Is Wine, Cooking and Castles in Barolo & Roero For Me?

Please read this page carefully to make sure it is a right fit for you.

  1. Your Disposition - Our vacations are focused on having a good time with new friends. Everything we do revolves around that. People seeking a self-centered vacation might reconsider. Our groups tend to span all ages, men & women, singles & couples... everyone is welcome, and when our guests come ready to embrace a new culture, look forward to trying new things, and interact with other guests, it is always amazing. Even the way our guests see us is important. If you see us as "providers of a service", you may reconsider our trips. We bring you into our family and become part of the group with you... as though you are visiting friends and family. If you are able to be in this frame of mind, our trips will be like nothing you have ever experienced, but if you are looking for a more detached relationship with us, our trips may not be for you.
  2. This is vacation highly focused on fine wine, but if you are a "wine snob," this may not be for you - Yes, that was a loaded statement, we know. To be clear, there will be a great deal of incredible wines all week. We will actually drink more than 60 different labels throughout the week! But if you are looking to visit the Gaia, Ceretto or Fontanafredda cellars, that's not going to happen. If you want to know that Barolo or Barbaresco has 98 points in Wine Spectator, that is not going to happen. Those are massive producers that sell in terms of millions of bottles per year, and have massive corporate structures and marketing departments to create their image. We avoid these at all costs, and build relationships with small and unknown producers, where the winemaker is at the table with us sharing his or her passion. They don't have the budget or production to distribute to tens of thousands of stores and be considered in Wine Spectator. Their wine is absolutely as good, if not significantly better than many of those others, and is is made with their heart. Additionally, we are all about relationships and real family hospitality. The corporate wineries have "wine tasting departments," and that is just not us. We strictly seek out winemakers that not only make some of the best wine in the world, but have salt of the earth personalities. Because of this, it is also important that our guests are looking for exactly this kind of experience.
  3. Be Ready to Embrace the Culture - Our trips focus on bringing you into the true culture of the place, but some guests want to see it, but not live it. We embrace the culture and do things the way locals do, which may or may not be what you are looking for. This includes little things like not having cappuccino with our meals (Italians only have cappuccino as a breakfast beverage), not having bacon and eggs for breakfast (Italians have coffee or tea and pastries), or larger things, like the fact that we have our dinners after 8:00 PM, like the Italians do. Every step of the way we adapt to the local culture, rather than asking the local culture to adapt to us. This also tends to make us much more welcome guests than other groups!
  4. Physical Intensity - You by no means need to be athletic for this vacation, but you must be able to handle some level of physical exertion. A good rule to follow would be to ask yourself if you can do three flights of stairs, then continue walking without needing to sit down for a while. Or, if you can walk up to 2 miles per day.
  5. Age Concerns - We have had guests as old as 90 years old with no problems whatsoever. Age is not a limiting factor, so long as you are in good physical condition with no health problems that exertion would complicate.
  6. Altitude - This general area is roughly 600 feet in altitude (190 meters). The highest altitude of the week will be 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) on the day we go to the alps.
  7. Walking & Bus Time - In Italy, walking is always a larger concern than it probably is back home. This is because the towns are ancient, and much is closed to vehicle traffic. Some guests are also concerned about how much time they will spend in a bus. While we are in a very central area, we try to go to some of the most interesting places. Some days will have more travel time, and some very little.

Total Walking & Bus Time for the Week

  • Total Walking All Week: ~4 miles (6.5 km)
    This is the total for the entire week, not per day.
  • Total Time in Bus All Week: ~10 hours
    This is the total for the entire week, not per day, and does not include transfers at beginning and end of the week, which are two hours each way.

Detail Day By Day:

While at the Villa
The Villa's parking area where the van picks us up and drops us off is right in front of the entrance. Very little walking is needed here. Note that there are stairs to reach the second floor rooms.

Day Walking Bus Rest Time
Saturday On Saturday when you arrive, we will be at the villa, so no significant walking is involved, unless you decide to take a walk around the vineyards at the villa. The only time you will be in the van today is to get to the Villa from Milan Airport. The drive from the airport is about 90 miles (140 km), and should take roughly two hours. While where we are staying is significantly closer to Turin, for convenience of arriving flights, we choose to start and end at the airport in Milan. n/a
Sunday Today the walking will be when we are in Barolo. You can walk as little or as much as you want, depending what you want to do Typically we do roughly a half mile (0.8 km) The total time in the van today is roughly an hour. From the villa to Barolo is about 25 minutes, from Barolo to dinner is about 25 minutes, and another 5 minutes back to the villa. The total driving throughout the day is about 35 miles (56km) After lunch we will have some time for rest at the villa before we head to Barolo.
Monday This is a long day out, with about 1 mile (1.6 km) of walking all day. Most of the walking while we are at the cheese producer in the alps, and in Savigliano. This is one of our longer driving days of the week with a total of 3 hours in the van. We drive an hour and a half to get to the Alps (50 miles / 80km). After lunch, we have a 45 minute drive to Savigliano, which is taking us back toward the villa (28 miles / 45km). Finally another 40 minutes back to the villa (24 miles / 39km total for the day). Today is a full day out. We will not be back in town until after dinner. Most guests take time to close their eyes on the bus ride.
Tuesday Today there is very little walking for the cooking class, but expect about 1/2 mile (0.6km) for the truffle hunt if you decide to join. Today the cooking class is just a few minutes down the road, and the truffle hunting is just twenty minutes away. Total driving time is about an hour disbursed through the day. (30 miles, 50km total for the day) We will have some time to rest at the vill after the cooking class and lunch.
Wednesday Torino is a very flat and walkable city, but there will be some walking involved. Assume roughly 1 mile for the day. Today is a full day in Torino, which is roughly a one hour drive from our villa (35 miles / 55km each way). (70 miles / 110km total for the day) Today is a full day out, but when guests get tired, there is always a cafe to relax in. Most guests take time to close their eyes on the bus ride.
Thursday Today there is no notable walking for the cooking class, but consider roughly a half mile (0.6km) in Alba for the truffle hunt. All driving is very close distance today. Between the drive to the truffle hunt, then to dinner, and back to the villa, we will be in the van for roughly a total of 40 minutes. (16 miles / 10km total for the day) There is a good amount of time to relax after our cooking class and lunch. This is a very relaxed day.
Friday Today will be another day that is light on walking. Just a little at the Barolo winery, and a little when we go from the second winery to the villa for dinner. The drive to the Barolo winery is about a half hour each way, then from our villa to the second winery and our farewell dinner is about an hour each way. In total it is roughly 3 hours in the van disbursed across 4 separate drives. (77 miles / 127km total for the day) After our visit the the Barolo winery with lunch, we will have some rest time at our villa (a good time to pack), before we leave for the second winery and our farewell dinner at the vill in the mountains.

Special Needs we can (and cannot) cater to in Chianti

Physical Limitations You must be able to walk up to at least 4 miles in a day. You must be able to at least walk a couple of flights of stairs without rest in order to come on this trip in order to go on the excursions.
Food Limitations We can cater to most food allergies, vegetarian diets, and to some extent kosher diets. We will substitute with other dishes if you let us know in advance. We can even cater to a gluten-free diet. Our cooking class menus will not change based on a guest's food limitations, but even in the classes, we can usually offer alternatives to eat. That said, if you do have limitations, it is important that you have a positive attitude about it. We are happy to substitute, but the variety of alternatives may be limited.