Spring 2016 | Eola Hills Does Tuscany, 10th Anniversary Tour
In 2016, Eola Hills Founder Tom Huggins and Head Winemaker Steve Anderson brought our annual tour back to Italy, where the tours began 10 years ago!
Italy is one of our favorite tour destinations. What’s not to love about Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance and a virtual outdoor museum? It was great to revisit the historic hilltop towns with their castles keeping vigil over the valleys below, the Tuscan wineries that produce Chianti, Brunello, and the “Super Tuscans,” made from Sangiovese grapes, and the Piedmont region, where we visited producers of some of our favorite wines of all time – Barolos, Barbarescos – and, of course, Asti Spumante.
Pre-Trip | Cinque Terre | May 20-23
We eased into our tour in the beautiful seaside town of Monterosso al Mare, enjoying hikes through the vineyards and hopping on the train to visit the other four towns that make up the Cinque Terre. On the third day, Tom led a group on a day trip to Pisa and its historic Leaning Tower, while some of us grabbed a towel, a glass of wine and headed to the beach to dip our toes in the Mediterranean.
Main Tour | Tuscany | April 23-May 2
The main tour began in Florence with an evening wine reception and a chance to meet our fellow travelers. The next day, we explored Florence, one of Italy’s true gems. The famous Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Pitti Palace, Uffizi Museum were all within a 10-minute walk of our hotel.
After Florence, we traveled to Cortona. Along the way, we had our first wine tasting and luncheon in Breve en Chianti, and that evening, we got to know Cortona, the first of our hilltop towns.
Our tour continued with a brief stop outside of Tuscany for a tour of Orvieto, including the town’s beautiful cathedral where Michelangelo prepared for painting the Sistine Chapel by studying the cathedral’s well-preserved frescoes.
While in Tuscany, we visited Pienza, home of Pecorino cheese and gateway to the wines of Nobile di Montepulciano, enjoyed a cheese and wine tasting hosted by our winemaker, Steve Anderson, and a wine-paired dinner at our hotel.
No tour of Tuscany could be complete without a stop in picturesque San Gimignano – on our way there, we stopped in Montalchino for lunch and a wine tasting of the region’s incredible Brunello wines.
We also took a side trip to Siena, where the main square is the site of Il Palio, the colorful horse race, held twice a year, and we made sure to try Vernaccia, the local white wine.
The Post Trip | Piedmont and Lake Como | May 2-May 6
For those who wanting to put a perfect exclamation mark on a fabulous trip, we offered a post-trip excursion to one of our favorite wine regions on the planet, the Piedmont, and beautiful Lake Como.
After dropping off some of our fellow travelers in Florence, we went straight to Barolo and explored nearby wineries including those in the towns of Barbaresco and Nieve.
We made our way to our final destination on the shores of Lake Como, where we stayed in the town of Varenna. The ferry allowed us to visit the many hamlets that dot the shoreline, where we passed a few days exploring to our heart’s content.
For more information
To learn more about upcoming Eola Hills Wine Country Tours, give us a call at 1-800-291-6730 or send an email if you’d like to receive informational emails. We’ll let you know when the destination for 2017 is selected… so far, we’re thinking it might be a river cruise to visit wine country in Germany!