One Amazing Winery in Italy

So I know there are thousands of wineries to visit in Italy, let alone the rest of the world. But I discovered an amazing one that you must know about.

the vineyard


On a recent trip to Italy in late September, I was visiting in and around Florence and Bologna in the province of Emilia-Romagna. I had wanted to explore the small towns of Modena, Reggio-Emilia and Parma, so I went researching what wineries were in that area. There are a few, however I would say only a handful stand out, and in that handful is the gem I discovered!

the owner and the view

Emilia-Romagna province is known for growing and producing a traditional yet modern wine called Lambrusco. Have you heard of it? I hope so, because its not just delicious, but unique. You see, it’s slightly frizzante (light bubbles), and meant to be chilled and paired with charcuterie, antipasto and well, it’s just perfect with pizza! I am a super fan of Lambrusco, I love that it has history, it’s complex, and it can range from a natural rosé style to a deep, rich burgundy in colour and style.

So, imagine my surprise when I learned Opera 02 Winery made 4 kinds of Lambrusco, had their own cellar for producing Balsamic Vinegar, were a small hotel and had a restaurant. I couldn’t have booked it any quicker!

aging barrels in the vinegar cellar

Located just 15-20 mins. taxi ride from the Modena train station in the countryside. This quaint yet very modern winery is a slice of heaven. The views are like being in a painting, it almost doesn’t seem real. From the restaurant and its patio and every single room you overlook the valley filled with vineyards. It offers a mini retreat with a steam room and sauna for guests, a pool, private or public tours of the Vinegar cellar and of the winery. If you care to take a country walk, just 30 minutes or so is a small village called Levizzano. But really, who would want to leave this beautiful place! The rooms are simple yet modern and extremely comfortable with linen sheets and pastel colours, which just add to the view outside the window.

pasta with zucchini and truffles

I did a tasting of vinegars and can now really appreciate why Modena is home to the true original Balsamic Vinegars, and why they are what they are. They offer 6,9,12,20 and 51 year aged vinegars, a great way to discover your favourite style. Mine was between the 9 and 12 year aged. I also tasted through the delicious, naturally made, bio-dynamic Lambrusco wines produced. Out of the 4, the Opera Pura was the highlight for me. And let me tell you, these Lambruscos were the best I have ever tasted (so far). From a traditional dark coloured to a rosé version, all naturally made, these were all pure finesse in a glass. And to be able to have them with lunch or dinner was a perfect way to enjoy them. On their restaurant wine menu they also feature their neighbours wines which represent the area – and on of their own still wines –  Fiano (an overlooked white and not often available).

the view from my room with a glass of rosé lambrusco

I left with a full and happy tummy, luggage bursting at the seams with lambrusco, and a slight glitter in my eyes from the wine I’d been drinking at lunch while taking in the view. Probably the best way to depart any beautiful place. If you get the chance and are in the area during your next trip to Italy, please visit this wonderful gem of a place – Opera 2 Winery.

Until next time, ciao! 😉

The view

I recommend some of these wines…

blog valpolicella

Can you guess what the grapes are in this Italian Valpolicella (Val-pole-itch-ella) wine from Masi? The common blend of Valpolicella from Northeastern Italy is Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. You knew that right? 😉  It’s medium body, with sweet spice, ripe red cherries, hint (hint) of earth and leather, bright and smooth. Easy to please any palate for sure. And it went well with the savoury mushroom risotto I made!


I opened this great find recently. Purchased at the Vancouver International Wine Festival in 2015. Tempranillo (temp-ran-eee-oh) from the new world. It’s bright yet shows notes of baked fruits, leather, sweet cigars, a little spice and solid tannins. I love discovering old world grapes  in the new world. This Gemtree Luna Tempranillo from McLaren Vale, Australia lived up to its reputation fairly well!


If you haven’t explored the wines of Tasmania, you really do need to.  Josef Chromy is a great producer and I loved this Pinot Noir! It’s a gorgeous beast :), with notes of red berries, chocolate along with smooth tannins. So if you are a Pinot Noir lover (along with their sparkling!) give it a try to see what’s happening in the Southern Hemisphere.


Long ago, BC Wine (wine from British Columbia, the west side of Canada) was considered sweet crap. Not only were the wines not so great, but consumers were not experienced with wine or educated on it. Much has changed!! For years now we have had winemakers from around the world, living in the Okanagan Valley (our wine region) and bringing their knowledge and expertise to the locals and to consumers. The Okanagan has been noticed worldwide for it’s growing conditions and wines that are being produced. Once we grew everything, now we seem to have a better handle on what grapes do well in certain areas.

Take this wine above: Le Vieux Pin Winery is in the South Okanagan (the northern most part of the Sonoran Desert – from Baha Mexico to Canada) near the town of Oliver. They make French style wines and their flagship grape is Syrah. And wow, what a syrah it is. It’s made in an old world style, with notes of red and black fruits, black pepper, earth, leather and lovely tannins. One of my favourites! Le Vieux Pin and their sister winery (LaStella) will be reviewed in this months Wine Enthusiast fyi. Aside from that, they are recognized around the world for their wines, even a few Michelin star restaurants in Europe have them on their wine lists.


Two delicious finds are the Camillo Donati Lambrusco from Italy and the Claus Preisinger ‘Basic’ from Austria. Lambrusco is a very old grape from the area of Emilia-Romagna. If you are new to Lambrusco, which is a slightly frizzante red wine, this is one to begin with. Naturally made, expect it to be bold and rich with sweet fruits, savoury notes, it’s dry and just so darn delicious! Pair it with some pizza and voilà! it’s like being in Italy.

And for those of you wanting to explore a bit more of Europe, give this blend of 50% Blaufrankisch and 50% Zweigelt a try from Claus Preisinger in Austria. It’s medium body, smooth and easy to enjoy. Think red fruits from a cool climate, it will definitely surprise you! If you like Syrah, Pinot Noir, Grenache, you’ll enjoy discovering this producer and these grapes!

Keep exploring the wonderful world of wine – by trying wines you may not be familiar with!