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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!

There are an amazing number of wonderful small, family run wineries located in the hills of the lovely Valpolicella wine region. One I recently visited was the lovely Novaia winery, located in a large manor in the Alto Valpolicella area, in the township of Marano di Valpolicella.

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Novaia Winery

 

A winding drive through some of the 7 hectares of vineyards leads to an elegant 15th century manor. This is a multi-generational family run operation, I was greeted by the mother, whose grandparents ran the business, and then was introduced to her son, who is continuing the tradition. Mom did not speak any english, but her son, Marcello did, and was brought in when I described my interest. Marcello’s father, Giampaolo Vaona, was the enologist for Bolla for many years, but now can devote all of his energy into developing wines from his own estate. A very gracious and welcoming family, and both the company and the wines make this well worth a visit.

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Azienda Agricola Novaia

 

The vineyards of Azienda Agricola Novaia face south and south-east, and are between 250 and 300 meters above sea level. Novaia cultivates the following grape varieties: Corvina Veronese, Corvinone, Rondinella, and, most recently, Oseleta, an indigenous heirloom variety from Valpolicella which was lost during the last fifty years.

I tasted several of their wines, all quite enjoyable; a bit less intense than some other examples, but elegant and lively. Here are three excellent examples of the classic wines of this region:

 

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Novaia Valpolicella Ripasso

Valpolicella DOC Classico 2009: Produced from Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella grapes hand picked at the end of September. It is fermented in stainless steel for 7-8 days, and aged 10 months in steel, and an additional 2 in the bottle.

This is a medium-bodied, ruby red wine that is meant to be drunk young, when it is lively and fragrant with flowers and cherry fruit. This red can pair with a lot of lighter dishes and first courses, including pasta dishes, soups, and even grilled or roasted poultry.

Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Classico Superiore 2007: Using the same grapes, a heartier, more intense wine is produced as a result of the Ripasso method. This is a traditional vinification technique in which the Valpolicella wine undergoes a second fermentation on the pomaces (solid remains after pressing) of grapes that were used for Recioto and Amarone wines - wines that have been produced from dried, concentrated grapes. After the second fermentation, these wines are aged for 12 months in barriques, and an additional 4 months in the bottle.

This wine is a deeper red, and has a more intense and fuller-bodied flavor that the standard Classico. A slightly spicy nose, a savory dark fruit and cherry flavor, with a harmonious, medium acidic finish. This wine can age for 5-6 years. It pairs well with a bit more robust foods; meaty pasta dishes, truffles, and grilled and roasted meats.

 

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Novaia Corte Vaona Amarone

Amarone della Valpolicella Corte Vaona 2007: This Amarone is named in honor of the ancient paved courtyard that graces the front of the manor house that today is the site of the Azienda. The grapes are hand selected by the Vaona family from their own vineyards. The same grape varieties are used - Corvina, Corvinone, and Rondinella - demonstrating the amazing diversity of wines that can be produced by the various vinification techniques.

Amarone wines are produced from grapes that have been allowed to dry to concentrated the sugars. 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. These grapes are then fermented, in a similar method used to produce sweet Recioto wines; however, instead of stopping the fermentation to produce a sweet wine, due to some remaining sugar, Amarone wines allow the fermentation to continue until all the sugar is  consumed, resulting in a robust, slightly bitter (amara) wine with a fairly high alcohol level. The Corte Vaona is aged for 24 months in barriques, and another 8 in the bottle.

The Corte Vaona has an intense aroma of cherries, red fruits and spice, with a dry, tannic, long-lasting mineral finish. This would pair well with grilled and roasted meats, but also goes nicely with aged cheeses such as Grana, or as a wine to be just enjoyed on its own; a wine for ‘meditation’, as they say in Italy.