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Day ​​​6 blogs - July 2​2, 2016

​Winery tours

Blogger:  ​​1L ​Sarah Pierce

Today, we woke up bright and early to have class. We discussed art censorship and the looting of important pieces. Afterwards, several of us went to explore the local market. Next, we met up for a quick lunch before hopping in a van and heading to a winery roughly an hour away from Castiglion Fiorentino. Our first stop was a cute little basement restaurant in a small town called Radda in Chianti. We ordered plates of meat and cheese and were instructed by the waiter as to which wines we should pair with what plate. Then, we headed to our first winery, which was actually an old castle. This particular winery also happened to be the birthplace of Chianti wine. The wine shop allowed us to try some samples, and several of us ended up ordering bottles to be sent back to the U.S.

Our next winery stop included a tour of the grounds and the cellar and another tasting. The guide thoroughly explained the process of making wine and the laws and regulations that govern the process. He showed us the machinery that is used to create the wine and the barrels in which the wine is stored prior to bottling. The entire process was extremely interesting and complicated. After sampling some more wine, we finally made the trek back to the Santa Chiara Study Center for a late dinner.
Blogger:  1L Lacy McKinney

Our class had the chance to visit some of the best wineries in the Chianti region. We learned a significant amount about the laws pertaining to the growth and production of wine in the region. The best quality of wine of course has special laws regulating the process. The top quality of wine is labeled as DOGC, Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, which in English means guaranteed designation of origin. For a wine to be classified as a DOCG, the wine has to be bottled within the zone of production for the region and samples have to be submitted anonymously to a board for chemical testing, tasting and approval. Approved wines are granted a special strip that indicates it has passed these strict requirements. If the wine does not pass the chemical or tasting requirements, the winery is given a designated period of time to rectify the issue. In order to remedy the problem, the winery is allowed to mix barrels together in order to achieve the intended quality. As a result, the winery is expected to resubmit a bottle from each barrel that was involved in the mixing process to be chemically tested and tasted for approval. Wines that do not qualify as DOCG must be sold as VdT, Vino da Tavola, or table wine, a much lower category in quality and price. The wine test tasters, in my opinion, definitely have one of the best jobs in Italy.

Blogger:  3L Daniela Clark

I’m writing this while sitting upside down against the wall to elevate my feet and ankles. They’re swollen to twice their size from all the walking we’ve done today.

We visited two different wineries. The first winery was more posh. It had an amazing dispensary wall. I fell in love with a wine called Granello. I’m not normally a wine drinker, but this white dessert wine has stolen my heart. I can’t wait to try it back home with some tiramisu or salty cheeses.

The second winery was more interesting. We took a tour of the vineyard and cellar. Our tour guide told us all about the regional regulations regarding wine making. Apparently the wine makers in the region act together in a council, much like OPEC acts together for oil. The winemakers, through vote, decide the amount of certain kinds of wine that will be made in the region based on demand. The level of bureaucracy is high and they are audited often to ensure the integrity of the winemaking process.

Wine law is fascinating!

Italy Chianti bottles
Italy Chianti bottles3