It is no secret that the price of a product depends directly on the raw materials and production processes necessary for its creation. Therefore, in order to give an answer to one who asks the price of Balsamic Vinegar, first we need to understand what type of product he/she is looking for. In fact, on the market today, we can see tiny bottles of a particularly high value, and then there are much larger bottles at more accessible prices.
It is highly important to understand what is meant with “a good Balsamic Vinegar”, in order to make the right choice and get the most suitable product both for our culinary needs and for our pocket. Let’s find out together the factors that make up the price of Balsamic Vinegar, according to its characteristics.
What Ingredients are Necessary for the Production of Balsamic Vinegar?
First of all, we have to distinguish two different qualities of Balsamic Vinegar. In fact, on the market you can find the bottle with two different labels:
- Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Mode PDO;
- Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI.
Even though these two names are very similar, the denomination is different, as is the presence of the adjective “Traditional”. These two types of Balsamic Vinegar are very different in terms of ingredients, production times and final use. If you want to learn more, check out the previous article of our blog “Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO and PGI: the Guide”.
Briefly, it is enough to know that Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO has only one ingredient – the cooked grape must. In the case of the PGI product, the ingredients may be from 2 to 4, according to the quality and the taste of the product. These ingredients are the cooked grape must mixed with wine vinegar and eventual additions of concentrated grape must and caramel (coloring E150).
How Long Should Balsamic Vinegar Age?
The production of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO requires much more time, in comparison to the PGI product. In fact, the traditional product must be aged for a minimum of 12 years in order to get approved and bottled by the Consortium, that protects the product.
The production process of the PGI product is completely different. In fact, the product can be bottled and commercialized after minimum 60 days of aging in the famous wooden barrels. Anyways, the cost of the PGI product also depends on the aging.
Cost of Balsamic Vinegar: How Much Do We Pay for the Quality?
The cost of 1 Lt. of Balsamic Vinegar can vary enormously from one product to another. Are we therefore assuming that a good Balsamic Vinegar must cost a lot? Not exactly.
Both PDO and PGI Balsamic Vinegars are generally high quality products. We have seen that the former is subject to greater and more accurate controls, which does not mean though that a bottle PGI vinegar is to be considered a poor product. The two products, in fact, are meant to be used differently: the former is used in drops to enrich hot meals with its balsamic notes, the latter works better with salads and fresh vegetables.
In any case, Traditional Balsamic Vinegar gets commercialized only and exclusively in 100 ml. bottles, so it is pretty easy to make a quick research to compare the prices of different producers. Pay attention, for 12 years is the minimum aging, but there are also Extra Vecchio Traditional Balsamic Vinegar aged minimum 25 years and other more aged products that can reach very high costs.
How Much Does Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Cost?
Ultimately, how much does the “real” Balsamic Vinegar of Modena cost? If with the “real” we mean the Traditional one, denominated as PDO and intended to enrich hot meals with its balsamic flavors, aged for minimum 12 years in precious wooden barrels, then each 100 ml. bottle would surely cost minimum 50,00 €. Increasing the aging of the product, the price may arrive up to 1800,00 € (as happened in 2007, when a bottle of an excellent balsamic Vinegar of extraordinary production got auctioned off for 1800,00 €).
A bottle of PGI Balsamic Vinegar of Modena can be purchased in a supermarket with the start price of approximatively 10,00 €.