The Italian Wine Girl Tour 2018
Dates: November 4 -10, 2018
Group Size: 10
Join internationally renowned Sommelier and wine journalist Laura Donadoni on an exquisite vinicultural voyage through the undiscovered vintages and fine dining treasures of Tuscany and Umbria. Together we will uncover the ancient wine heritage of the lesser known Carmignano appellation while sipping Super Tuscans at a 16th century Medicean villa. We’ll share an exclusive winemaker’s lunch with a fifth generation producer and savor sumptuous views of the Arno while fine dining in Florence, then venture into the green heart of Umbria to discover the preeminent winemakers and Michelin starred wonders that make the region an epicurean paradise. We’ll sample stellar Antinori vintages at the medieval Castello della Sala and two-Michelin star dine along Lake Corbara, before tasting exquisite Extra Virgin Olive oils and local legumes at an organic farm on Lake Trasimeno. We’ll delight in a private winery dinner at the storied Lungarotti estate before discovering the superior Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG wines of producer Arnaldo Caprai. Along the way we’ll discover the stunning medieval hill towns of Orvieto, Assisi and Spoleto, before delving into the artisan food traditions of Norcia, from hunting for the area’s prized black truffle to savoring handmade charcuterie of a Norcineria.
We will begin our vinicultural voyage through Toscana and Umbria at the rendezvous point of Santa Maria Novella Train Station in Florence, where the CountryBred Tour Manager will be waiting to welcome everyone as they arrive. Once all participants have arrived, we will depart the train station via group bus transfer for our sophisticated stay, Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni 1, just steps from the city’s greatest architectural and artistic marvels. We'll check-in at our sumptuous four-star stay, Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni 1, located in one of Florence’s most coveted neighborhoods, before toasting to the start of our epicurean adventure with a special aperitivo and welcome by our tour's expert sommelier, Ms. Laura Donadoni, who will speak to the unique wine and culinary experiences we'll be enjoying together during our journey through Toscana and Umbria. In the evening, we will savor an elegant tasting menu of contemporary Italian cuisine with expert wine pairing at one of the city’s most coveted Michelin-starred restaurants, offering a world class wine cellar and romantic views of the Arno River. (Overnight: Florence/ Meals: D)
In the morning we will set off for a day spent discovering the uniquely complex super-Tuscan blends of the region's ancient Carmignano appellation. We’ll arrive at the sumptuous 16th century estate of Villa Medicea di Artimino, an UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the acclaimed Tenuta di Artimino, renowned for their storied production of elegant Carmignano DOCG wines with roots dating back to the Medici family. We’ll admire the estate's stunning setting with views overlooking the Montalbano hills, before embarking on a guided visit of the winery. Our visit will culminate with an in depth exploration of the Carmignano appellation through an exclusive tasting of the producer’s premium vintages, including Carmignano Riserva DOCG Grumarello, led by our tour's expert sommelier, Ms. Laura Donadoni. Next, we’ll travel to the family wine estate of a fifth generation winemaker whose boutique production of signature Carmignano wines has garnered acclaim for their sophistication and complexity. The winemaker will guide us on a visit of the vineyards before leading us through a special wine pairing with private lunch at the estate winery. From the vineyards of Carmignano we’ll return to Florence to enjoy a free evening to relax after our day of wine tasting, or continue discovering the many treasures of Florence independently. (Overnight: Florence/ Meals: B, L)
Our gastronomic adventure will continue as we check-out of Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni 1 and depart for the verdant wine country of Orvieto, located in southwestern Umbria. We’ll arrive to the 14th century estate of Castello della Sala winery, owned by the illustrious Antinori family winemaking dynasty. Our exclusive visit will begin with a tour of the Castello, a medieval fortress first built by the noble Vipera family in the year 1350, and perched above a stunning setting of sprawling vineyards and green forested hillsides. Our visit will culminate with a special tasting of the estate's stellar wines, including Muffato della Sala, Cervaro della Sala, and Pinot Nero. Next, we’ll travel to the Lago di Corbara (Lake Corbara) for an elegant lunch with wine pairing at an esteemed two-Michelin star restaurant acclaimed for its masterful modern interpretation of Umbrian flavors and dedication to superior materia prima. In the afternoon, we will embark for the historic hilltop town of Orvieto, for a private walking tour of the city’s treasured medieval center. Along the way we’ll discover remnants from its Etruscan and Roman heritage before experiencing the city’s glorious 13th century Duomo di Orvieto, renowned for its exquisite Gothic and Romanesque architecture, stunning facade festooned with vibrant mosaics, and interior chapels, most notably the Cappella di San Brizio with breathtaking frescoes painted by Luca Signorelli. We’ll visit the 13th century Torre del Moro for inspiring panoramic views overlooking Orvieto and the surrounding countryside, before enjoying free time to shop, stop for an espresso break, and continue discovering the town at our leisure. We’ll depart Orvieto for the medieval winemaking town of Torgiano for check-in to our luxury, five-star wine country retreat, Le Tre Vaselle Resort & Spa. Afterward, we’ll have a free evening to relax at the hotel or spend time exploring the heart of Torgiano at our own pace. (Overnight: Torgiano/ Meals: B, L)
This morning we will embark on a picturesque drive along the Umbrian countryside while en route to Lago di Trasimeno (Lake Trasimeno), where we'll discover the area’s ancient agricultural customs and golden olive oil route. We'll arrive at a family-owned, organic farm noted for its traditional cultivation of important agricultural products from the area, such as grains, legumes and olives. During our guided visit, we'll learn about the estate's production of chilometro zero ingredients including the prized local Fagiolina del Trasimeno bean, ceci (chickpeas), lenticchie (lentils), vegetables, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, before delighting in a special tasting of estate grown products highlighting seasonal produce and olive oil. From the farm we will next be transported to the majestic hilltop town of Assisi, for a guided visit of its medieval center. Along the way we will admire the charming Via San Francesco before stopping in the Piazza del Comune to visit the ancient Temple of Minerva, built by the Romans in the 1st century BC. Our time in Assisi will be crowned with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Basilica of St. Francis, built in the 13th century. An inspiring example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, during our guided visit we will experience the basilica’s illustrious frescoes by Cimabue and most famously Giotto, which retell the life story of St. Francis through an exquisite series of works. After returning to our hotel in Torgiano for some free time, we will travel to the storied wine estate of iconic producer, Lungarotti, for an exclusive winery experience. We'll begin our special evening with a private tour of the estate cellar to learn about the winery's vinification process, winemaking philosophy, and legendary history as one of the region's most esteemed family of winemakers. We will then delight in a private dinner hosted within the winery, during which old vintages of Rubesco Monticchio, Bianco di Torgiano DOC, and Vino Liquoroso Dulcis, will be paired with our dishes. (Overnight: Torgiano/ Meals: B, D)
Our epicurean voyage will continue as we check-out and bid farewell to Torgiano before making our way along the Strada di Sagrantino wine route of Montefalco. We’ll arrive to the estate of perhaps Umbria’s most preeminent producer of stellar Sagrantino di Montefalco wines, Arnaldo Caprai. Celebrated for their fine quality production of superior Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG wines that honor the historic grape varietal of the region, the winery is also recognized as a leader in the enological development and vinicultural identity of the appellation. During our exclusive winery visit we will tour the estate vineyards followed by the cellar with its fermentation area and barrel room, before enjoying a special tasting flight of the producer's esteemed wines, including Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG and Montefalco Rosso DOC. Afterward, we will set off for the medieval heart of Montefalco for lunch at a sophisticated ristorante renowned for their gourmet perspective on typical Umbrian flavors and celebrated wine list. In the afternoon we will travel to the dramatic hilltop treasure that is the ancient Roman town of Spoleto, for free time to meander along its picturesque neighborhoods offering elegant shops, quaint cafes, and a unique glimpse into the region's ancient Roman history with such sites as the Teatro Romano, an amphitheater dating back to the 1st century AD, and the Casa Romana di Vespasia Polla. Following our free time in Spoleto, we’ll depart for the walled city of Norcia, nestled at the foot of the Monti Sibillini, for check-in to our 16th century palazzo turned elegant four-star hotel, Palazzo Seneca. (Overnight: Norcia/ Meals: B, L)
Today we will be immersed in the local flavors and food products that have made Norcia an epicurean standout, starting with a morning transfer into the scenic forested hills of the Monti Sibillini national park to discover first-hand one of the region's most prized gastronomic delicacies. We’ll be welcomed by our local guide, an expert Truffle Hunter, who will provide insights on Norcia's unique truffle hunting tradition and the fine qualities of its prized tuber, the Tartufo Nero di Norcia. Next, we'll set-off in search of culinary treasure during an exciting truffle hunt through the woods of the Monti Sibillini national park, culminating with a tasting of bruschetta featuring Norcia's famed black truffle. From truffle hunting, we will next travel to a family-owned Norcineria to learn about the region's fine tradition of butchery shops dedicated to the handmade curing of pork products, characterized by a distinct flavor profile made possible by heavily spicing with salt and pepper. We'll enjoy a special visit of the family's farm, where they raise local black pigs, before sampling their succulent porcine specialties including salami and prosciutto, accompanied by typical rustic cheeses from the area. After our morning of gastronomic exploits, we’ll have free time to enjoy lunch independently and peruse Norcia’s many gourmet shops and Norcinerie, for delectable treats to take home. This evening we will celebrate our epicurean voyage together with an elegant dinner at Palazzo Seneca's acclaimed Michelin-starred restaurant, Vespasia. During our tasting menu with wine pairing, we will be taken on a gastronomic journey through the hyper-local ingredients, singular flavors and unique culinary traditions of the surrounding region by chef Valentino Palmisano's innovative ode to Umbrian cuisine and culture. (Overnight: Norcia/ Meals: B, D)
Departure from Norcia This morning we will check-out from Palazzo Seneca and depart Norcia for Rome Termini Train Station, in preparation for our scheduled drop-off and end of tour. (Meals: B)
Pricing is $4,950/per person, based on double occupancy*
Single Traveler Supplement: $1,800
*Prices subject to change
Laura Donadoni is a certified professional wine journalist and editor with a summa cum laude PhD in Communication Sciences, a professional speaker, a certified Sommelier with merit with the North American Sommelier Association and the World Sommelier Association; certified level 3 WSET sommelier, she is also one of the few Vinitaly International Italian Wine Ambassadors and Wine Judge in International competitions, a certified wine educator and wine taster; a certified Italian and Spanish Wine Specialist; a member of the Los Angeles Wine Writers Association and an official Instagram Zipkick influencer, an official wine educator for the National US Food and Beverage Museum.
Hailing from Bergamo, Italy, Laura Donadoni was born and bred on classic Italian wine and creative cuisine. Her career started as a columnist and wine and food reporter for several prestigious Italian magazines such as Gambero Rosso and anchor woman on the radio news for local and national radio networks; she also had her own food and wine show on the Italian broadcasting network Mediapason (second largest private tv network in Italy). Upon moving to the U.S., she translated her passion into The Italian Wine Girl blog and Youtube channel, spreading wine education and wine culture.
She founded LA COM Wine Agency, a strategic P.R. and communications firm focused on wine and food industry.
Most recently Laura Donadoni is U.S. Brand Ambassador for Franciacorta, Italy's most prestigious sparkling wine region and represents several other Italian wine regions in the U.S.. She is also an honorable Knight of the Order of the Truffle and the Wines of Alba, a prestigious historic order of ambassadors of authentic Piedmont typical products and wines in the world.
Optional travel insurance is available to provide peace of mind during your travels in the event of accident, sickness or unexpected cancellation. In evaluating travel insurance options you may want to review all forms of insurance coverage for your upcoming trip, such as your credit card or medical and homeowner’s insurance company benefits, in addition to other third party insurance providers. Trip insurance can also be purchased through CountryBred’s preferred provider Travel Guard®. If you are interested in obtaining a quote or purchasing a policy, you can contact CountryBred at 1-800-615-3543 or email us at email@example.com.
We live in an exciting time for travel where there are many resources available for booking airfare. As such, we encourage you to explore your options, such as booking your airfare through a trusted ticketing agent, an online airline resource, or using your frequent flier miles or credit card rewards points. As you research your preferred flights, you will want to review your pre-tour and post-tour travel plans, and select airline routes that make sense logistically with regard to the start and end dates of the tour. The tour will commence on November 4th, 2018 at Florence Santa Maria Novella Train Station, and end on November 10th, 2018 with drop-off at Rome Termini Train Station. As such, you should consider Florence Peretola Airport and/or Rome Fiumicino Airport as preferable airport options with regard to the tour.
The group rendezvous point for the start of the tour is Florence Santa Maria Novella Train Station. It is strongly recommended that you arrive to Italy one or two days prior to the commencement of the tour, to allow for any delays or re-routing that may occur while in transit to Florence Santa Maria Novella Train Station. Please note that all participants must arrive by 2:00 PM on November 4th, 2018 to take advantage of the group transfer to Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni 1. Participants who choose to arrive earlier or later than the 2:00 PM group transfer can contact CountryBred about private transfer options, which can be arranged at an additional cost.
The end date of the tour is November 10th, 2018, with a group drop-off at Rome Termini Train Station at 11:00 AM. If you are planning to depart from either Rome Fiumicino Airport or Rome Termini Train Station on November 10th, we would strongly recommend that you book a departing flight or train that leaves no earlier than 2:30 PM, to allow for ample time following the scheduled drop-off.
Each tour participant is allowed a total of one medium sized suitcase (25” to 27” inches) and one carry-on. Please note that this luggage allowance will be strictly enforced, as the size of the tour vehicle will only accommodate a specific amount of luggage.
This tour includes three lunches and three dinners that are designed to celebrate the regional culinary traditions, seasonal produce, and local food products that make Tuscany and Umbria such diverse gastronomic destinations. During the tour you will enjoy a large variety of gourmet foods and both typical and creative dishes, intended to delve deep into the authentic food landscapes we will be exploring. This means that you will be sampling regional delicacies that highlight such ingredients as beef, pork and poultry, such as duck, fruits, fresh herbs and vegetables like tomatoes, onions, squash, celery, olives, garlic and legumes like beans, chickpeas and lentils, mushrooms and black truffle, specialty cured meats and sausages made from beef and pork, cheeses made from cow, goat and sheep’s milk, and dishes made with grains, rice, eggs, flour, sugar, dairy, nuts like almonds, walnut and hazelnuts, chocolate, and honey. As the menus for each organized lunch and dinner are planned in advance, it is important that you advise Laura Donadoni and CountryBred in advance of any food allergies and/or dietary restrictions you may have, so that we can do our very best to meet your needs.
This tour may at times be physically active and interactive, so you must be in good health to participate. If you have any physical, mental, visual, or other medical impairment that may hinder your ability to successfully complete this CountryBred small group tour, you must submit a letter from your physician stating that you are able to safely participate in the tour at least 90 days prior to departure. CountryBred reserves the right to decline any Participant whose condition, in CountryBred’s opinion, may negatively affect the health or safety of that Participant, other Participants, our staff/agents, or third parties.
Your Traveler Welcome Package will include a hard copy of the final, detailed tour itinerary, as well as other supplemental travel information pertaining to weather, Emergency contact information, local dining recommendations for free time, etc. Your Traveler Welcome Package will be mailed out to arrive prior to your departure on the tour.
CountryBred has crafted this exclusive epicurean tour for Laura Donadoni, incorporating the very best vinicultural and gastronomic experiences that Tuscany and Umbria has to offer. As this tour has been specially crafted to take you off the beaten path and introduce you to authentic local food and wine experiences, it may require that necessary adjustments be made to the tour schedule either prior to departure or during the tour. Rest assured, we will make every effort to provide you with the touring experience outlined in the itinerary. Please be advised that we cannot provide refunds for any touring days, activities, excursions, tastings, etc., that you have chosen not to participate in, or any costs associated with opting out of a planned activity or excursion (i.e. taxi or bus fare).
To reserve your spot on this exclusive trip crafted for Laura Donadoni, please refer to the following steps. The group size for this tour is 10 people.
Please contact Laura Donadoni at firstname.lastname@example.org or (619) 370-8778, to make arrangements for submitting your trip deposit. A deposit of 50% of the total trip cost ($2,475/per person) will be required as the first step in reserving your spot on the trip.
After your trip deposit has been submitted to Laura Donadoni, you will need to complete and submit CountryBred’s online Group Traveler Agreement Form. You can fill out and submit the agreement form provided below or at the following link: Group Traveler Agreement Form
Once your trip deposit and Group Traveler Agreement Form have been received, your spot will be reserved on the trip. Should you have any additional questions regarding your reservation and the submittal of your deposit to Laura Donadoni, please contact Laura Donadoni at email@example.com or (619) 370-8778. Should you have any questions regarding the submittal of your online Group Traveler Agreement Form, you can contact CountryBred at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-615-3543.
Trip balance is due to Laura Donadoni by no later than August 27, 2018 (approximately 60 days prior to tour departure).
Please contact Laura Donadoni at email@example.com or (619) 370-8778, to submit your trip balance payment.
If you cancel before June 1st, 2018: You will receive a 100% refund of your paid deposit
If you cancel between June 2nd, 2018 and August 27th, 2018: You will receive a 50% refund of your paid deposit
If you cancel between August 28th, 2018 and September 28th, 2018: You will receive a 25% refund of your paid deposit
If you cancel after September 28th, 2018 all monies paid will be non-refundable
Trip cancellation must be made by calling Laura Donadoni at (619) 370-8778, and must be followed up by written confirmation via email or mail.