This is the guide used by Fazenda Vaccaro since the 1999/2000 bearing.
1st - Planting: Is done in furrows ( with 1.6 m between each row ) with two parallel canes, 30 cm deep.500 kg / ha of MB4 ( limestone with micro organisms from grinded rocks in Alagoas ), 500 kg / ha of natural phosphates from Irecê, Bahia and 10 tons of dried manure are used as fertilizers.30 days after planting the sugar cane, pig beans are planted between the rows, with a density of 12 plants per metre in rows of three.
2nd - Modes of Culture: 50 days after planting the weeds are removed , keeping the pulses and other species. After approximately 180 days, depending upon the growth of the pulses, a new whole cleaning is done, leaving the weeds as a green fertilizer rich in nitrogen and potassium.Once a week the sugar cane is irrigated with a sprinkler system with a 20 mm blade. We intend to use a drop by drop system in the future.
3rd - Harvest: More or less 60 days before the cutting, the Brix test ( grade of sugar in the sugar cane ) is carried out every two weeks, in order to determine which section will enter the mill first. Through insects damaged sugar cane is immediately grinded into fertilizer. Straw isn’t burned before the harvest. Cutting is done – as low as possible – with the “podão” ( a local farmers’ utensil to cut cane ). The dry leaves are left behind as fertilizer, the green leaves at the top of the sugar cane are used as fodder for cattle, thus being the first by – product. Only the quantity of sugar cane used within the next 24 hours is cut.
4th - Grinding: The selected sugar cane, with its leaves and roots already removed, enters the phase where the syrup is extracted. There are two types of machinery: the “forrageira” and the “moenda”. The first one crushes the sugar cane in order to facilitate the extraction of the syrup, the moenda does the extraction. After the extraction, the syrup circulates in a recipient called “decantador” where impurities are removed. After that, the filtered syrup goes into barrels to ferment. During grinding we acquire a second by – product ( a residue called “bagaço” ), which is very versatile. During the 2001 – 2002 harvest, the Fazenda Vaccaro used it as follows: as fuel for the boiler ( 30% ); as fertilizer, in compost form, mixed with another by – product called “garapão”; as fertilizer on the sugar cane and coffee plantations. The by – product “ bagaço” can be added to the fodder of grazers, used as material for handmade wrapping, etc... The ashes from the boiler, rich in minerals ( mostly potassium ), are also used as fertilizer.
5th - Fermentation: This is the most important phase in the production of cachaça, whose quality entirely depends upon an excellent fermentation. Are indispensable: the right ripeness of the sugar cane, the standardization of the Brix ( grade of sugar ) in the syrup before entering the fermentation process, the quality of the cane ( low presence of insect perforation ) and the composition of the broth (lacking components in the cane may cause deficiency in saccharine bacteria and thus compromise the fermentation ). Fermentation of the syrup must take place within 36 hours after having entered the fermentation barrels. Over – fermented cachaça is removed together with the first part of the produced cachaça (the “cabeça”). The fermented syrup is called “vinho”.
6th - Distilling: The Fazenda Vaccaro uses two copper stills with a capacity of 400 litres each. The heating occurs through vapour, circulating in a metal tube in the still. This system results in a higher quality of the product, thanks to the equal heating of the “vinho”. This way we avoid burning of the liquid at the bottom, a result of direct fire. The boiler also accelerates the process. Temperature control in the still is done through metres regulating the vapour outlet. A more efficient distilling also reduces the acidity and the grade of copper in the cachaça.
Out of this process we extract two by – products : the “cabeça” and the “vinhoto”. The cachaça “cabeça” ( head ) originates from the beginning of each distilling: the first 10% of the distillation are separated. These first 10% are considered to contain a concentration of toxins causing headaches and severe hangovers. The “cabeça” of harvest 2001 – 2002 was entirely used as fuel for vehicles, after having increased the alcohol percentage from 70 to 90 through a new distillation. The “vinhoto”, the other by – product from distilling, is as a matter of fact the most important one, due to its volume ( 85% of the original “vinho” ), richness in nutrients ( freed through fermentation and distillation ) and its easy and cheap use ( because of its liquid form). The Fazenda Vaccaro uses a tiny part as foliage fertilizer. The rest is mixed directly into the “bagaço” and dispersed on the sugar cane fields. It can also be used as a mineral added to the animal fodder in generale também diminui a acidez e o teor de cobre na cachaça.
7th - Bottling: The Fazenda Vaccaro possesses a cellar (where the ageing takes place) with a capacity of 200.000 litres (up to 52.000 galons). It also serves as an area for bottling, corking and labelling. This sector doesn’t generate any by – products.
MARCOS VACCARO - Associate Manager
CREA: 38520-7 Visto BA 15210