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Bella Toscana!

WineMaker readers including Publisher Brad Ring recently spent a week exploring one of the world’s great wine regions: Tuscany, Italy. With visits to 12 wineries, the group experienced the incredible wine culture of the region first-hand during WineMaker’s Wine and Food Tour in September, 2021. We visited an amazingly broad spectrum of wineries from the multi-national winemaking powerhouse Antinori to the small Leuta Winery just outside Cortona.  All along the way we had the chance to experience that legendary Italian hospitality meeting with friendly local winemakers happy to answer questions from American home winemakers while we enjoyed sampling their wines.

We also made sure to leave time to tour small local food producers including a family-owned olive oil producer, a chocolatier, and a cheesemaker in Pienza specializing in Tuscany’s famous sheep-milk Pecorino.  We walked through beautiful hilltop villages soaking up the views, history, and daily life while building up a thirst for the next winery stop. 

We visited in mid-September during the early stages of harvest in the region and were lucky enough to watch just-picked grapes get spread out on drying racks destined to be later pressed in December for special dessert wines. From Chiantis to Vin Santo, it was a special chance to enjoy classic wine styles right at the source. Plus all that wine had plenty of fresh Italian food paired alongside even including a pasta making class before one of our dinners. 

It was a treat to watch the sun set over the mountaintop vineyard during dinner at La Palerna, enjoy a still-warm piece of bruschetta toasted over olive wood and drizzled with olive oil pressed just feet away, try wine made with the ultra-rare Gratena Nero grape made at a rural winery outside Arrezo, and experience all the different winemaking interpretations of Sangiovese wines over the week. And it was a trip made all the more special by sharing it with fellow home winemakers passionate about wine and winemaking while exploring the incredible medieval hilltop villages, stunning countryside, and culture of Tuscany and Umbria.

Our 2022 WineMaker trip will be to Bordeaux, France next September 18-23. Details on this 2022 trip can be found at winemakermag.com/trip. We hope you can join us on a future WineMaker adventure. Salud!