The bucolic Tuscan wine estate Castello Banfi will transform into a college campus for seven days this summer and fall, as the attention shifts from vinification to education.
In-depth classes on wine, food, and culture at the medieval castle are part of a Banfi sponsored seminar for college students majoring in hospitality and the culinary arts. Two groups head to Italy this year under the guidance of Banfi's Director of Wine Education, Sharron McCarthy and members of their respective faculties. The 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 at the Castello.
The Curriculum will delve 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. They will be able to taste the results through 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 students also will visit Banfi's balsamic vinegar cellar, enoteca and glass museum, which houses the world's most comprehensive collection of ancient Roman glassware. Guest lecturers will discuss and offer samples of locally produced Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Pecorino cheese, honey, bread and biscotti, with one morning class devoted to preparing traditional Tuscan dishes. Castello Banfi proprietor John Mariani will host informal discussions with the students and world-renowned restaurateurs, hoteliers, and writers.
The first student group touches down in Milan on June 23, with students from Johnson & Wales University and the University of Houston attending the seminars. The second group tour, for students from the Shannon Hotel School in Limerick, Ireland and the University of Denver, will take their tour in September.
Founded by U.S. wine merchants John and Harry Mariani of Banfi Vintners in 1978, Castello Banfi has been declared International Winery of the Year an unprecedented four times at the International Enological Concourse held in Verona, Italy.