Ground Rules… Cantine Aperte May 26th 2013 .

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A ‘Vine’ day for a wine tasting!

Ground Rules

Rules of Cantine Aperte to guide you through this great annual event!
The first thing to remember is that it is always the last weekend of May and nationwide throughout Italy …

This is one day we DON’T work!  We use part of the day to go to new cantine that we usually don’t have time to visit normally in Umbria.   The latter part we go local – so we can get home easily!

What’s it all about? 

So, if you’ve never been, how do you go about it?  I’m here to tell you how!

This is an event for everyone! There’s amazing wine, great food, entertainment galore, picnics in the vineyards, jazz in the barrel rooms … What’s not to like?

There is, in our opinion, one thing not to like, and that’s the more popular cantine are BUSY, I mean, really BUSY!  This can be a lot of fun, please don’t misunderstand us! But, consider parking at the very least!  We like to go to the smaller, more out the way cantine and that way we can think of  it as work!  It’s research, of course and it shouldn’t be against the rules to have a day off, right? 

Research ……

Where to go?

Last year we found a gorgeous cantina with our friends; pretty, friendly, great wines, great food to go with the wines, and they can do lunches too.  A real find!  (No, not tellin’ where!) We added them to our growing list of gorgeous places to visit on our wine tours!

Our Stafford rule is twofold – one, choose a cantina on the Saturday night and go for a wine-pairing extravaganza – You will have to book in advance.  This is a relatively new development here in Umbria, but we have experienced these long, slightly chaotic, enormously fun dinners and we thoroughly recommend them!

Cheers from the pre-Cantine Aperte dinner at Fongoli (Cena del Vignaiolo)
Cheers from the pre-Cantine Aperte dinner at Fongoli
(Cena del Vignaiolo)

Two, think about an AREA you would like to concentrate on – if you are in Umbria, for instance, it’s on the large side to be travelling all over the region in one day.

E.G.  Stick to the Montefalco area …. This year, there will be several cantine open for the event,  places like Perticaia, Fongoli, Fratelli Tocchi, Sant Anna … Bigger places like Arnaldo Caprai,  Antonelli and Scacciadiavoli have good events and are usually very crowded as a result, but always fun.

Or perhaps around Cannara … Dionigi and  Di Fillipo, or Benincasa on the outskirts of Bevagna.

The organisation and rules changes every year, so be prepared for what I say to no longer be valid this year!

Cantine Aperte – The lowdown rules!

You arrive at your chosen cantina and there should be a little kiosk selling the glasses with their pouches, so you can put your glass in your pouch around your neck freeing up your hands to eat the goodies offered!

Ground rules
Pouches with the glasses inside…

What SHOULD happen is that once you buy your glass and sometimes tickets for the food and good wines, the next place you go to, you shouldn’t have to buy the glass… It doesn’t happen that way usually!  We end up taking quite the collection of glasses & pouches home with us!

At the end of the day ... HOW many wine glass pouches?!
At the end of the day … HOW many wine glass pouches?!

Some cantine organise a tasting menu lunch by reservation, of course – this isn’t something we’ve done yet, we prefer to graze from cantina to cantina!

Not just wine!

A big favourite here is the Porchetta roll, a whole pig, boned and stuffed with delicious herbs and the liver etc, then roasted to perfection until the stuffing has infused the pork with the flavours and the crackling is beautifully crisp…..

A Porchetta roll .... A real treat!
A Porchetta roll …. A real treat!

Some places put on a buffet where you can choose different food to go with different types of wine …. perhaps a light farro and pecorino cheese salad with a crisp white Grechetto or some delicious local cured meats with a smooth Montefalco Rosso …. The Sagrantino di Montefalco pairs well with some mature cheese like Parmigiano.  Some of the cantine get the grill going and there are Umbrian sausages, ribs, or even the local speciality – snails.  The bruschette are drizzled with the cantinas own amazing olive oil and there are usually a selection of the fruit-jam filled crostate for dessert.

Hand sliced Umbrian Prosciutto #Fongoli

One place we visited had a great cheese tasting platter on offer – divine!

Cheese tasting at Cantine Aperte - wonderful with either white or red wines
Cheese tasting at Cantine Aperte – wonderful with either white or red wines

What to expect…

The rule of thumb is that there is the base red and white freely available at various points around the cantina and if you would like to have a glass of their ‘good stuff’ (come on folks, it’s ALL good!) then you get the tickets when you buy your glass.  Bottled water is usually available freely too.

Wine tasting through the vineyard
Wine tasting through the vineyard

At most of the cantine we have visited there are regular tours of the barrel rooms, entertainment in the form of live music and we’ve seen little markets selling everything from Umbrian speciality goods to plants, herbs and flowers! There are no hard and fast rules!  Each cantina organises their day in a slightly different way! 

Go along to one or two of the cantine, enjoy your day and then come and let me know how you got on!

Cheers! #Cantine Aperte
#Cantine Aperte

Come to Umbria and see for yourselves! Check out places to stay here.

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  1. Great post Giselle. I had heard so much about this event but never an in-depth explanation of how things work. Sounds like we’ve really been missing things! Enjoy.

  2. Greetings! Great info! Holding our own Wine Festival in NJ. Can’t seem to find any info about where I can order those wine glass pouches. Any leads would be appreciated!

      1. End of August. Need to get them imprinted, so need them pretty soon. I saw in a prior post a pic of some green ones being given out. I have been looking extensively online to find them and to no avail! Any help/ leads would be appreciated!

          1. Hi There!
            Thank you for contacting me! No, I have not received your email regarding wine glass holders. If you could resend, I would be very appreciative!

  3. Excellent post! I would have added to visit the small wine producers because they need it more, often. But that is just me, always trying to protect the small producers and shops.

  4. Reblogged this on GUSTO! Blog and commented:

    As Cantine Aperte is almost upon us (tomorrow folks!!) here’s a little post about the day! And as Willemijn says, concentrate on the less well known cantine – you’ll have a truly authentic local experience that way, in our opinion! Giselle & Mark

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