Wine Tour in Tuscany: Italy on a budget tours REVIEW
If you’ve watched the film, Under the Tuscan Sun, you’ll understand my obsession with Tuscany. Italy had been at the top of my list for yonks to visit, and the number one spot was Tuscany, where I truly envisioned that dreams come true, the only liquid consumed was wine and there’d be rivers made of truffle oil.
The land of wine and oil, Tuscany is a region in central Italy that everyone must visit. The capital, Florence, is home to some of the world’s most well-known Renaissance architecture and art. You can literally walk where Michelangelo once did, see Botticelli’s works in the Uffizi Gallery and sit down and watch the world go by in front of the Duomo basilica.
While art and architecture are fun, there’s something I sought out even more – wine. Italy is known as the wine capital of the world, and when I decided to add it to my itinerary, I knew I had to include a wine tour.
I was lucky enough to travel to Italy with two of my best friends, and we’re all avid wine drinkers and carby eaters. After reading a LOT of reviews, we decided to go with Italy on a Budget Tours, and opted to go for a full day with The Grape Escape tour.
We were staying in the heart of Florence, and the tour was perfect as it provided transport to/from Florence to the Chianti region (my favourite part of Italy!). The Grape Escape Tour is for 18-39s, and a seriously jam-packed day of wine, food and fun times.
We were picked up from the Italy on a Budget Tours office in a big ol’ bus, and met our awesome tour guides, Sally and Gabriella. From there, we stopped at a winery/wine tasting school about an hour out of Florence, and had a seriously amazing time. We tasted 5 different types of wine, and (somehow) I got chosen to go out the front and demonstrate an old school “Tuscany love” sequence. It involved the (very good looking) winemaker swirling a biscotti in a large glass of dessert wine, and then walking up to me and seductively putting it in my mouth.
OF COURSE, it wasn’t nearly as sexy as that and I ended up spilling it all down my face (attractive), but HEY I got an entire glass of dessert wine to myself so who’s the real winner?! I really loved the first winery, and we had free time to go take photos and explore the grounds afterwards which was really fun.
The second stop was at a smaller, more local winery that is known for the production of the D.O.C.G Vernaccia white wine, that faces the famous towers of San Gimignano. Here, the winemakers gave us a very insightful tour of the vineyards and cellars, and then sat us down at a table with (I’m biased) the most beautiful view I’ve ever seen.
We sat down facing the vineyards and the rolling hills of Tuscany, and got to try three wines (which I ended up buying because they were all so damn delish). By this time, we were feeling a “little” tipsy and literally were having the best time of our lives. After a tiny (45 minute long) photoshoot with the stunning backdrop, it was back onto the bus to our last stop, San Gimignano.
One of the most beautiful, quaint medieval towns of Tuscany, San Gimignano is the home to “The world’s best Gelateria” (seriously, get the lychee and rose gelato) and some of the friendliest people we’ve ever met. We watched the sun start to go down as we perched on the old, sturdy walls of San Gimignano.
After walking (stumbling) back to the bus, we finally settled back into our seats and had a laugh with our tour operators (and then fell into a deep, deep slumber for the next hour).
If you’re after a fun, very generous wine tour, I cannot recommend The Grape Escape by Italy on a Budget Tours enough. WE had the absolute time of our lives, and I’m already planning the next time I go to Italy to try another one of their tours!