Visiting wine country in Italy

Even if you are not a wine connoisseur, I would highly recommend visiting wine country in regions of the world where growing grapes and making wine is the way of life and defines the culture.

The Mediterranean cypress trees that greeted us in the vineyard.

And one of the most popular wine regions of the world is Tuscany, Italy.

Rows of grapes being ripened to perfection.

I have had the good fortune of visiting Tuscany twice and ah, what can I say – I totally get why the girl in the movie ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ was totally willing to give up her life in the U.S. and live in Tuscany.

The rolling hills, the stone-walled villas, the historic towns with their cobblestone winding alleys – these are enough to make you want to visit, and I haven’t even started talking about the food, olive oil, trattorias and vineyards!

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One of the prominent wine towns in Tuscany is Montepulciano. It is known for its signature red wine, Vino Nobile. This is where we had our first wine tasting experience in Italy. And the winery we visited was a small family owed winery, Tenuta Valdipiatta.

The ornate gate to the wine cellar.

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On a complete lack of planning on my part, when we left Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast in the morning and started on our way to Florence, I did not know which town or winery in Tuscany we would stop at.

Amidst spotty internet and expensive roaming charges, we managed to find the winery while trying not to be distracted by the charm of cypress trees under a clear summer blue sky.

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We toured the wine cellars and made our way to the wine tasting, after taking the time to roam among and admiring the grapes. This was before I became a red-wine convert and so the highlight for me was the pairing of the red wine with complementary cheese. The lady who have us the tour and the gentleman who explained the intricacies of the wines were both gracious and graceful.

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We left the winery with a happy heart, grateful to have taken part in the Tuscan way of life, just by sampling its wine, and taking a few bottles with us for our onward journey to Siena and Florence.

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