It is now a renowned fact that hops deliver the beer we drink everyday its complex aroma and flavour.
However very few people really know how hops are processed, what are their characteristics and how they are grown.
The hop plant is a climbing, herbaceous plant, growing up in strings that can be even six mt. high.
The cone-shaped flowers that are called hops are used for beer production and can be dried with whole-leaf or pellet hops; based on their variety they provide beer with their unique aroma.
As for cooking, their buds are used, known as wild hops, a very popular ingredient – for instance in Northern Italy – for preparing omelettes and risotto.
Given the hop plant grows tall, it needs a structure that allows the plant to develop vertically and especially not to bend.
The first hop yards were created in Germany, they were 8 meter high above ground level wooden poles that however soon proved inadequate as they worn out easily.
In Italy hops growing has developed about a decade ago, thanks in particular to the craft beer market that meets the demand for special beers and diversified products.
Valente has immediately become a reference point in the construction of special facilities for hops growing. The difference when compared to other traditional systems for hops growing is that – as we said before – the hop plants mainly grow vertically and therefore need very tall trellis, with poles that can be even 8 metres high (7 metres above ground level). The maximum spacing between the rows of poles is 10 metres as for any other hail protection system, while the maximum spacing between the rows of hop plants is 3 metres and 6 metres between the poles.
This description clarifies that between two rows of poles there is a row of plants that grow twisting around the supporting wire held up by a number of upper wires; in this way a hanged growing system is obtained.
The Valente hop system consists of a tensile structure composed of pre-stressed concrete poles connected one to the other by means of steel wires and cables that are held into tension with suitable anchoring to the ground.
This system has been especially designed for hops growing by our engineers, in collaboration with the research centre LFL (Bayerische Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft) in Munich, an area famous all over the world for hops cultivation.
Various tests have been carried out by considering the loads the system shall bear during the working season and also by analysing some essential factors, such as:
- Resistance to wind load and weather
- Resistance to plant weight
- Wear and tear of the materials used in the system
For this reason, our company has decided to use poles with a 14×14 size section reinforced with 36 wires, in order to guarantee greater resistance and meet the need to reach certain heights that favour hops production.
This system has proved extremely effective from the very first hop yard the Valente company established in Casale della Mandria in Lanuvio (RM), in collaboration with Luppoleti Italiani, pioneers in this field in Italy.
Since then our growth has continued constantly, so that in 2020 we successfully established, for Radical Brewery, the largest single hop yard in Italy, in the Lucca province, with a 4 hectares (9,9 acres) extension.
We wouldn’t have achieved this result without the help of MrHops, a horticulturist specialised in hop plants, with extensive experience in the field. He assists us on a daily basis in planning this type of systems and in making the right adjustments based on the variety of hops our clients will decide to grow.
Today we can say that hop growing in Italy, even if yet at a preliminary stage, is already playing a key role with respect to its competitors beyond the Alps. This is certainly true both in terms of hop yard systems and the provision of all the raw materials needed by hop growers. Based on the domestic demand for the product and the growth of local craft breweries, we are certain we will see a growth in hops growing in the future.
For further information and assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us by using the contact details at the bottom of this page.