Sunday, November 28, 2010

A bottle of wine every day takes the doctor away...

“A bottle of wine every day, takes the doctor away,” says a bold voice behind the counter of a tiny wine shop located at the bottom of a giant vineyard in the middle of Chianti. “Shame for you,” on not being a drinker, she adds, when she learns that I am not one for drinking. “Shame for you, again,” she adds, when she learns that I don’t eat meat. Meet Roberta. A loving, passionate, vino-knowing gal, who allowed us to sample not only the vineyard’s best wines and biscotti, but also the kind and loving atmosphere of Chianti.

Hiking up a mountain was not how any of us had planned to spend our day, but it ended up setting the pace for the entire day trip out of Florence and into the vineyards of Tuscany. Striding less than elegantly to the top of the mountain, we huffed and we puffed, wondering if we would ever reach the vineyard that we had made reservations at.

Turning around, at about the halfway mark, we realized that we didn’t care how big this mountain was, how tired our legs were, or how out of shape we truly were, this view was absolutely stunning. Suddenly, making it to the top in time wasn’t as important as taking in the moment. Suddenly, reaching the vineyard was less of a mission than just basking in the idea that we were standing in the middle of Tuscany without a care in the world. “I could stand here all day,” said Matt. Looking out over the landscape, and all I could think to myself was, 'Me too, my gosh...Me too’

As we got closer to the top of the mountain, I called the vineyard to let them know we were running a few minutes late. A woman answered and spoke only Italian. She told me, “We are closed today.” Looking at my friends, I repeated what the woman said, but we still continued to venture. Once reaching the top of the vineyard, we realized, they were indeed closed and our reservation for a two hour tour and tasting must have never gone through (Thank goodness we didn’t pay ahead). A bit urgently, two of us tried to find someone to explain our problem, but all we got was a sorry, no reservations today, we are closed. Looking at eachother, it didn’t take long to realize that it really didn’t matter. What we were looking at, a castle in the sky, fields of grapes, and a beautiful view, were all just worth taking in for a bit. We climbed the steps of the castle, ducked into arches, tasted fruits hanging from vines, and just sat staring out at the world…staring out at our current world…staring out at a world just asking us to explore it.

“Something good is going to happen,” I whispered to one of my friends… but ‘Something great’ is what I was really thinking. While a few of us stared out at the blue sky, one of our five had made his way back to the woman who told us they were closed. As he fetched water from her sink, he explained to her what had happened, and she suddenly felt bad, and went onto immediately call one of the men who worked there…Not before long, we were on our own private tour, learning the history of the Verrezano Vineyard…looking at dusty bottles of wine from 1924, looking at rooms over 1,000 years old, just again, basking in the wonderfulness that the day was suddenly bringing to us.

It had felt like we were in the movie Alice in Wonderland…with big barrels of wine, larger than ourselves, a garden that would have made perfect for the Queen’s croquet match, and our “Mad Winer”, the tour guide who was taking us through the history of the vineyard. Only this wasn’t, a movie, this was real life…this was our day Under the Tuscan Sun.

Moments after the tour ended, we stuffed 6 people into a smart car, so as not to have to walk down the mountain that we had first climbed up. Upon arriving at the bottom, we were greeted by the wonderfully stunning Roberta who took time out of her day to allow us to sample wines and dessert drinks. As we took our last sips, Roberta laughed, “Okay, now you pay,” asking for just 14 Euro each, on a day that we should have originally paid 28 euro each.

I smiled at my friends, and they each smiled back, knowing exactly what I was thinking. “This day was incredible…this town was incredible…this experience…was simply incredible.” Walking out of the hut, I stared at the road ahead, and thought to myself, “I never want to leave this country…I never want to leave this state of mind.”


  1. This day will remain in infamy until the end of time...

  2. Happy Birthday Laurie love Dad great video

  3. Sounds like a fantastic Birthday!
    Happy Birthday Lau

    Amazing article and video!