Orujo blanco, el espíritu de Galicia: Pomace

Ana B. Remos


What Is Pomace?

Pomace is the pulp and all other remains after a fruit has had its juice extracted. For example, the pulp that is left over in a juicer, after a glass of orange juice is squeezed, is considered pomace. Beyond the pulp, pomace includes the rind of the fruit as well as its seeds, leaves, anything that is processed to make its juice. For millennia, pomace has not been discarded but used for a multitude of purposes, as we will explore below.

Liqueurs

Regarding alcohol, after grapes are pressed, what remains, the pomace, can be re-purposed and distilled into various wines or in the case of Orujo Blanco, a unique and highly sought-after form of brandy. Beyond brandy, grape pomace can be taken advantage of to create other liqueurs such as törkölypálinkazivania, and most famously, grappa, with which the process from pomace to finished liqueur can be seen in this video:

History

The first record of the use of pomace dates back to the 15th century, the term itself likely derived from the English “pomys,” which in all probability originated from the Medieval Latin, “pomacium,” or the Late Latin, “pomum.”  Source: Merriam-Webster

Winemaking

As mentioned, pomace can be used for winemaking. The process varies based on the color or the wine, be it white or red.

For white wine, since traditionally a winemaker makes sure the pomace has as little contact with the pressed grapes as possible, to minimize the effect on the wine color, and other changes pomace can end up making to the final product, the pomace retains its original qualities, including sugars. This makes “white wine pomace” more ideal to a higher-sugar content liqueur, such as brandy, in the case of Orujo Blanco.

However, for red wine, the pomace is allowed a period of contact with the juice. This contributes directly to the resulting red coloration, as well as providing an initial period of fermentation, which in turn translates to a wine higher in alcohol content as well as tannins.

Beyond Liqueurs

In addition to its historic use in the production of a wide range of alcoholic drinks, pomace is also re-purposed for a variety of other useful applications.

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