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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!

Chianti is probably the most famous wine growing area in Italy. The region itself lies in the Tuscan hills, in west-central Italy. The first mention of a Chianti wine region dates back to 1716, when Cosimo de Medici defined this wine zone, referring to the area near the Gaiole, Radda, and Castellina. Today, the region is divided into seven subzones, with the Classico subzone considered the highest in quality. This is the original zone, a hilly area between the cities of Siena and Florence.  You will see many of the villages in this zone have appended their names with the ‘in Chianti’ designation, such as Greve in Chianti, Radda in Chianti, and Gaiole in Chianti.

winery chianti private tours tuscany
Badia e Coltibuono, Italy


In the 1850s, a local landowner, Baron Ricasoli, declared his ‘recipe’ for Chianti, based on the native Sangiovese grape blended with 15% Canaiolo and 15% Malvasia Bianco. The Italian government voted this into law in 1966. As with many Italian wines, as international demand increased in the 1960s, Chianti producers increased production by utilizing lower quality grapes, resulting in a flooding of the market with inferior wines. These Chianti were packaged in the now well recognized squat bottle with a straw covering, appropriately called a fiasco.

chianti wine bike tours tuscany
Chianti label

In the 1970s, new investors entered the area, with a renewed focus on quality production. In addition to investing in modern production facilities and new cultivation techniques, many of these new producers began experimenting with the traditional Chianti recipe, replacing the lower quality white grapes with international varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This new style of wine became quite controversial, as many viewed these as not  ‘true’ Chianti wines. Today, the official definition of Chianti consists of at minimum 80% Sangiovese, with permitted blending grapes of native varietals such as Canaiolo and Colorino, as well as other international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Wines that are produced in this area, but do not adhere to this strict definition, are now referred to as Super Tuscans. These can be absolutely amazing wines, they are just not Chianti.

chianti classico logo wine tours tuscany
Chianti Classico logo


A Chianti bottle will often have a picture of a black rooster (gallo nero) on the neck of the bottle, indicating that the producer is a member of the Gallo Nero Consortium. This is an association of producers of the Classico sub-area that work together to jointly promote the Chianti brand. The ‘gallo nero’, a traditional figure denoting peace between long time rivals Florence and Siena, has been the emblem of the Chianti Classico producers association since 2005. The Riserva designation indicates a Chianti that has been aged for a minimum of 38 months (instead of 4-7.) Chianti that meets even more stringent requirements on yield, alcohol content and dry extract, may be labelled as Chianti Superiore, although Chianti from the "Classico" sub-area is not allowed to be labelled as Superiore.

Chianti wines are characterized by their acidity, dryness, and distinctive flavors of cherry and herbs. They are ruby red, moderate in alcohol, and somewhat tannic. Younger, lighter Chianti pairs well with pastas, pizza and panini. A more robust Riserva would be a great match to roasted or grilled meats, such as a great grilled Chianina steak, Tuscany’s famed breed of white cattle.

There are four separate wine zones in Tuscany that use the "Chianti" name:

Chianti Classico DOCG

Established as a subzone of the Chianti DOC in 1967, which became a DOCG in 1984, Chianti Classico became a separate DOCG in 1996. The first mention of a Chianti wine region dates back to 1716, when Cosimo de Medici defined this wine zone.  This original zone is the Chianti Classico DOCG, a hilly area between the cities of Siena and Florence.  Many of the villages in this original zone have appended their names with the ‘in Chianti’ designation, such as Greve in Chianti, Radda in Chianti, and Gaiole in Chianti. Wines produced in this region are all reds, based on the Sangiovese grape.

Red Wines

Rosso: A dry red blend or varietal, minimum 80% Sangiovese (locally Sangioveto) plus other allowed red grapes. Aging requirements: for Rosso, minimum approx. 1 year, for Riserva, minimum 24 months, including 3 months in bottle, for Gran Selezione, minimum 30 months, including 3 months in bottle. Grapes for Gran Selezione can be harvested only from the winery’s own vineyards.

Chianti DOCG

Established as a DOC in 1967; became a DOCG in 1984. The Chianti DOCG surrounds the original Classico zone with fingers stretching in all directions. This region is divided into seven subzones, Colli Aretini, Colli Fiorentini, Colline Pisane, Colli Senesi, Montalbano, Montespertoli and Rufina. You will often, but not always, see the subzone identified on the label. Wines produced in this region are all reds, based on the Sangiovese grape

Red Wines

Rosso: A dry red blend or varietal, minimum 70% Sangiovese; maximum 30% plus other allowed red grapes (maximum 15% Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon); maximum 10% other allowed white grape. Rosso from subzone Colli Senesi must be a minimum 75% Sangiovese; maximum 25% other allowed red grapes (maximum 10% Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon); maximum 10% other allowed white grapes. Aging requirements: for most Rosso, minimum 4 months; for Rosso from Montespertoli, minimum 7 months; for Rosso from Colli Fiorentini and Rufina and for Superiore, minimum 10 months; for Riserva, minimum 2 years; for Riserva from Colli Fiorentini and Rufina, minimum 2 years, including 6 months in barrel; for Riserva from Colli Senesi, minimum 2 years, including 8 months in barrel and 4 months in bottle.

Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC

Established as a DOC in 1995, this zone corresponds to the Chianti Classico DOCG. The wines produced here are sweet passito style dessert wines, from Malvasia, Trebbiano and Sangiovese grapes.

Dessert Wines
Vin Santo: A sweet white dessert wine, minimum 60% Malvasia Bianca Lunga (aka Malvasia del Chianti) and/or Trebbiano Toscano plus other allowed grapes. Minimum approx. 3 years, including 24 months in small barrels (caratelli).
Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice: A sweet red dessert wine, minimum 80% Sangiovese plus other allowed grapes. Minimum approx. 3 years, including 24 months in small barrels (caratelli).
Vin Santo del Chianti DOC
Established as a DOC in 1997, this zone corresponds to the Chianti DOCG, including the seven subzones. The wines produced here are sweet passito style dessert wines, from Malvasia, Trebbiano and Sangiovese grapes.
Dessert Wines
Vin Santo: A sweet white dessert wine, minimum 70% Malvasia Bianca Lunga (aka Malvasia del Chianti) and/or Trebbiano Toscano plus other allowed grapes. Minimum approx. 3 years in barrel; for Riserva, minimum 4 years in barrel.
Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice: A sweet red dessert wine, minimum 50% Sangiovese plus other allowed grapes. Minimum approx. 3 years in barrel.