WSET 1 NEW OIL & YOUNG WINE - OCT 27 - NOV 1 , 2019


WSET 1 NEW OIL & YOUNG WINE - OCT 27 - NOV 1 , 2019


VILLA FOOD & WINE WORKSHOP (WSET 1) - Join us for the olive harvest 2019 at La Torre alle Tolfe - Pick olives by day, and taste wine by night. Head off for excursions truffle hunting and wine tasting. Aswell there will be Siena strolls, aperitivo in Piazza del Campo, truffle hunting, fabulous cooking and plenty to sip and savour!



The “Raccolta” - the Olive Harvest

Late October, early November is an extremely exciting time to be in Tuscany - the olives are ready to be picked and pressed and this is cause for great celebration - Extra Virgin Olive Oil is precious and as you will see, utterly delicious, especially on bruschette, and gnudi, and Fiorentina beef steaks. We will get the opportunity to pick at La Torre alle Tolfe, peaceful, therapeutic work, and then take our crates of olives to the local Frantoio - the mill, to have the fruits of our labour pressed and bottled for us to take back to our chef to create some wonderful meals.

The Wine Course 

The week is shaped around the olive harvest and wine tastings of Chianti Colli Senesi, Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino, however as well as some fantastic Italian tastings, there will be the opportunity to really get to grips with the entire wine world and take the WSET Level 1 course - a beginner level introduction to wine suitable for all those pursuing an interest in wine. This qualification provides a hands on introduction to the world of wine, In three morning sessions you will explore the main types and styles of wine through sight, smell and taste, while also gaining the basic skills to describe wine accurately, make food and wine pairings and feel confident in spotting a faulty wine. Upon successful completion you will receive a WSET certificate and lapel pin. 

What you'll learn 

  • The main types and styles of wine 

  • Common wine grapes and their characteristics 

  • How to store and serve wine 

  • The principles of food and wine pairing 

  • How to describe wine using the WSET Level 1 Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine® (SAT)  

The Villa

La Torre alle Tolfe is a private hilltop villa centred on an 8th century tower ‘La Torre’ with 17 beautiful bedrooms. Set in landscaped gardens amongst vineyards and olive groves but a mere 3km from the remarkable Medieval city of Siena. 

The estate covers 100 hectares of fields and forests, extending over rolling hills towards Siena, and out towards the heart of the Chianti region. There are spectacular views in every direction. The entire property is run as a certified organic farm, producing a variety of wines, and premium olive oil, with the arable land producing a variety of organic grains and pulses. The lack of pesticides and other intensive agrichemicals means that the fields and forests are also home to a rich fauna and a remarkable variety of wildflowers. 

The Villa was furnished by the Castelli family over several decades, and their love for the Tuscan history and art is reflected in the furniture, art and artefacts throughout the Villa. Spacious rooms on the ground floor include an elegant dining hall and two comfortable sitting rooms. Upstairs, guests can enjoy a large billiards room with views over the garden. Each of the 17 spacious bedrooms has been named after one of the 17 contrade (districts) of Siena. The rooms are spread over three floors, with lift access. The traditional, thick, stone walls help to keep the house cool through the summer months.  

Outdoors we have a “bocce” court through the olives, a short distance from the villa. Bocce is a characteristic Italian game, similar to bowls. The court lies in the dappled shade of a small woodland. Atmospheric lighting also allows games to be played in the evenings. There is also a hard tennis court in the shade of tall evergreen oaks. Indoors there is a billiards table, or guests may want to try their hands at the more traditionally Italian game of funghetto biliardo. 

Guest are welcome to explore the wider estate – walking or even trail running. The estate extends over a mosaic of olive groves, vineyards and woodlands, criss-crossed with tracks and paths. Trekking around Le Tolfe guarantees beautiful scenery and an opportunity to discover the local flora and fauna. For the more adventurous, it is possible to walk, or cycle, beyond the property, and to explore the adjacent Chianti region rich in places of interest. Nearby, these include the former monastery of Pontignano and its well-known Italian gardens, the Chianti Sculpture Park, Brolio Castle, the borgo or hamlet of Monteliscai, and Trecciolino’s Palio horse-training yard. 

The Cook and The Cookery Classes 

All lunches and evening meals will be prepared for us by chef Avinash Shashidara. Avi has worked at some of London’s top restaurants including The River Cafe (he left only last summer, 2018, after ten years of service) and two Michelin Starred, Hibiscus. His cooking is unfussy, unpretentious and fabulous. He will be cooking using vegetables from the villa ‘orto’ (vegetable garden), grain from our fields, and the fruit trees on the estate. Meat, and fish are sourced from local organic and free range producers.  

Guests are welcome to pop into the villa kitchen at any stage to see Avi preparing our meals, though there will be organised cooking demonstrations that will be interactive to allow participants to learn how to make pasta, focaccia and risotto. 

Yoga and Morning Runs (Optional!) 

For those who like to start their day with a spot of stretching and mindful breathing, we have daily yoga with meditation classes starting at 7:30 by the pool or in the Limonaia (a studio in the lemon tree’s “winter home”). There are also tracks for runs and hikes around the estate for those keen for a breathtakingly scenic start to the day.  


  • Ensuite Triple Room (Based on three people sharing) €1100 per person 

  • Ensuite Double/Twin Room (Based on two people sharing) €1250 per person 

  • Ensuite Single €1350 

  • Ensuite Double Room, Single Occupancy €1650  

What is Included: 

  • Full board at La Torre alle Tolfe for 5 nights, All meals and lodging (Lunches and Dinners include wine)

  • Tour of the Le Tolfe estate, above and below ground! Plus a tasting of all the estate’s wines.

  • Daily Meditation and Yoga class, use of all mats and bricks.

  • A morning’s olive picking on the Le Tolfe estate

  • Visit to local olive press to see oil being produced, and a bottle of new oil for each guest to take home

  • Truffle hunt and Truffle dinner

  • Transfer into Siena centre, Aperitivo in Piazza del Campo 

  • Tour and wine tasting at Villa di Geggiano  

  • WIne tasting of a selection of Brunello from the best producers in Montalcino

  • Masterclasses in Pasta, Risotto and Breadmaking with our chef Avinash Shashidara 

What is not included: 

  • WSET Course Level 1. This is an additional €150 per person for those who are keen to dive a bit deeper into the world of wine. 150€ includes Tuition and all course materials, study guide, stationary, food and wine samples of wines from around the world including the fine wines of Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Barolo and exam paper. 

  • Flights

  • Airport transfers are not included, however, La Torre alle Tolfe is within easy reach of Florence and Pisa airports via very efficient and affordable coaches and trains. From Siena Bus and Train station the villa is only minutes away by taxi. Once here you will not need a car, though there are many beautiful places to visit if you have a hire car to hand! Please do email if you would like some help to plan this part of your holiday or to be connected with other guests so as to potentially journey together.


Please email . Very much looking forward to meeting and raising a glass or two with you! 


SAMPLE ITINERARY (times/days for activities may vary)

Day 1 - Sunday 
Welcome aperitivo on the terrace overlooking the gardens and pool, and Wine Tasting of the villa’s wines. Evening meal with all the villa wines to accompany a traditional Italian meal. 

Day 2 - Monday  
Yoga class, breakfast and the WSET Level 1 wine course begins, “Introduction to wine, Types and Styles and the Principal Grape Varieties”  
Lunch followed by a late afternoon trip into Siena. Free time for shopping and gelato, Meeting at 18:30 pm for aperitivo in Piazza del Campo
Dinner back at Le Tolfe celebrating the ingredients of autumn, including pumpkin, chestnuts and porcini mushrooms

Day 3 - Tuesday

Yoga Class, Breakfast and Olive Picking. There are some 4,000 olive trees on the estate and we will have a go at picking a few of them.
Time to relax within the grounds of the villa. Before heading off to visit the local Frantoio to see our olives pressed into oil.


Before dinner, Avi will present a pasta masterclass - showing guests the best pasta dishes to show off the new olive oil

Day 4 - Wednesday
Daily yoga, Breakfast, The course continues with a food and wine workshop: The principles of food and wine matching and the characteristics of the Noble Grape varieties. And common wine faults, service and storage.

A tour and tasting at Villa di Geggiano, Castelnuovo Berardenga. Villa di Geggiano produce fantastic Chianti Classico at their extraordinary estate - a neo-classical style rural palace with an outdoor theatre. Like Le Tolfe, they are an extremely lovely family with wonderful wines and stories to tell. (Ask about their Talented Mr Ripley connection!) 

Dinner back at Le Tolfe

Day 5 - Thursday


Yoga and breakfast.

Truffle Hunt Excursion


A very relaxed tutored tasting of Brunello di Montalcino with some of the regions best producers with wines matched to a truffle dinner.



Yoga, Breakfast and departure



La Torre alle Tolfe 

Strada delle Tolfe, 14  

53100 SIENA 

The name, La Torre alle Tolfe, tradition has it, comes from a certain Tolfo dei Gricci, one of Charlemagne’s knights, who first built a tower and castle here around 785 AD. It would have served as a lookout point on the emperor’s route between Lyon in France and Rome.  

4km from Siena train station 
79km from Florence airport 
117km from Pisa airport 
Navigation location: 43.3472N, 11.3472E