enrico used to to call it: the mythical "Sassella" and I filled myself with pride every time I heard him say that name. It is unmistakable: the historic bottle with the yellow label that still characterizes our first creation. After that, we worked hard together, Enrico and I, in the production of a series of liqueurs: the Almond, Anise and other products, all the locals really appreciated them. Soon our commitment gave its fruits and the Invitti Grappa, my creation, became the Valtellina grappa for excellence. It could not miss on the table of every trattoria, and in people's homes.
At that time Enrico also became father of Aldo, given birth by his beloved wife Celerina Toccalli.
Aldo growing up undertook the profession of banker, but the family’s passion was stronger than his career plans and led him into the management of the family run distillery next to his father.
As time passed by, we continued to grow and from 1977 onwards you would have struggled to to recognize myself for how much I had changed.
Aldo, in fact, decided to change my figure and I then became a continuous alembic thanks to the intervention of "Frilli", a copper company. From that moment onwards I was able to work faster so that we could distil in freshness and with a greater yield, both in terms of quantity and quality of the product.
What perfumes and what flavours were released at that point!
If I am the heart of this distillery, it was clear to everyone that these aromas were the soul of the territory.
In the years 2000 Gianfranco Invitti, Aldo's son, decided to carry on with the tradition and the family business. And he did not do it alone, because Egidio followed along.
Once again father and son carrying on the family passion, I was once again the core of the strong bond that united the Invitti family, the tradition of the distillery of the Valtellina.
Although they had different roles and personalities, Gianfranco and Egidio were determined to keep a unique reality alive in Valtellina, they were aware of the important role of the distillery in the field of viticulture in Valtellina.
But the Invitti family was certainly not willing to stop there.
It became easier and easier for me to understand that their first real intention was to unite tradition and innovation.
What can I say... an ambitious plan, but why not try it? Also because I love challenges.
It was then that the "Linea Nuova" was born, a new series of high quality grappas, coming from a meticulous selection of the best pomace in Valtellina. This precious material is distilled through the steam method, controlled thanks to my new steam boiler, carrying the grappa through precise filtration processes and giving it a fresh innovative "dress".
The line is particularly suitable for tasting and it is to be accompanied with a meal.
To keep the roots firmly in place, they decided to continue to distil exclusively grape pomace from the Nebbiolo grape variety of Valtellina, also known as Chiavennasca.
A product with characteristics that are completely unique and particular of its kind derives from this raw material: in fact we are talking about a grappa that is monovarietal, Km0, produced and bottled in Valtellina.
It is a great quality grappa, because it is strictly dependent on the vintage and its nature. This process is pursued by choice. This grappa does not contain any added sugar and/or caramel, even if it would be allowed in minimum quantities by the regulations of production.
The reason behind this choice is to let the connoisseurs savour and capture the authentic and genuine scents and flavours of the Valtellina territory.
Ah! I forgot to say that every product is of quality certified by the numerous awards obtained in the years by participating in various competitions of ANAG, ADID and more recently the
But here comes one more piece of news: the family have added the meticulous and patient refinement and ageing in oak barrels, as it is usual in the ageing process for grappa.
I still remember with emotion the day when they brought those beautiful barrels, how much history they seemed to contain and who knows how much history they would have learnt through me and my family.
The barrels are located in the cellar of the distillery, which I don't remember having seen as beautiful as it has been since it was renovated. In the silence of this cellar, the stabilization, refinement and the aging of the grappa take place. The latest prestigious products derive from this meticulous process.
If I asked the Invittis, my family, what brings them to the continuous and constant desire for research and innovation, they would tell me that it's the deep respect for tradition and for a unique territory as Valtellina, along with the desire to satisfy the taste buds of the numerous and varied customers.
This is the mentality that led them to propose typical and unmistakable flavors, such as those of blueberry schnapps, excellent if accompanied with desserts, or of high medicinal mountain herbs with digestive characteristics.
Furthermore, I have to say that the wave of innovation has not stopped yet.
From the recent collaboration with a wine house was born the grappa Invitti-Arpepe: a unique grappa, which is also exclusive, fine, delicate, by the special characteristics due to the
vinification by maceration which makes it very similar to brandy.
Finally, the Invitti distillery constitutes an important part within the chain of the Valtellina wine-growing region. Grappa, in fact, it is obtained from the distillation of the grape marc, i.e. the skins of the grapes that are used to make the wine.
We then recover the pomace in a delicate moment for the cellars, namely the moment of vinification during which it is essential that there is no interference with the fermentation of the wine.
After that, we personally provide for the disposal of used grape marc in the correct way, with respect for the territory, to complete the entire cycle.
This distillery’s success is not over yet: in fact here's my distillery becoming the headquarters of the ADID Delegation (Association Italian Grappa Tasters and Distillates), by spreading the culture of "good drinking", which means tasting correctly not only the flag distillate, the grappa, but also organizing courses in deepening the knowledge in the tasting of the distillates, involving and bringing into Valtellina the best experts in this field, welcoming school groups of the sector institutes, the experts of the future, thus handing down the culture of the territory!
And here we are at the end of the story but only for the time being.
I see Gianfranco and Egidio, to whom recently Egidio’s siblings have joined forces: Domenico and Chiara, determined to keep a historical reality alive, fruit of the work and the family's passion. This family are aware of the importance of my role in the distillery, in the field of viticulture and in the territory of Valtellina.