• A sunny Sunday afternoon
• Stunning vineyards in Italy
• A group of amazing friends
• A family-run wine estate
• Great wine and savoury food
• Italian songs on the rhythm of the ukulele
Mix the ingredients with abundant energy, a sincere smile and a taste of local traditions!
Happiness lays in small things and this special experience was the perfect example. Our picnic at Tenuta La Pergola was one of my favorite moments during my staying in Italy. This wine estate is located in Cisterna d'Asti, a small village in the wine area of Piedmont Langhe-Roero-Monferrato that became part of the UNESCO heritage in 2014. Tenuta La Pergola was created in 1903 by Nonno Tony and it remained a family-run estate, now managed by its fourth generation.
With its 40 hectares, it expresses a deep relationship with the surrounding territory, the local traditions and the most authentic cultural values. This is exactly why I love discovering small local producers that have these characteristics as their main core. At the same time, there's also a perceivable attitude toward innovation and sustainability.
The visit of the cellar
Our visit started with the guided tour to the cellar. Alessandra showed us the map with all the vineyards were the grapes come from, the machines and the various process that lead to the production of more than 20 varieties of DOC and DOCG wines, among them there are Barbera d'Asti, Roero Arneis and Nebbiolo d'Alba.
We went through every single step of the production: from the division of the grapes pomace to the bottling. Alessandra told us that their wines are not 100% biological, but they try pay more and more attention to the way they affect the territory. The aim is to minimise wastes during the wine production and this is why they make grappa which is distilled from the fermented moist squashed grape skins, they produce grape juice and special body creams thanks to loyal external partners.
One of the things that surprised me the most was to see how bottle corks are made out of the tree. Another interesting story concerns the origin of the labels that represent particular old traditions linked to the surrounding territory.
Before visiting the amazing room dedicated to congress and parties, we passed through a sensorial pathway that allows visitors to have a particularly immersive experience. The lovely Martina, Alessandra's daughter, showed us her brilliant project realised for her final year of university. She created elegant bottle holders out of filters used for one of the last filtration process of the wine, such a great idea!
Martina and her mother Alessandra made us enter in a universe of local wine traditions and passion for the territory transmitted through their professional knowledge, savoir-faire and genuineness in the relationship with clients.
Tenuta La Pergola offers a wide range of experiences concerning different spheres of the wine universe: tastings, typical lunches, ''merenda sinoira'' (the traditional name used to indicate the afternoon snack), the visit to an educational farm designed for children, various sports to practice surrounded by the wonderful vineyards and so on.
The idea of the picnic was born during the lockdown, a particular period that made us think about the value of simple things. The Bodda family re-discovered the pleasure of making your own bread, to take the time to cook a traditional dish that tastes as a Madeleine of Proust and goes back in time, to place a blanket between the vineyards and simply enjoy a glass of good wine with the right people.
And this is exactly what we did. We took our picnic baskets and started a wonderful walk on the vineyards. Passing through the natural arch covered with greenish grapevines was a special experience. Once on the top of the hill, the view on Cisterna d’Asti was absolutely breathtaking.
We found the best spot for the picnic and enjoyed simple genuine food prepared by Marty: a farro salad, zucchini frittata (a sort of zucchini omelette), cold meat and cheese, fresh butter and homemade jam to spread on bread slices, a delicious crostata (typical cake)... Of course, it was all accompanied by excellent bottles of wine from the estate.
The notes of the song ‘Volare’ coming from the ukulele created a special atmosphere made of simplicity, happiness and sharing.
If you'd like to book a picnic in the vineyards in Italy, you just need to visit the website Picnic Chic. You'll find a great selection of wine estates that offer this experience all over the country.
The payment is done directly through their website and they have an excellent customer care service, ready to help you if something goes wrong with the booking. The price depends on the type of experience and the choice of the location, the guided visit to the cellar and the picnic at Tenuta La Pergola cost 20euro par person and it's absolutely worth it!
A special thanks goes to my friend Martina from Tenuta La Pergola and her entire family that made us live a memorable experience! I can't wait to be back for another visit with you.