Culinary Arts, Wine & Sommelier Certification

We offer a number of options for experiencing Italian Food & Wine that are designed for individuals all levels of experience, all budgets, and with a range of diverse range of timetables. 

Our Focus

To explore the incredibly diverse cuisines of Italy – focusing on the rich traditions of Umbria.
To familiarize participants with artisanal food products of the woodlands, mountains, lakes and seashores of Italy- with a special focus on Umbrian cuisine.
Gaining an understanding of traditional, sustainable, organic farming, foraging, and hunting/fishing practices of Italy, with a special focus on Umbria.
Providing a general knowledge about Italian -and specifically Umbrian- wine: its history, descriptive terminology, grape groth and harvest, production, aging, etc.
Developing technical tasting skills to both evaluate and enhance the enjoyment of Italian wine.
Introducing participants food & wine pairing, beer (particularly the emerging microbrewing culture of Italy), and spirits, focusing on aperitivi and drinks such as grappa.
Fostering an understanding of the regulations governing the production, distribution, storage, and sales of wine, which are invaluable in selecting Italian wines in shops or grocery stores at home.

WHAT WE OFFER

ICA offers wine tours of Umbria, Tuscany, and Lazio as well as a special Sommelier Course offered in partnership with the Association Sommelier Italiana. The course is designed both for individuals who are interested in learning more about the enjoyment of wine, its history, diversity, and its connection to foods, as well to the needs of foodservice professionals who want to expand their knowledge of wine in technical ways that would provide a step-stone to full Sommelier certification and careers related to wine. Though focused and rigorous, the course is designed to be fun and informative - and paired with delicious foods from our kitchen, as well as the spectacular views from our dining terrace – should leave an unforgettable impression that will enhance participants knowledge of Italian wine, giving it the same depth and complexity.

There will be an extensive introduction to the wines of Umbria, Tuscany, and Lazio with visits to some of the greatest Cantine of the region – combined with an in-depth overview of the wines of Italy in our classrooms, guided by an AIS certified sommelier.

The Approach

The only prerequisite for our experiences is a passion for learning—with a special focus on the rich traditions and incredible food and wine of Umbria. The philosophy of the ICA wine programs is to provide inspiration and insights into the culture and traditions of Italian wine, both in terms of its refinement and in its intimate place in daily and family life. We also believe that a full appreciation of wine is guided by knowledge and understanding. This is rooted in learning to taste and appreciate wine, in understanding the flavor and characteristics of diverse types of grapes and growing conditions that affect them, in understanding the terminology that is used to describe wine, and finally, the relationship of wine to the foods it often accompanies.

Wine & Sommelier Courses

Culinary Arts

Drawing on the rich and ancient food traditions of Italy as well as its iconic food products, its agricultural wealth, and the bounty of its seas, lakes, and rivers, we offer a range of opportunities to immerse oneself in Italy’s culinary wonders. ICA food tours of cities and regions, cooking classes, as well as workshops in cheese-making, pasta-making, and charcuterie.

Wine

At ICA, we provide the opportunities to experience wine that are seldom available to most travelers. While we do visit large and famous cantinas (wineries) such as Lungarotti and Arnaldo Caprai, it is often our excursions to small, family-operated cantinas that are most memorable. These winemakers share their enthusiasm and love of wine with visitors, enhancing our visits with stories about their vineyards, the grapes they cultivate, and the wines they produce. It is not unusual for an elderly proprietor of a vineyard to lead visitors out into the fields and identify the rows of Merlot and Sangiovese grapes growing on the hillsides, to describe their nuances and their harvest, even to taste the soil of the vineyard and feel its presence in the rich wines that could be produced like this nowhere else on earth.

Our objective at ICA is to connect our guests to these individuals and to their rare commitment to history and to a product. Wine tour participants enjoy the tranquil, pristine beauty of Umbria, the famous “Green Heart” of Italy at its best.

Sommelier Certification Courses

ICA is proud to sponsor the first certified Sommelier Program in Italy for non-residents. All participants successfully completing the course will receive a “Special Master” Sommelier certification from Association Italian Sommelier (AIS), the official training association in Italy. For professionals, the wine sommelier certification will not only reflect the technical knowledge that they have gained but also provide the opportunity to continue on to other levels of sommelier training.

The intensive course takes place over a seven to twelve-day period, with five, two-hour classes. This time frame, combined with our all-inclusive services, allows visitors to attain Special Master certification, and still have time within a two-week-long visit to allow for travel and recovery time before returning to normal activities. Each tasting will include five to seven wines, ranging from wines of the Umbrian region to those drawn from wine regions around Italy. We will make a particular emphasis on the unique wines of the Montefalco region of Umbria, which Conde Nast called the “top upcoming wine region of Italy.” Here we will work in particular with the Arnaldo Caprai vineyard, twice selected by Wine Spectator as the “Top Italian Vineyard.”

There will be an extensive introduction to the wines of Umbria, Tuscany, and Lazio with visits to some of the greatest Cantine of the region – combined with an in-depth overview of the wines of Italy in our classrooms, guided by an AIS certified sommelier.

Included Features* 
of Culinary Arts/Wine Programs

Excursions

Using Monte Castello as a starting point, our excursions are organized according to passageways through Umbrian Wine Zones surrounding Monte Castello. These zones are traversed by officially identified wine routes, such as the Vini del Cantico Trail (passing through Monte Castello) and the Vini del Sagrantino Trail, or the Vini Etrusco Romana Trail. Each of these offers the opportunity to experience different grapes and numerous blends that are unique and specific to each area.

The routes also offer opportunities to experience rich history and culture. For example: on an excursion through the beautiful mountains flanking the Tiber river, tasting such varietals as Sangiovese, Grechetto, Trebbiano, Canaiolo, and Malvasia, we stop for an afternoon in the city of Orvieto to visit its extraordinary cathedral, St. Patrick’s Well (a masterpiece of medieval engineering) and the incredible underground city beneath the town.

Our location in the geographic center of Italy also makes it possible to easily make day trips to other famous wine-growing centers, including Montepulciano and the Chianti region of Tuscany. Florence and Rome are equally accessible—a short ride away on private busses, accompanied by our knowledgeable guides. These cities, along with others in Umbria, Tuscany, Marche, and Lazio provide us with many options for urban walking tours of enoteche (wine bars), where one finds the most up-to-date information about vintages, trends, and cutting-edge developments in viticulture.
*All of our workshops and retreats include Airport Transfers Upon Arrival and Departure, Single or Double Occupancy Accommodations, and Three Meals of Typical Umbrian Cuisine Daily. To view a full list of included amenities, follow the link below.
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