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With us, you won’t just see the place we love, you’ll cannonball into it – into our traditions, into the kitchen and into Southern Italian life, taking your own place around the generous table.
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Our Annual Course: The Week Dedicated to Tomatoes and Grapes (Wine)

For years this course had a waiting list, the week we make il vincotto and the annual tomato sauce. And now we’ve added wine. We say ‘wine’, but it’s actually much more interesting than that; It’s the week we make lu miuru (see below).

As with all our courses, we still dedicate ourselves to learning, cooking, eating and drinking—this time at the castle—but this week has three additional products, each cherished methods of concentrating and preserving the months of orange and golden summer sun.

  • We make the annual tomato sauce, from fruit to bottle, the entire process in one day. See film below. This could easily be the funnest day of the year and we usually make about 500 litres. Your friends back home will writhe with naked envy when you post the pictures.
  • We make il vincotto, primitivo grape must, reduced until it becomes a deep rich condiment, ‘poor man’s honey’, (reduced until the inherent sugar actually becomes its own preservative). We add dried figs, which the pectin thickens even further. We boil it for 72 hours. We bottle that too.
  • Lu miuru. One morning we’ll visit a local farmer, pick his grapes, press them and begin fermentation. This is not wine as a luxury product but as its historical model of a pedestrian beverage, as low-tech and analogue as possible. It’s the best way to understand the entire process, when it comes down to rubber boots and plastic buckets and an old wooden press in the cellar, just beside the old rowing boat. You will never see wine the same way again.

The baron’s pool is open and we finish up in it after many if not most meals. Held in that sweet time of the year, just as summer decides to lean towards autumn. Warm enough to swim, but with an eye towards the turning of the seasons.

+In The New World, wine is often seen as a luxury product, with many of its consumers oddly uneasy about any relationship between a wine’s price and its actual merits. In Southern Europe though, it was how kept yourself healthy in the centuries between when the Romans first figured out plumbing, and we did again a hundred years ago. (The equivalent of the purification of rain water by first running in through a grape plant).

There is much more to be learned by making rudimentary wine in the home than in an industrial winery, where so much happens enclosed in stainless steel.

The Logistics at a Glance.

Where: At the Castle, an hour South of Lecce.

When: The first week of September, every year.

Taught in: English

Where you sleep: At the Castle. 95 € single /110 € double a night.

How much? 1995 € Euro.

Best way to arrive, depart, maximise your time with us: Everything is spelled out in our Student Services. You’ll be given access about booking.

Who thrives: Anyone that loves canning, especially when beer, wine and swimming pools are involved. Anyone curious about how wine was made historically.

Who doesn’t: Those that don’t want to get their hands dirty. Those that want to be passive while in Italy.

Watch the video about Annual Tomato & Grapes Course!!!

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What do Insiders Know About Getting the Most Out of Southern Italy?

Find out, with our free 20-page guide to the food, wine, language, extra virgin, as well as insider travel tips. If you want to fall in love with this part of the world, you’ll need to to know a few things first. What’s worth visiting? What isn’t? And what should you be eating and drinking along the way.