Emily O’Hare launches Tuscan wine retreat

Emily O’Hare, former wine buyer and head sommelier at The River Café, has launched a service offering wine courses and yoga in a medieval Tuscan castle.

castle sunset

Castello di Potentino

The first “Wine Sense Retreat” will take place between 30 June and 4 July, with a second scheduled for 13-17 October at Castello di Potentino in Tuscany.

During the five-day stay, attendees will be taught the WSET Level 1 introduction to wine with a focus on Italian wine and have the option of morning yoga classes with teacher Nadia Steward.

Emily O'Hare

Emily O’Hare

The course also includes food and wine pairing workshops and cookery classes led by River Café chef Avinash Kumar on everything from risotto and pasta making to Tuscan pork butchery followed by a barbeque in the courtyard.

The food throughout the stay will be prepared by Kumar and there’s the chance to walk off any over-indulgence among ancient olive groves overlooking Monte Amiata.

Guests will also be treated to dinner at Brunello producer Sesti in Montalcino and a trip to the ancient baths at Bagno Vignoni.

“I wanted to give people outside the wine trade the chance to experience a trip like the ones I was taken on by The River Café where you’d have dinner with the winemaker at their home and taste their wines and olive oil,” O’Hare told db.

“I wanted to offer something more intimate than standard wine tourism that stimulates all of the senses. I was also keen to teach WSET Level 1 in a fun environment that doesn’t feel like school.

“The WSET approach is the best way to get people started on their wine journey and it can be done over the course of a long weekend.

“I think I’m the first to offer this kind of WSET holiday and hope people go away feeling that they’re really learned something but have had fun in the process,” she added.

The courses start from £1,250 per person with the fee including four nights full board at the castle and transfers to and from Pisa airport. For more information, see the Cellar Stylist website.

Click through for images of the bedrooms, pool and olive groves.

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