The bucolic Tuscan wine estate Castello Banfi will transform into a college campus this summer, shifting emphasis from vinification to education.
In-depth classes on wine, food, and culture at the medieval castle are part of a Banfi sponsored seminar for students majoring in hospitality and the culinary arts. Two groups head to Italy this year under the guidance of Sharron McCarthy, Banfi’s Vice President - Wine Education, and members of their respective faculties. Students will first visit a Prosciutto di Parma ageing center, a Parmigiano Reggiano cheese dairy, a pasta maker and, finally, the Castello Banfi vineyard estate. In the evenings, the students will sample the delights of premier restaurants in Parma, Siena, Montalcino and Rome along with the Tuscan fare of Ristorante Castello Banfi, recently recognized with a coveted one-star rating by the prestigious Guide Michelin.
The curriculum delves into the different soil types in the estate’s constellation of single vineyards and on-going efforts to match ideal native and international grape varieties to individual site conditions. Students will taste an in-depth sampling of the estate’s latest vintages direct from the barrel and current releases including proprietary blends, SummuS and ExcelsuS, and Castello Banfi’s Poggio all’Oro Brunello di Montalcino Riserva.
The classroom setting will extend to Banfi’s balsamic vinegar cellar, enoteca and glass museum, which holds a comprehensive collection of ancient Roman glassware. Lecturers will discuss and sample locally produced Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Pecorino cheese, honey, bread and biscotti, with one morning class devoted to preparing traditional Tuscan dishes. Members of the Mariani family, proprietors of Castello Banfi, will host informal discussions with the students.
The first group touches down in Italy on July 11, with students from Cornell University, the University of Las Vegas, and the Culinary Institute of America. Students from Shannon Hotel School in Limerick, Ireland; the University of Denver; and, for the first time, the University of New Hampshire, will take their tour in August.
A family-owned vineyard estate and winery in the Brunello region of Tuscany, Castello Banfi’s dedication to excellence in the art of winemaking has been recognized the world over. Capturing honor after prestigious honor, the American-owned estate was declared “International Winery of the Year” an unprecedented four times and Italy’s Best Wine Estate” every year since 1994 by the International