Wanna make just about everyone - whether they're on a tour or not - ridiculously happy pretty quickly? Take them to a wine tasting at a vineyard. It's a slam dunk, but even more so (exponentially!) in Southern Italy at a place called Cantina del Vesuvio, family run since it began back in 1948. So, Italians tend to take family, wine making, and food seriously. (I can say this because I'm 1/2 on my mother's side. Her mother came over all alone, at 13, on 'the boat' to Ellis Island.) This place is a testament to that, especially because (we agreed) it was the best wine, and food, on our #GoCollette Tour last week. The food wasn't fancy and it didn't need to be. This was a meal we'll be raving about for years to come. There are no words people, except maybe mind blowing or transformative. (Photos below.) Ditto that for the wines. And no pesky post vino headaches to speak of either.
*Shoutout also to the gentlemen we saw picking grapes on our way in and the elderly gent who served us our grappa, wines, and prosecco during the tasting part because he was, as they say, a real hoot. They really helped make the experience feel more genuine.
So, everything (They also grow olives for oil. In addition to the wine, we ordered 4 bottles of their olive oil, thus settling the lingering question, every time I go to the market in RI, about whether or not the one I'm buying is authentic.) is grown organically in volcanic soil, as they are located in the vicinity of Mt. Vesuvius. Now, I'm no wine grower or maker by any stretch, but the owner told us (in Italian...Thanks to our Collette Tour Manager Sergio for translating because we flaked on buying Rosetta Stone or installing one of those language apps on our phones.) his is THE finest soil in the world. And after tasting the vino and oil, I'm a believer.
**This whole business about the volcanic soil was also underlined btw by several food & wine bloggers I happen to know on social media.
Also, at the risk of offending any of the street vendors or shop keepers selling tchotchkes like I Heart Italia t-shirts (or anyone who's into that sorta thing...For he record, I myself am over all of it.), anything from this vineyard makes a spectacular souvenir for you or someone back home. It's one way to insure they'll love you forever, or at least until the bottle runs out.
Ciao for Now,
Photo Credits: Food photos and those of the grape picking and owner are courtesy of PattyJ.com. Additional photos are from the vineyard's website.