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August 18 - August 25

Discovering the Autochthonous Grapes of Italy with Rowena Dumlao

Discovering the Autochthonous Grapes of Italy with Rowena Dumlao

Workshop Dates:
August 18 - August 25
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About the Workshop

Autochthonous refers to a variety of grape from a specific terroir. In other words, a particular type of grape adapted to a specific soil and geography, as well as to tradition. Italy is one of the countries with the most autochthonous grapes in the world - and there are 545 registered varieties for making wine! Each one has its distinguishing quality and story. The Italian producers have started to revive these vines, some of which were almost extinct, and produce wines from them, just like the old times.

In this workshop, we will learn about some of these grapes, and their traditions – we will taste the wines, and meet the producers who make them. Printouts will be handed to help facilitate learning during lessons, wine will be tasted and there will be visits to wineries. Let’s dive into the wine world of Italy and see and taste why this country is so special!

Additionally, our workshop dates coincide with the annual Cantine Aperte festival, which is one of the most important wine events of the year! At the festival, the seasons new wines are unveiled and vineyards open their doors to all who are eager to taste the new vintage. It is the good fortune of this workshop that the event falls of the first day of our activities – and we will attend the event! It is an amazing celebration and will be a great way to kick off the workshop.

Throughout the week-long experience, participants will be housed in the remarkably well-preserved Umbrian hill town of Monte Castello di Vibio. The workshop package is all-inclusive, providing welcome and departure services and airport transfer from the Rome Fiumicino, Leonardo daVinci Airport (FCO). Aboard our comfortable private bus, single occupancy accommodations with spectacular views, 3 meals per day Monday-Thursday, Prosecco brunch and dinner on Saturday.

The workshop includes daily tastings and winery visits as well as lunch at a Michelin-recommended restaurant, Il Frantoio, in Assisi and other meals at noteworthy vineyards. Finally, our “off-campus” meals will include a dinner at the renowned Torre a Cona vineyard, where we will be treated to a tasting of their wines and an extraordinary 6-course dinner!

Of course, throughout your stay, 24/7 access to facilities and 24/7 bi-lingual support are provided.

Those who have time might also consider the adding the additional 4-day tour: Little-known Wines of Campania, June 4 – 7, which will commence at the end of this workshop.

About the Instructor

Rowena Dumlao
Born in Manila, Philippines Rowena Dumlao, moved to Italy in 1999. Here she started the path to Italian gastronomy through creating the blog, Apron and Sneakers. Soon after, worked as a recipe writer for online sites like Honest Cooking Magazine, She Knows, Mode Media, Thanksgiving, Skinny Ms., A Luxury Travel Blog, and some food companies that needed recipes created with their products. Her path to wine started in 2015 after attending some wine press tours in Eastern Europe. From 2015 to 2017, attended and passed the three-level sommelier course of Associazione Italiana Sommelier in Italy. From 2017 to 2018, took the French Wine Scholar course and passed the test in Avignon, France. In 2022, took a short course about Langhe Wines at the Barolo & Barbaresco Academy in Piedmont, Italy. She wrote for China Wine News with regards to wine events in Italy from 2017 to 2019 and contributed to The New Filipino Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Around the World. She currently writing for her own sites, The Chosen Table, Apron and Sneakers about wines and restaurants in Italy.  
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Included Amenities

Click on the links below for detailed information about our included amenities.
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  • Airport transfer from and to the Leonardo da Vinci Rome/Fiumicino Airport (FCO) aboard our private bus (on scheduled dates only). Bus departs the airport promptly at 12PM.
  • Airport welcome service and assistance with baggage
  • 24/7 bi-lingual support with manager on site at all times
  • All ground transport aboard private buses or our ICA van, unless otherwise specified. Licensed and insured professional driver and ICA guide accompany all excursions. Orientation at each destination is provided as is departure coordination (guide service is available upon request — unless specified — for an additional fee)
  • Complimentary bottle of local wine provided in rooms on arrival day and complimentary locally made soap
  • Village orientation and complimentary drinks provided on arrival day
  • Private access to our 5-storey tower at our Palazzo Persiane (on sign-up basis) for spectacular morning and evening views
  • Access to our art materials shop (during posted hours)
  • Thorough orientation lecture and maps provided the evening before departure
  • Return transport to the Rome/Fiumicino Airport (departs 5:30AM) with rest stop
  • Departure service/airport assistance at airport
  • Unless otherwise specified, single occupancy accommodation is provided in rooms with a view of the Tiber Valley that includes sink and vanity. Rooms are with shared bath on each level (3 rooms per bath) in our 14th century convent building, The Asilo. Apartments, rooms with private bath and AC, double rooms, group or villa accommodations are available for couples, business associates/ friends, or groups for an additional fee
  • Linens and towels provided
  • Weekly housekeeping service with change of towels and linens
  • Free washing machine access
  • Good Wi-Fi connection and access to our library and film collection
  • 3 chef-catered, gourmet meals per day (buffet breakfast, 3-course lunch, 4-course dinner) — with wine at lunch and dinner (table wine provided at lunch and dinner. An excellent wine list is offered at additional cost), while in Monte Castello
  • Group dining service is as follows, with breakfast and lunch served in our dining room, etc, with dinner (weather permitting) served on our private terrace overlooking the Tiber Valley
  • Lunch and dinner are plated as follows: pasta course, main course, vegetable, fruit/salad, dessert
  • When requested at registration, vegetarian, vegan, and special dietary options are provided
  • After dinner drinks on our terrace overlooking the Tiber valley
  • Dining service is as follows: Breakfast: 8:00 AM; Lunch: 1:00PM; Dinner: 8:00 PM. No meals are served on Fridays (excursion day) unless otherwise specified
  • On Saturday and Sunday, a full buffet brunch with fresh pastry and Prosecco is served at 11:00 AM
  • On Saturday, homemade, wood-fired pizza is served at 7:00 PM (except on departure days, when a special farewell dinner is served)
  • Sunday dinner with antipasti is served at 7:00 PM
  • Farewell dinner on the evening prior to departure
  • 24/7 access to our primary building and library is provided, including access to workspaces, studios, and ceramics facility
  • Special access to certain cultural and art collections is available upon request
  • FOR VISUAL ARTISTS: private, or semi-private secure and monitored studio space is provided (24/7 access)
  • FOR WRITERS: private workspace is provided (24/7 access)
  • FOR GROUPS: Group workspace is provided (24/7 access)
  • FOR CERAMIC ARTISTS: 24/7 access to our ceramics facility
  • Free access to lectures and events at the Teatro Concordia
  • An end of the session exhibition with reception that includes hors d'oeuvres and Prosecco in our gallery. Posters are prepared to promote the event with copies provided to all participants
  • 1 excursion per week is included (unless otherwise specified in the itinerary) aboard our private bus. Additional trips can of course be scheduled and given our central location. (Day trips are possible to as far north as Siena or Florence and as far south as Rome.)
  • Advanced reservations and ticket purchases for groups and individuals
  • Concierge services provided upon request at an hourly rate
  • Restaurant reservations (provided under Concierge services)
  • Car rental
  • Critique series with visiting visual artists
  • Artist materials workshops
  • Drawing and painting sessions from the figure
  • Cooking classes
  • Cheesemaking workshop
  • Pizza-making workshop
  • Kids cooking classes
  • Wine appreciation and Sommelier Courses
  • Wine and olive oil tastings
  • Vineyard tours
  • Truffle hunting
  • Ballroom dance classes
  • Weekend excursions to flea markets and natural sites
  • Shopping excursions to cashmere and leather outlets, to Deruta famous for fine painted traditional ceramics, and antique stores
  • Overnight excursions to the sea and day-trips to Rome beaches
  • Hot air balloon tours
  • Hot springs excursions
  • Lake Trasimeno tours
  • Umbria abandoned castle and fortress tour
  • Sustainable farming tour 
  • Babysitting services
  • Soccer, archery, and horseback riding camps for kids
  • Motorized mountain bike rentals
  • Electric car rental 
  • Golf-cart tours of Rome and Florence
  • Hiking/naturalist guides to national/regional parks - mountain hiking available
  • Fishing/Hunting Excursions

Payment Options

  • Payment in full (€700 non-refundable deposit is included. No refunds will be issued within 60 days prior to the start of the workshop. See refund policy for more details).
  • Non-refundable €700 deposit (Balance due must be paid a minimum of 30 days prior to workshop).
  • Balance payment (after €700 deposit).

Required Forms

All ICA participants; whether coming independently, with a group or through a college / university, must provide the following completed forms and information to at least 2 weeks prior to attending their program. 
Emergency Contact & Medical Information »Liability Waiver »
Proof of Insurance / Travel Insurance
Itinerary and Passport
For detailed information and to download the required forms, please visit our Guides and Forms page.


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