Governo is an ancient winemaking technique believed to be have been invented in the 14th century in Tuscany - Italy. It was designed to help insure a good fermentation and a consistent wine. The technique involves reserving a small parcel of harvested grapes and allowing them to partially dry out (slightly raisin).
If fermentation of the main parcel of grape juice starts to slow or appears to be stuck, by adding the juice from the partially dried grapes to the 'must' - this gives the yeast a new source of intensified sugars to restart the process. From here the 'must' can be fermented dry, with the wine having a slightly higher level of alcohol and richer character. The process was used in the Chianti region before the introduction of temperature controlled fermentation tanks.

 

The Governo method is a very traditional, though now little seen or practiced in Tuscany, though particularly traditional in Chianti Classico. Similar to the ‘Ripasso’ method used to produce Amarone; harvested grapes are partially dried in the warm Tuscan sun for a few weeks. The dried grapes create a luxurious and concentrated juice that adds complexity and richness to the finish wine. The secondary (malolactic) fermentation that consequently occurs lends a softness to the typically acidic Sangiovese grapes and the dried grape juice adds extra power and breadth of flavour on the palate and length to the finish of a wine.

This method can also be used to produce softer wines with more alcohol and a richer colour, and sometimes with a slight effervescence. From Tuscany the technique spread to the regions of Marche and Umbria where it is still used today. In the Marche region the technique is most often used on wines made from the Verdicchio grape to counteract the grape's natural bitterness and to add some sweetness and frizzante qualities.
The benefits of the ‘Governo’ technique is that it encourages not only fully complete primary fermentation but can also help in the process of malolactic fermentation which can help stabilise the wine. For grapes with naturally high acidity like Sangiovese this process can soften some of the harshness and volatility that could appear in a wine.