SIENA, ITALY
Oct 25-29, 2018

SIENA, ITALY
Oct 25-29, 2018

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VINO+VINYASA - Join us for a special collaboration with acclaimed sommelier, Emily O'Hare, for a WSET® Wine Certification Course, daily yoga, and a culinary adventure in central Italy. Come away with a Level 1 certification, learning the basic of wine, food-pairing...along with day trips, spa day, and wellness!

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OVERVIEW

VINO+VINYASA

Besides daily yoga classes, our VINO+VINYASA retreats offer another way to fully experience your time on the retreat - by engaging your senses with wine tasting classes! For individuals new to wine study, these classes provide a hands-on introduction to the world of wine. You’ll explore the main types and styles of wine through sight, smell, and taste, while also gaining the basic skills to describe wines accurately, and make food and wine pairings. NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE REQUIRED. 

Wine tasting classes will be led by award-winning wine writer and expert Emily O'Hare. A certified sommelier, she considers herself first a wine-lover, someone passionate about sharing the history, cultural aspects, and genuine enjoyment of this ancient drink with others. This beginner level introduction is a perfect way for anyone interested in wine to take their interest further, experience stimulating classes and on-site visits to producers. 

Best of all, at the end of the week, there is the option for a WSET Wine Certification! The globally recognized WSET (Wine & Spirit Educational Trust) course is step one of three for becoming an official sommelier, and upon successful completion you will receive a WSET certificate and lapel pin. This is a chance to gain a specialized wine knowledge in a relaxed, non-judgmental atmosphere.

Some of what to expect from a typical day on the retreat:

  • Daily morning yoga to wake up and get us moving and ready to mindfully approach the activities ahead
  • 2 hours of learning though wine tastings, study, and wine classes  
  • Daytrip to nearby area to see on-site winery production, food-pairings, etc
  • Time to relax and explore on city + village visits
  • Amazing meals provided at villa, on cooking demos, or at gourmet restaurants
  • Tuscan thermal spa day with treatment

THE VILLA

Crowning a hilltop in the world-famous Chianti wine region and only three kilometers from stunning Siena, this former watch tower has been converted into a magnificent 17-bedroom organic wine estate. The enchanting villa, La Torre alle Tolfe, is nestled within graceful Tuscan gardens, surrounded by olive groves, vineyards and woodland, and offers sweeping views of the picturesque countryside and the skyline of Siena.

Guests are welcomed with great warmth and the owner and staff will do all they can to make you feel comfortable. You can spend time soaking up the sun next to the pool, taking in the spectacular panoramas from the shaded garden nooks, strolling through the manicured garden or playing a game of tennis or bocce. The well groomed, formal gardens are perfect for strolling and enjoying the incredible vistas of the Chianti hills and the rooftops and church towers of Siena. An avenue of regal cypresses extends from the villa. You can wander further afield on the property, through the groves, vines and forest, thanks to a series with tracks and paths. Along your way you will encounter the lovely flora and fauna, including a variety of birdlife and other small animals. The larger ones like deer, wild boar and porcupine usually remain hidden out of sight.

Inside the villa, relax in one of the two comfortable sitting rooms, pick up a cue in the billiards room, or enjoy a book in a relaxing nook. Meals can be savored in the elegant dining hall or at one of the various outdoor loggias which add an element of fun to your meals and your overall experience at this exquisite Tuscan retreat.

CUISINE

Healthful, vegetarian food is part of the retreat experience, including breakfasts and dinners daily, as well as dining in the villa and award-winning restaurants in nearby towns. The cuisine is simple, delicious and Italian, using fresh ingredients from the local markets and on-site gardens. Selection is seasonal, and you can guarantee to love and appreciate each bite. Not only do we enjoy savoring the Italian cuisine, but guests will also get to learn more about the region's fare on a food class and wine-tasting in the surrounding Chianti region, where some of Italy's most famous vintages are produced.

SURROUNDING AREA

Guests will not only enjoy the villa and encompassing estate, but the richness of the Italian cities in nearby regions. Day trips will allow students to add arts, culture, adventure, and natural beauty to their retreat experience. Daytrips include visits to the nearby cities of Siena, as well as private wine tours of the on-site winery, and other vineyards in the neighboring "wine-famous" areas of Montalcino and Chianti. 

YOGA

 

Daily meditation and yoga classes will be offered in a way to relax, stimulate, and help guests grow in their own personal practice. Classes are open to all levels, beginner to practiced, and can range from gentle, restorative, and more vigorous vinyasa flow and ashtanga styles.* Style and class levels will be determined and moulded to fit participating students' needs, and with a small intimate retreat class size, students will be able to get personalized attention and comfortability to deeply explore their practice. Depending on each retreat location, classes will be held in a dedicated indoor yoga space and some also offer outdoor options as well for us to use if the weather is agreeable. 

Certified yoga instructor and EPM founder, Erin Lewis, will facilitate the classes, helping each student focus on improving their practice and gaining new insights into their bodies and movements. She's studied various types of yoga disciplines since 1998, concentrating on the Ashtanga discipline since 2008. She received her teacher certification in Florence, Italy and has continued her education with various specialty certifications throughout the years. She now combines powerful movements with more anatomical-based core vinyasa flow and restorative movement in her personal practice and teaching style.

The VINO+VINYASA retreats include a daily yoga class and will further enrich our experience with a sensorial wine class by our collaborator, Emily O'Hare. Now living in Siena, Italy, Emily O’Hare was the head sommelier, wine buyer and WSET tutor at London’s River Café, where she worked for over seven years. She also writes about Italian wine for various publications and sits on the judging panels for Decanter. In May 2012 O’Hare won the Harpers Wines & Spirits Sommelier of the Year Award, and in her spare time she runs a women’s tasting group Women, Know Your Wine!, as well as The London Wine Sessions, a bi-annual wine festival which includes talks, tastings, music and food. O’Hare was first a DWWA judge in 2009.

* Participation in classes and activities is optional throughout the retreat. All levels welcome!

DETAILS / PRICING

  • 5 days / 4 nights (October 25-29, 2018)
  • Inclusive Retreat Price (including tuition for WSET Level 1 Wine Certification Course) = $2,395 (shared room*), +$450 supplement (single room)
  • Deposit to hold space = $950
  • Max # Guests = 12 
    * Many of our guests come alone and we match up based on guest profile
    ** Final balance due 45 days before retreat start date. Read full cancellation policy in our Terms & Conditions.

INCLUDED *:

  • Villa accommodation (spacious bedrooms each with private bathrooms, linens)
  • Daily Breakfast
  • Dinners at villa and restaurants on daytrips
  • Select lunches
  • Group arrival/departure transfer to/from Siena
  • Transportation to/from day trips
  • Meditation and yoga classes 
  • WSET® Level 1 Wine Certification Course
  • Use of yoga mats
  • Use of estate premises (hiking trails, pool, etc.)
  • Daytrip and Dinner in Siena
  • Chianti winery tour + tasting
  • On-site winery tour
  • Thermal spa day + treatments

* airfare not included 
** all included dinners are vegetarian. special dietary restrictions can be accommodated

DAY TRIPS:

  • Siena (we'll spend an evening exploring this preserved Medieval city with is amazing cathedral, "campo", and ending with a typical Tuscan dinner)
  • Spa package and Treatment
  • Chianti Winery Tour + Tasting
  • Dinner in Chianti village

LOCATION:

  • Siena, Italy
  • Nearest airports: Florence Amerigo Vespucci Airport (FLR - Florence), Galileo Galilei Airpot (PSA - Pisa), Train connections can also be made from Rome Fiumicino (FCO)
  • One group transfer will be offered in the arrival afternoon between Siena center and the villa at 4pm on the start day, and departure transfer from villa to Siena center on departure morning at 10am. Single private transfers are possible and pricing discussed upon request. 

SUGGESTED PACKING:

Besides the basic packing and travel needs, here are a few things to think about bringing with you.

  • Bathing suit (on-site pool, spa)
  • Comfortable shoes (city walking, country hiking)
  • Yoga clothes
  • Personal yoga props (mats and straps will be provided, but if you have a prop you prefer, feel free to bring it along)
  • Plug adaptors / converters
  • Journal