Before I visited Tuscany, I dreamt of what it must look like and I pictured rolling hills, lush green vineyards, cute farmhouses, lines of olive groves, orange trees and rustic living at its finest. When I arrived it was exactly the fairytale I imagined it to be and I fell in love.
Top of my list of things to do while I was there was to visit a Vineyard. Now, before going to Tuscany, I stereotyped Chianti wine and Tuscan wine to be primarily red, as I assumed it was a red wine producing area. How wrong was I!
I was researching vineyard tours and unfortunately the one I had actually wanted to book was filled up already, so the tour company suggested one at an organic and sustainable vineyard run by a family who produce a truly delicious white wine (Vernaccia di San Gimignano) in the heart of red wine producing area. Intrigued I say yes and a few days later we were driving through the gorgeous Tuscan countryside and arrived at the cutest vineyard.
The vineyard, called Cappella Sant’Andrea, is run by a lovely young couple called Flavia and Francesco. Flavia inherited the vineyard from her grandfather and is continuing the legacy with amazing quality wine production.
As we got out of the car we were met by a trio of adorable dogs, and I was besotted with this place. I have always told myself when I retire it will be somewhere like Italy, with a farmhouse, dogs, cats and growing all my produce on site. This is exactly the kind of place I would love!
Flavia gave us a tour of the vineyard, including talking us through how the Vernaccia is aged in terracotta pots, giving it a distinctive and delicious flavour.
They do have a small production of red wine on site too but their primary focus is on white wine.
The vineyard itself was so lush and we went for a wander through it. They pride themselves on being organic and this gives them a real USP. They keep animals on site as part of the natural biological process and are very strict about it.
Flavia talked us through each step of the wine making process and harvests, which was really interesting, and she really captured our attention, before taking us to a beautifully decorated room, where they hold their wine tasting sessions.
You know you are too much of an urbanite when you get excited about seeing Artichoke growing on a farm!
Flavia has a background in art and it showed in the way the room was tastefully designed and the decor she had chosen for it. The view from the room was breathtaking and that of the vineyard.
Flavia taught us how to taste the wine correctly in order to enjoy every element of the wine – color, aroma and taste. Before she served us the wine in glasses, she cleansed the glasses with a drop of wine and when we asked her why this was, she said that the only taste you would get from the glass would be wine, as otherwise elements such as washing up liquid traces could distort the taste of the wine.
The wine was so delicious that we bought a bottle to take away but now regret not buying more. Thankfully you can order these wines directly from the vineyard which we will definitely be doing.
I loved the experience and that it wasn’t what my stereotypical vision of what wine production in Tuscany was like. It was really interesting going off the beaten track to an organic white wine producing vineyard in the heart of a red wine producing region and highly recommend this experience to anyone visiting Tuscany, especially if you are into organic white wine or intrigued about it.
Flavia was very informative, patient and very charming when we asked her tons of questions. She knew about every aspect of their family vineyard operation from growing the grapes through the process of making wine and also on how to taste it and ship it! We enjoyed our trip to their 3rd generation vineyard and tasting room and would recommend it in a heartbeat for its authenticity, beauty and the couple’s passion in wine making.
I would love to visit Tuscany again as it is one of those places that stole a piece of my heart, and on my next visit I will try and experience a red wine producing vineyard.
This visit to Cappella Sant’Andrea further fuelled my desire to one day retire somewhere as beautiful as this and lets hope that one day that dream comes true!