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Bike, Hike, Walk, Ski

You pick your activities; we’ll create your perfect tour. Kathy and Vernon work directly with you to create a trip to match your desires for accommodations, daily mileage, terrain, and activities such as wine tastings, cooking classes, shopping, and city tours.

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Food and Wine

Any tour of Italy is incomplete without indulging in the amazing food and wine. But to truly appreciate It, and what makes Italy so unique, requires a understanding of the regional history, culture and geography. All become part of your adventure with Kathy, chef, food blogger, and Certified Italian Wine Professional, and Vernon, mountain guide, MS in European Literature and avid history enthusiast.

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Your Unique Adventure

Not all private trips are custom. Most tour companies don't have the flexibility to deviate from their set itineraries, so there are always compromises. With Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine, your adventure will be as unique as you are, and your itinerary will be personally designed by Kathy and Vernon to meet the fitness goals and varied interests of your group.

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The ItaliaOutdoors Difference


Truly Personalized Service and a Custom Plan for Every Trip

Kathy and Vernon

NO MIDDLEMEN

You communicate directly with Vernon and Kathy. We know your dreams for an Italy adventure, we’ll have it ready for you when you arrive.

No Group Too Small

SMALL FOOTPRINT

Our small footprint allows us to travel like locals and enjoy spontaneous adventures as we explore the path less traveled.

 

Custom Plan

UNIQUE ITINERARY

Each tour itinerary is unique and serves as a framework for an exceptional journey, where a thoughtful plan adjusts to your pace.

 

Authenticity

KNOWLEDGE

We focus on just a few select tours to provide an exceptional level of regional knowledge and an unforgettable authentic experience.

Customize Your Adventure - Bike - Walk - Hike - Ski
With Italys "Best Local Guide 2013"

Read about our tours in Adventure Cyclist August 2015

Our passion is creating intimate, personalized cycling, skiing, walking and hiking adventures that explore an authentic Italy
- its outdoor beauty, its hidden back roads, its small family producers, its traditional wines, at your preferred pace.
Tell Me More!

The Luigi Righetti estate is a small family-run winery located in the town of Valgarata, just outside of Marano in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico area. This winery has been producing wines since 1909, and the current owners are the fifth generation of the Righetti family to carry on their wine-making tradition. Luigi Righetti is now in his late seventies, and is still involved in the business, assisted by his sons and granddaughter.

valpolicella vineyards private tours italy
Vineyards in Valpolicella


Along with their Amarone, they produce Valpolicella, Bardolino, and Bianco di Custoza. There Amarone very much intrigued me, as the price was incredibly reasonable, at just over $30 a bottle. Amarone is a very labor intensive wine to produce, and usually commands a high price.

Want to try some wonderful Amarone? Join us on our Bike the Amarone Wine Roads tour! Click here to learn more.

Amarone (from amara, or bitter in Italian) wines were first produced accidentally - a sweet Recioto wine taken a bit too far. Fermentation of wine is the process of converting sugar to alcohol. In Recioto wines, the fermentation process is stopped before all the sugar is consumed, resulting in a sweet wine. In the case of Amarone, the fermentation process continues until the sugar is totally consumed, resulting in a dry, high alcohol, full-bodied wine. The first dry Amarone wines were produced in the early 1950s, and today specialized strains of yeast are used to insure the total conversion of sugar to alcohol. A dry, full-bodied red wine like Amarone usually hails from more southern regions, and is rarely found in a cooler climate such the Valpolicella region. In more southern locals, their longer growing season allows the grapes plenty of time to ripen on the vine. Other late harvest wines rely on the botrytis mold to desiccate the grape and concentrate the sugars.  In the unique case of Amarone, the grapes are the last to be picked in this zone, and then spend the next three to four months in drying rooms, being carefully desiccated to avoid mold and rot. This technique (passito) produces a raisin that has the acid balance characteristic of grapes from cooler climates. Amarone wines are then aged in wood barriques for several years, some up to five years, before release.

righetti amarone custom walking tours italy
Righetti Amarone

The flagship wine of the Righetti winery is their Capitel de Roari Amarone. Made from a blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes that are hand selected from the best produced by the Righetti growers, the grapes are then dried for 4 months in a special drying attic, where windows are used to control the humidity and temperature. The wine is then aged, half in French barriques, and half in Slovenian oak barrels, and is released 4 years after production.

I highly recommend this Amarone; a well-made, high quality wine that is very well priced at $30 a bottle. It is a deep purple color, with intense aromas of cherry, dark berries, currants, dried fruit, smoke and chocolate. Full-bodied, potent, slightly bitter flavors of cherry and dark chocolate. A persistent, velvety finish with fine tannins. 

Amarones are typically long-lived wines and some need further aging to achieve their greatest potential, but the Righetti Amarone, is supple enough to enjoy young. The Italians refer to Amarone wines as a vino da meditazione, a “wine of meditation”, best enjoyed all by itself. If you prefer to enjoy it with food, a full flavored braised or roasted red meat, or aged hard cheeses such as a grana or Parmigiano Reggiano would be great choices.

righetti valpolicella custom cycling tours
Righetti Valpolicella

I also tasted the 2008 Righetti Campolieti Valpolicella, a Classico Superiore Ripasso. Classico indicates it hails from the best vineyards in the Valpolicella region, those that were part of the original area and not vineyards ‘added on’ to accommodate increasing demand for the wine. Superiore indicates that it has been aged at least 2 years. Ripasso refers to the method of production; here the pressed grape juices are ‘passed over’ the must leftover from the production of their Amarone wines, giving the resulting Valpolicella a bit more body and intensity.

The name Campolieti translates to “happy fields”, and this wine will certainly delight. It is a smoothly drinkable wine, rich and fruity with aromas of cherry and red berries, with hints of dried fruits and dark chocolate. Made from 70% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, and 5% Molinara, this is very elegant and well-balanced, with nice pleasant tannins and a persistent finish. At $17 a bottle, another great value from this producer. A wonderful choice to accompany a pasta or risotto with meat or mushrooms, red meats and roasts.