This past Friday I had the opportunity to go on a wine tour and tasting that was organized by my marketing for travel and tourism professor. We took a bus out of Rome and drove an hour south to Frescati where we toured Cantina Imperatori. This is a privately owned vineyard and olive orchard that hosts informational tours for small groups. We got to see the vines, the wine making process, hear about the marketing of their wines and taste four of their wines and olive oil. Here are some of the highlights of the trip with some stunning scenes from the vineyard and facilities.
We started by walking around some of the grapes and learning about the different vines that grow there. The most noteworthy was this variety of white grapes that stands out due to the white rocks that line the base of the rows. These white rocks are placed at the bottom to help reflect sunlight up, soak in warmth during the day and slowly release it throughout the night, and to act as a weed deterrent. The amount of love, care and affection that goes into these grapes is incredible, but the wine was very much worth the effort (in my opinion).
We then walked down a large hill to get to their wine processing and storage facilities. After the grapes are crushed, cooled down and destemmed, they are pumped into huge metal chambers where their temperatures are closely monitored. This is the time where the fermentation really starts to happen and the starches turn into alcohol. The wine stays in the chambers for two to three weeks, depending on the grape, and is then moved to its next vessel.
The red wine gets put into large oak barrels in a refrigerated room that has humidity controls in it. The room is kept at a certain level of humidity to keep the oak from drying out too much while it is storing the wine. The white wine is stored in an ancient Roman wine cellar in terra cotta pots that have been heated to a high temperature to make sure they are impermeable. The amount of time that the wine is kept in these pots and barrels all depends on the variety of grape, but on average the wine stays in there for around a year before it is bottled up.
The wine then sits in the bottles for another couple of months to let it settle before it is shipped around the world to Canada, Monte Carlo, China and other parts of Italy to be enjoyed!
We then got the opportunity to taste two white wines and two red wines along with their fresh olive oil. Their most popular wine in the region is a red wine called Cesanese. It was the lighter of the two red wines that we tried, but it was still very enjoyable. We tasted them alongside local bread, meats, and cheeses. The wine is not available yet in the United States, but the bottles were for sale after the tour. The prices varied from €12-€17, which is an amazing price for such an original product!
Any wine connoisseurs that travel to Rome should consider stopping by Cantina Imperatori for an informational and enjoyable day filled with lots of detail and delicious wine!
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