It pays to read the fine print. Then again, maybe not.
I researched wine tours in Tuscany, but everything I found was prohibitively expensive. Then I stumbled across Italy On a Budget Tours. And the Grape Escape Winery Tour more than met our needs. It was only after I'd booked three tickets that I noticed it was for ages 18-35. Whoops. I myself am just barely sliding in under the wire, never mind my parents.
I emailed the company in a panic, and they quickly reassured me that my parents would be more than welcome. But I was nervous - what if we got a bunch of drunken and immature college students on our tour? Ugh.
I needn't have worried.
Like all the wine tours we've been on, there were eight people and a driver in a van. This time it was the three of us, a couple from New Zealand, two friends from Ohio, and a girl from London (all of whom were well out of college). As usual, nobody talked to each other on the way to the first stop. Everyone is always a little intimidated and self-conscious...until the tastings begin.
Our first stop was Tenuta Torciano, where we sampled six wines, three cold-pressed extra virgin olive oils, and one aged balsamic vinegar. We also met two sisters from Easley, who now live in Charleston (small world!), and learned that adding sugar, alcohol or any sort of additives to wine in Italy carries a longer prison sentence than murder. And boy, you can tell. That wine was amazing.
Our second stop was Pietraserena, where we took a tour of the vineyards and winery facility before settling down on a gorgeous patio overlooking San Gimignano and tasting three wines, plus fresh bruschetta. This is where I learned my mother actually likes Italian wine, and where I watched her eat a tomato - something I still haven't quite gotten over. I bought a bottle here to take back to France with me.
Our final stop was in the town of San Gimignano to shop, explore, or sit down in the square and have a cold glass of Prosecco. And we did all of the above.
Enjoy the pictures like we enjoyed the day!
E (and Mom and Dad)