I wait in a group of twenty… anxiously shuffling our feet as the hot Tuscan sun bears down on our shoulders. A single buzzard, its wings spread wide floats in the warm air high above our heads. I watch as it leans first to one side then the other, arcing its body in a perfect circle. A slight breeze ruffles the tops of stately cypress, but its effect doesn’t reach us on lower ground. Away to the right and left, I see glimpses of green tufted hills and rust colored tiles peeking out from their heights.
I have been invited to a family owned vineyard in the famed Chianti region of Tuscany, Italy arranged by our effervescent guide Stefania. She, always ebullient, waxes enthusiastic about the family we are about to meet, about the perfection of their wines, and the sumptuous meal being prepared at that very moment for our delight. After several days of epic five course meals and endless carafes of house wines, I am not sure how different this experience will be, but I nod and smile patiently. The heavy metal door opens and a portly old man, his face a mass of smiling wrinkles spreads his arms wide. Stefania grins back and hurriedly ushers the waiting group in with her classic command of “Andiamo, andiamo!” Continue reading