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

Wine Tour to the Willamette Valley

How long has it been since you visited the Oregon Wine Region? I’ve been to Portland but never south to visit wineries, so it was high time to visit! So I consider myself lucky to have been invited to celebrate a good friends birthday in the Willamette Valley Wine Region south of Portland, Oregon.

First stop – Portland! We met up the birthday girl at the Jupiter Hotel, had dinner and wine at their Doug Fir Restaurant and visited the Bar Vivant Champagne Bar for Bubbly, Sherry and Tapas.


The next day we got up early, and drove 1 hour south of Portland to the Willamette Valley.

Instead of seeking out a hotel or camping, try this family, couple friendly resort smack in the middle of wine country. The Vintages Trailer Resort – was a nice upgrade from camping, it was casual and relaxed and you have the choice of vintage holiday trailers that have been updated inside for max comfort. Included were cruiser bikes, a bbq and an outdoor “deck”. As well, there are shared showers, a pool and hot tub and general store.

And just 20 minutes by bike along a path from this resort is Dayton, a very small town with a few restaurants, its quaint. But here are some of the wineries we visited within 5 -15 minutes away by car from the resort…

Roco Winery – with a focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – it was their cool climate style Chard that won me over! I love this balanced style, it’s so approachable!

De Ponte Cellars – I wanted to go visit here because I read they were growing Melon de Bourgogne (Muscadet) which is not common in this area. It was well made, and a great representation of the grape! yummy.

Purple Hands – found right off the main road, this little beauty had a lineup of Pinot Noir from different vineyards, a treat, as it really showcased what the soil in the area.

Sokol Blosser – Not only a lovely winery to taste, but to sit down and enjoy the view, snacks and a glass of wine! My favourite was their Sparkling Rosé from Pinot Noir.

White Rose – Definitely a must, not just for the view but the wines are top-notch, small batch and naturally made Pinot Noir. Finessed and elegant.

Shea Wine Cellars – another stellar winery making pristine Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from single vineyards.

There are soooo many wineries, we really only hit a few. This is Pinot Noir and Chardonnay country but I think you’ll discover some talented winemakers experimenting with new varietals and just making beautiful Pinot Noir and Chardonnay! Discover and enjoy what the Willamette Valley has to offer!

Happy Wine Tasting!