We spent the time soaking in the scenery and getting to know one another. At last we spied the castle at Antinori and we drove into the grounds of its neighboring winery Castella Della Sala. Federica Amicone ushered us in, gave us a tour of the beautiful, pristine, modern facility before we adjourned upstairs for our first of what would be many tastes of Italian wine. We departed Castello Della Sala and made our way into Orvieto, where we stood in awe of the magnificent Duomo. From there we were taken to a series of caves ( just a few of more than 1,000) that once housed pigeon columbariums, olive oil presses and other facilities. After our brief tour of Orvieto, we checked into the quaint Hotel Piccolomini and then strolled the streets of town before reaching the Vinosus restaurant overlooking the Duomo where we enjoyed a bountiful meal accompanied by plentiful wine. A winter’s chill was in the air as we walked back to our hotel for some well deserved rest. The following morning we took a brisk walk from the hotel to our bus bound for Barberani Winery. The air was bitter cold, but Bernardo Bernardini was an exceptional host as he led us through the facility and out for a view of the newly graded terroir soon to receive new vines. Barberani celebrated its 50 year milestone last year and we celebrated with a tasting of their wines with some bread, cheeses and charcuterie. From there it was off to Arnaldo Caprai in Montefalco where Marco Caprai was waiting for us with a grin from ear to ear.
Marco stood in the vineyards and shared the proud history of his family’s winery. Following a tour of the cellar and production facilities, we made our way through the beautiful tasting room and headed upstairs where chef Salvatore Denaro guided us through a lesson in hand rolling pasta noodles. While we ate the fruits of our labors, along with a savory ragout chef Salvatore prepared, Marco shared his wines with us, including a lovely Grecante and Sagrantino. We ended the meal with a Sagrantino Passito. I had already fallen in love with Umbria.
The Lungarotti Winery was founded in the 1960s by Teresa’s father Giorgio Lungarotti. It was our final stop of the day and Teresa and her sister, Chiara Lungarotti were charming hosts who gave us a full tour of the winery followed by a sparkling wine reception and a delicious dinner. The Lungarotti wines are elegant and refined and a perfect accompaniment to the assortment of cheese, charcuterie and pasta we feasted on. A splash of Grappa and we were ready to call it a night. The conference was set to start the following morning.