Grappa is the distillation of all the gunk left over after the wine is safely in the barrels. It tastes, to some, like paint--but it warms you through the long, cold winter, that's for sure.
My neighbors in the Lunigiana tell me that it wasn't too long ago that a guy with a donkey-driven cart would come by and collect the vinacce, the leftover seeds and grape skins from each resident who happened to make wine (which included most of them, as it does to this day). He'd make grappa in a cooperative fashion, and everyone would get their share.
These days grappa is a big business, and the quality of it is increasing at specialty makers like Berta Grappa Distillery in Piemonte or Poli in the Veneto gem aptly called Bassano del Grappa (also see: Pictures of Bassano del Grappa and Poli Distillery) Did you know you can not only taste grappa at Berta, but you can see a museum and even stay on the distillery's latest project, the Villa Prato relais de charme, where you can get "grappa-therapy"? That could be romantic, as befits the season. See: Grappa! Visiting a Grappa Distillery in Italy.