The Wine & Spirit Education Trust, WSET, provides education and qualifications in wines for professionals and enthusiasts. Level 2 Award in Wines is an intermediate level qualification.

During the course we studied about wines, grape varieties of the world, the regions in which they are grown and the styles of wine they produce.

Through a combination of (a lot) wine tasting and theory we explored the quality, the style and how to describe the wines.

Emily O’ Hare

Our teacher for WSET level 2 is Emily O’Hare. Emily is wine writer, sommelier and she teaches WSET courses in Tuscany. Originally she’s from London but is now based in Siena.


I personally enjoyed the wine study and the courses with Emily. We had a lovely group. Some participants were from my FISAR Sommelier course and some people were new. It was a nice experience and definitely a do thing. I look forward to start soon with WSET level 3.


I got my classification! I passed my exam. Result 94% and Grade Pass with distinction. Now I have two wonderful certificates, FISAR Sommelier and WSET level 2 Award in Wines.

I still need to learn a lot more about wines. But I have a lot of interest and I am passionate about wine. I live in a wine growing area and I work in the tourism and wine business.

The best is yet to come!

Hand picking the grapes

Hand picking the grapes

Grape harvest

Hand picking the grapes means that pickers go through the vineyard and pick the grapes bunch by bunch. They can choose the ripe grapes, or rather, they can avoid picking rotten or bad grapes.

Hand picking of the grapes

The grape harvest in Tuscany usually occurs between September and October. The right period for harvesting is determined by the ripeness of the grape as measured by sugar, acid and tannin levels. Also the weather is important by planning the time of the harvest.

Some winemakers determine whether to use hand-picker workers or mechanical harvest machinery. Some benefits of hand picking the grapes are:

  • Grapes are handled gently
  • The hand picked grapes are carefully laid out so that they arrive at the press intact
  • Hand picking means you care and care is what matters…
Sangiovese grapes

Winemaking process red wine

Wine making is a natural process that requires human intervention, but each winery guides the process though different techniques. In basic, there are five components of the wine making process:

Harvesting, Crushing and Pressing, Fermentation, Clarification, Aging and Bottling

After the grapes are sorted they are ready to be de-stemmed and crushed. Mechanical presses the grapes into must. Must is a freshly juice that contains the skins, seeds and solids.

Crushing the grapes

After crushing and pressing the fermentation begins. The fermentation continues until the sugar is converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide CO2.

The crusher – destemmer

Grape skins and solids float to the top and need to be pushed back. The red wine juice is pomped from the bottom and splashed over the top of the grape cap.

When the fermentation has finished it is the time to clarify the wine. Filtration occurs by a filter. The clarified wine is ready for further aging in stainless steel, oak barrels or in bottels.

Poggio alla Sala

A group of workers at the vineyards of Poggio alla Sala picked the grapes with secateurs and put them in a basket. Then the grapes are put in a container and finally transported to the winery to be processed.

Hand picking
Hand pickers
Grape harvest Poggio alla Sala

The most planted grape at Poggio alla Sala is the Sangiovese grape. Poggio alla Sala is exposured in the southern part of Montepulciano. Some Etruscan objects are found here.

Sangiovese grapes

If you want gorgeous views as well as a good glass of wine than head to Poggio alla Sala. From here you see the Monte Amiata which influences the local climate of the lands and the vineyards.

Monte Amiata


Wine tour at Dievole

Wine tour at Dievole

The wine estate Dievole is located in the Chianti Classico area, one of the most popular wine region of Tuscany between Siena and Florence. Dievole overlooks the wonderful vineyards and olive groves. It covers an area of 400 hectares within the Chianti Classico territory in Vagliagli.

Dievole vineyards

Dievole is an old winery founded in the 11th century. This Italian winery has a thousand year history. Today Dievole is owned by an oil tycoon from Argentina Alejandro Bulgheroni and is part of a network of wineries in Tuscany: Chianti Classico, Bolgheri and Montalcino.

The winery Dievole produces elegant wines such as Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, Vin Santo and IGT white wine. But they make also other Italian great wines: Bolgheri DOC and Brunello di Montalcino DOCG.

Wine tour

During the wine tour we discovered the history and the taste of Dievole wines. We were with a small group of 9 persons (it is necessary to pre-arrange this wine experience).

Wine Tasting room Dievole

Our guide waited for us at the wine shop. She started with a brief introduction to the wines and the history of Dievole. After a small talk we walked through the vineyards, the historic wine cellars and tasting rooms. After the tour we started with individual tastings of the quality wines including good cheeses and local meats.

Our guide was really knowledgeable and she answered all of our questions. It was a great wine experience at Dievole. The complex Dievole looks really amazing with good manicured gardens and great views over the vineyards. The is tour is about 2 hours long and we tasted 6 wines.


Everything from the wine, food pairings and lunch were top quality. We brought some bottles home. It was a wonderful experience. Therefor… I will be back for sure for an other wine tour!

Wine cooperative Cantina Mori colli Zugna

Wine cooperative Cantina Mori colli Zugna

A wine cooperative is where wineries buy in grapes from a network of grape owners and make their own labelled wine. Most of the co-ops are after volume sales. Often it seems that co-op wineries produce a lot of boring wines and that they are more after volumes than quality.

In Trentino Alto Adige cooperatives create extremely high value wines. Some wines are even nationally and internationally awarded. The wines are worth seeking out!

Cantina Mori colli Zugna

Cantina Mori colli Zugna is a wine cooperative in Mori Trentino. They are part of Cavit (Cantina Viticoltori del Trentino). Cavit incorporates 10 cooperative wineries in Trentino. They are the largest wine cooperative in the region Trentino Alto Adige.

Cantina Mori colli Zugna
Cantina Mori colli Zugna

In the mid fifties Cantina Mori colli Zugna was founded. It counts now 700 partners who cultivate about 650 hectares. They converts over 90% of the area’s production.

The vineyards of Cantina Mori colli Zugna in Trentino are between the valley of River Adige and Lake Garda, on the slopes of the Monte Baldo (Malcesine) and the Gresta Valley.

Lake Garda

Wine tasting

Today Cantina Mori Colli Zugna organizes food and wine tours. The special wines and the Spumante under the appellation Trento DOC amused me.


My tasting notes:

Morus Brut Millesimato TrentoDOC – this is a classic method only produced in the best years. Millesimato means that the grapes are harvested in the same year.

The Morus Brut sparkling wine is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Nero. The grape growing are on the hills of Monte Baldo. This elegant wine undergoes a long period of aging on lees, therefor the wine has an intense, persistent perlage, buttery and creamy texture. The second fermentation in the bottle has a period of aging at least 36 months.

The colour of the spumante is yellow-greenish with aromas of crusty bread and green apples. This wine is excellent as an aperitif and good pairing with national and international cuisine or delicate fish dishes.

VicariusRosso Trentino DOP – this is a blended wine made of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. The grapes are selected to guarantee a high quality production of the wine.

The wine making process of this wine involves a long maceration on the skins in steel. This is to increase color, flavor and aromas to the wine. Following the maceration the aging proces takes place 6 months in wooden barrique and later 6-10 months refinement in bottle.

The color is ruby red. On the nose a delicate and elegant bouquet. On the palate dry, structured with spicy notes. This wine is good pairing certainly with meat dishes and game.

Tasting local red wines


As a result the wine cooperatives in Trentino Alto Adige are worth finding out. During the wine tour I’ve had been able to taste other local wines like Pinot Grigio, Müller Thurgau, Pinot Nero and Marzemino.

This wine tour is a superb experience, for that reason I recommend a visit to this winery to everyone who loves wine!


Arco di Trento

Gelukkig zijn de maanden januari en februari weer achter de rug. Ondanks dat de verjaardag van mijn vader op 8 februari is, en mijn eigen verjaardag op 11 februari vind ik deze wintermaanden altijd erg saai. De meesten denken wellicht dat in Umbrië, en in Toscane de wintermaanden behaaglijk zijn, maar niks is minder waar. De temperaturen zijn wellicht iets hoger, maar het kan hier ook onweren, regenen en waaien.

De lammetjes lopen al in de wei en de mimosa zijn volop in de bloei. Teken dat het voorjaar voor de deur staat. Heerlijk! In maart hoef ik al minder de verwarming aan te zetten, gelukkig want de verwarmingskosten zijn hier ontzettend hoog.

Donderdag vertrek ik naar Arco di Trento. Daar ga ik eerst langs de groothandel Pregis en langs Manuela en Roberto om wat wijnen van Gattavecchi af te leveren. In Arco heb ik twee jaar gewoond en dat is voor mij nog altijd thuiskomen. Arco is een bekend bergplaatsje ten noorden van het Gardameer.

Arco TN



Lago di Garda




Roberto in de Pregis

Daarna ga ik door naar Val di Fassa om een paar dagen te skiën met mijn oom en tante. Zij verblijven deze week in Soraga, Val di Fassa. Normaal zoek ik een B&B in Vigo di Fassa, of in Pozza di Fassa, maar dit keer was er helemaal niks meer beschikbaar. Dus verblijf ik nu ook in Soraga. De weersvoorspellingen zijn perfect, lekker.


Skiën met Giovanni

Sella Ronda

Sella Ronda

40 jaar

40 jaar….ze zeggen dat het leven dan pas begint!

40 jaar verjaardag met mijn nichtjes

11 februari, op mijn verjaardag zelf ben ik naar Nederland gevlogen om mijn 40e verjaardag te vieren met mijn familie en vrienden. Op het vliegveld van Rotterdam is een leuk restaurant “Waalhaven” waar ik na aankomst met mijn ouders heb geluncht. Met uitzicht op het vliegveld hebben we genoten van een goed glas wijn, en de lekkerste Hollandse visgerechten.

Café Rotterdam is bij uitstek een van mijn favoriete locaties. Deze locatie heeft iets te maken met mijn Italië avonturen. Een aantal keren heb ik er een borrel gegeven voor mijn vertrek. 100 jaar geleden emigreerden vanaf de Wilhelminakade Nederlanders maar ook Italianen met de HAL naar New York. Misschien staat het verhaal van de emigranten uit die tijd indirect een beetje in verbinding met mijn verhaal? Allicht! Alleen ik vertrok naar Italië, en zij naar “the promised land” America.

Op 13 februari vierde ik dus in Café Rotterdam mijn 40e verjaardag. Ik vond het geweldig mijn vrienden en familie weer te zien. Ooms, tantes, zus, nichtjes, oud collega’s, vrienden van hockeyvereniging Evergreen en vrienden van de Italiaanse vereniging Dante Alighieri. Iedereen was er. Ik kreeg zelfs bezoek uit Maastricht!

De tijd was kort maar krachtig. Wil Egberts, één van mijn beste vrienden en oud collega van de Deli Maatschappij, hield een fantastische speech over mijn persoon zelf. Dat vond ik mooi. Zelf sta ik er nooit bij stil met wat ik allemaal heb gedaan in mijn leven, en ik kan je vertellen dat mijn avonturen in Italië zeker niet saai zijn (geweest). En dit is alleen nog maar het begin…

Nu de Quotidiano wijn nog! Il vino che parla italiano. De wijn die Italiaans spreekt.

Quotidiano wijn

Quotidiano wijn

Paul van de Laar is ervan overtuigd dat de Quotidiano wijn “Sylvietta” wijn moet gaan heten. Sylvietta staat voor avontuur, Italië, kennis, maar vooral het heeft een verhaal.
Maar ik ben er eerder van overtuigd dat de wijn Quotidiano moet blijven heten… Quotidiano is dagelijks, en betekent dagblad. Het zou toch geweldig zijn als er op de fles het nieuws komt te staan uit 1914 toen de emigranten met de Holland Amerika Lijn naar New York vertrokken!?

Aan boord in Rotterdam, op weg naar New York, de stad van de The Promised Land: Amerika! Amerika!

Erasmus brug

cruise terminal Rotterdam

Dus, de Quotidiano wijn uit Montepulciano, Toscane moet op de Nederlandse markt komen. En niet alleen de Quotidiano wijn natuurlijk ook de kwaliteitswijnen die Gattavecchi produceert zoals de Vino Nobile, Rosso di Montepulciano en de Vernaccia. Top! Gattavecchi is een historische naam in Toscane.. een wijnproducent van grote klasse.

met mama in markthal