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NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2011
CONTENTS
CHIANTI GRAPE HARVEST
NEW AND IMPROVED PHOTOCOMPETITION
BOOK NOW OR MISS OUT!
Buongiorno,

The months leading up to the Christmas celebrations are some of the busiest for the Chianti area as this is when the Grape harvest and the olive harvest takes place. The Chianti vineyards still gather all the grapes by hand and most of the olives are also hand-picked.

You can view the workers bringing in the harvests throughout the Chianti and below we have given you ideas for the main vineyards of the area (there are too many to tell you about!).

To Tuscany have many properties in or close to the vineyards and, if you happen to be in the right place at the right time, you can even get involved! We have highlighted some of the properties close to the vineyards below.

We also have exciting news about our annual photocompetition for this year; see below for details and if you havent already sent in an entry, there is still time to do this.

Dont forget that 2012 prices and availability for our Villas and Apartments are now online on our website and dont forget to keep in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter.

As always, please feel free to let me know any suggestions for items you would like us to cover in our newsletters.

Dympna

dympna@to-tuscany.com


THE TUSCAN GRAPE HARVEST


Tuscany holds a rich history of viticulture. Its rolling hills and Mediterranean climate provide the perfect spot for the production of good quality wines and during the last decade it has become known as the nation's most creative producer.


Tuscany also holds world recognition for its red wines, the majority of which come from the Sangiovese grape vines. These wines are generally spicy, with good acid levels, smooth texture and medium body. The most exclusive Sangiovese wine is Brunello di Montalcino, a high quality selected wine from a fortress town south of Siena. It is one of Italy's most expensive wines and is now issued under more than a hundred different labels. This wine is produced solely from the Sangiovese grapevine and takes at least 10 years to reach maturity.


Gallo Nero BadgeChianti Classico comes from the famous land of vineyards that lie between Florence and Siena, with the towns of Greve, Radda and Castellina forming a triangle in the very heart of the Chianti area. Most of these wines belong to the Classico's marketing consortium and bear the 'Gallo Nero' symbol that means 'black rooster'. This gives the guarantee of a true bottle of Chianti Classico. Two kinds of Chianti Classico are available, these are known as 'Standard' and 'Riserva'. Standard Chainti Classico is labelled with a Gallo Nero surrounded by a red border, whereas Riserva Chianti Classico is labelled with a Gallo Nero surrounded by a gold border. This is produced from some of the finest grapes and gives a minimum of 27 months aging to provide an additional full-bodied flavour.

If you want to personally experience the Grape harvest, the best way is to join the grape pickers for a day. The harvest begins at sunrise! Hard work is however generally rewarded by a generous lunch of prosciutto ham, cheeses and of course, Tuscan wine. You can contact some of the vineyards directly, just click on the vineyard name for contact details. It is also possible if you see the grape harvest being taken in to speak with a supervisor and ask if you can help the grape pickers carry the baskets!

Casanuova di AmaCasanuova di Ama:
Is a wine and oil-producing farm that lies between the medieval towns of Radda and Gaiole with its entrance marked by a 14th century Roman-style chapel. It's a small business run by an extremely friendly and welcoming family who are proud of producing good quality organically grown wine that ranges from the famous Chianti Classico Riserva to red and white varieties of Vino da Tavola.

Click here for accommodation close to Casanova di Ama.

Dievole vineyardDievole:

Is well known for its alliance between tradition and scientific technical innovation. Although its viticulture dates back to the 11th Century, its new facilities include modern techniques of wine-growing management. Wine tasting and tours available

Click here for accommodation close to Dievole.

Castello di Brolio:
Brolio CastleThis castle dates back to the 10th century and holds one of the main vineyards that lie within the Chianti Classico area. In fact its creator Baron Bettino Ricasoli produced the first formulation of the grape mix of Chianti Classico in the second half of the 19th century. Whilst there you can enjoy a guided tour of the castle, an introduction to their finest wines with a visit to the 'tasting room', and the traditional Tuscan food at its own restaurant.

Click here for accommodation close to Castello di Brolio.

Castello di Meleto
Meleto CastleAnother great castle in Tuscany, this 13th century hill-top building, close to the village of Gaiole, is again owned again by the Ricasoli family. Surrounded by its 180 acres of lands that cultivate the grapevine, its main grapes include the Sangiovese, used mainly for the production of Chianti Classico, together with Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah and other traditional wines. Other than guided tours and wine tastings, you can enjoy lunch or dinner at its own restaurant Fornace di Meleto.

Click here for accommodation close to the Castelo di Meleto.

Castello di Verrazzano
Verrazzano CastleBased in its 12th Century castle and renaissance gardens is another family run estate, once again close to Florence. Its 43 hectares of vinyards is internationally recognised. Other than guided tours and wine tastings you can also try the 'Cantinetta' a wine bar and bakery run by the owners of Castello di Verrazzano which offers all wine produced from the Castle together with white wines, locally produced extra virgin olive oil, and freshly baked breads. High quality traditional yet simple dishes are also available, together with pastries, rustic biscuits, and traditional coffee blends.

Click here for accommodation close to the Castello di Verrazzano.

If you really fancy treating yourself you can always try a luxury Tuscan Wine Tour that's led by a local wine expert and tour guide who offers guided wine tours throughout Tuscany. You can either go 'private' and have a personal tour or join a group tour leaving Florence. You will be escorted in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle by an expert guide leading you to various vineyards and local villages where you can meet and greet the locals and try different local specialities for lunch and/or dinner. Tours are available in English, Italian and French, click here for details.

There is also an App available for iPhones and iPads which will guide you to different vineyards and give you advice on the best wines: Click here for details (link will take you to the iTunes website)

THE NEW & IMPROVED TO TUSCANY PHOTOCOMPETITION!


To Tuscany have been running the photocompetition for a number of years now and we have decided it was time for a 'facelift' which would make the most of the current technology available.

The new style photocompetition will apply to this years entries and means that each entrant will have one photo chosen (from their maximum of 5) by the To Tuscany staff; this photo will then be displayed on the To Tuscany website and will be open to a public voting system to determine the top 5.

The photos will be displayed on a special page on our website between 1st January 2012 and 6th February 2012, voting buttons will be available for anyone to decide which photo they like the best.

At the end of the voting period (and subject to scrutiny of the voting to make sure there are not multiple votes from the same people), the top 5 photos will be decided and prizes will be allocated accordingly.

Prizes will be improved in accordance with the new look:

First prize wins a top of the range compact digital camera or a voucher for 250 Euros off a 2012 To Tuscany holiday.
Second and Third place will each receive a compact digital camera.
Consolation prizes will be awarded to the 4th and 5th place entries.

(There are no cash alternatives for the prizes awarded)

Because of the new voting system, the closing date for entries to the photocompetition has been changed to midnight on MONDAY 31st October 2011.

ALL people that have already entered the competition will be contacted with the full Terms and Conditions of the new photocompetition as soon as the details and webpage have been completed.

If you havent already sent in your photos, there is still time but dont be late - entries received after midnight on 31st October can not be considered for this years competition.

How to enter:

1. Select up to a maximum of 5 photographs from your 2011 Tuscan vacation. NB: Entries can ONLY be submitted as digital JPEG format

2. Give each photo a Title which describes the photograph.

3. Email your entries to dympna@to-tuscany.com and remember to include:

- a title for each entry

- your To Tuscany holiday booking reference (which will begin with T11)

- Your contact details: (full name, address and phone number)


BOOK NOW FOR 2012 OR MISS OUT!


Our top selling villas with private pools are starting to fill up for the most popular dates to visit Tuscany next summer, book now or these top 5 will be full!

1. La Casanova:
La Casanova With 12 weeks already booked in 2012, this is our most popular one bedroom villa. A favourite as a romantic getaway or honeymoon villa and its within walking distance of the town of Radda in Chianti. Click here for more details.


2. L'Agrifoglio:
L'Agrifoglio A delightful 3 bedroom villa, close to Gaiole in Chianti. You will be well looked after by the owners, who live in the neighbouring villa. Click here for more details.




3. Casa Cerralta:
Casa Cerralta Larger groups snap up the weeks at this popular villa which sleeps 14 to 18 people (7 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms). There are just two weeks still available in July and one in August. Click here for more details.



4. Casino di Vescine:
Casino di Vescine A real Chianti gem! There are 4 bedrooms at the property which has beautifully maintained gardens and pool area (the pool is heated with solar panels). Click here for more details.



5. Casa Camporata 10:
Mulino di Camporata 10Being only a 10-15 minute walk from Gaiole in Chianti means that this property is always a favourite. Available for 10 people and also for 6 people. Enjoy some good old fashioned Texan hospitality from the owner during your stay in Tuscany! Click here for more details.



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We hope that you find the information in this months newsletter useful.

Please let us know of any content that you would like to see included in our newsletters and we wish you a fantastic year wherever you are spending it!

Click here for contact details

Tanti Saluti

Dympna Docherty
To-Tuscany
dympna@to-tuscany.com