If you have ever stood in a supermarket aisle trying to decide which Italian wine to buy, you probably slowly scanned the aisle looking for something, ANYTHING to catch your eye. In the end, you might have chosen a bottle because it was the same one you bought the week before, or you liked the bird on the label, or you think you remember seeing Chianti on the wine list at your favorite restaurant. If you have ever asked yourself if there is a better way to build your Italian wine knowledge, there is!
To begin to develop knowledge about Italian wine, the best way is to join the growing number of people taking gourmet vacations based on discovering the wine and food of the different regions of Italy. Enogastronomic tourism is a delicious, fun way to taste, smell and experience regional foods and wines while getting out into the countryside, meeting the producers of the products and making a connection to the land.
Once you taste a ripe grape picked off the vine the name Sangiovese will stick in your mind. Once you see the oak barrels in the dark, quiet aging cellar and learn about the DOC and DOCG wine labels will begin to take on a different significance. Once you swirl a glass of Brunello at the table in a 1000 year old castle on a rolling hillside estate in Montalcino you won't forget the name of the wine again.
Italian tour companies such as Le Baccanti Tours specialize in food and wine related tours and activities all over Italy. From cooking classes in Florence to walking wine Baccari tours in Venice, to a day of wine tasting in the Barolo, Chianti Classico, Amarone, Brunello, Sagrantino, Prosecco or any other wine region from the slopes of the Alps in the North to the slopes of Mt. Etna in the South. They take you on private, intimate tours with wine and food experts to discover real places and producers of authentic products far from the bus loads and souvenir shops of mass tourism. They also offer wine evenings for groups from business executives to family reunions, to learn the basics of Italian wine with a fun and knowledgeable wine expert in a relaxed and unpretentious environment.
Provident Travel is a Cincinnati Ohio based tour agency that specializes in worldwide travel but that is happy to create custom travel packages to Italy. From weekends in Florence to two week vacations touring all of Italy, Provident Travel is happy to meet your travel needs and help you experience “true” Italy.
Start learning more about Italian wines right at home with Italian Wine Merchant. Italian Wine Merchants has a very complete website that transports you to Italy through stories and details on all their Italian wines available for purchase directly from their website. Their extensive website lists wine events in both the US and in Italy, Italian wine travel planning, wine collection management and much more.
What better way to experience the Italian countryside than to rent a private villa and stay in the heart of your Italian wine region of choice. Companies such as Luxury Retreats have a choice selection of fantastic villas to rent all over Italy to help you fully experience the countryside on your next vacation to Italy.
One recent initiative is Italy at Your Table where instead of having the guest fly to Italy, the Italy at Your Table team crosses the ocean and makes appearances in the USA (with more countries planned for 2011). The events feature hand selected wine and gourmet food producers. Wine experts and chefs go to the USA to educate and entertain while introducing people to genuine Italian products of high quality. The stars of the table are Barolo, Brunello, Vernaccia, Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese, Balsamic vinegar among many others.
By Carrie Curtis