One of the perks of co-owning a wine business, is that every now and again I get to visit some of the greatest wine estates. While my husband Alex busies himself with the tasting in the cellars, or roaming the vineyards and feeling the soil - I find myself wandering the gardens.
(And before you ask why aren't I sampling the wine, let me tell you at this stage of the game it is tried in the barrel, which means it's young and a bit too gritty for me. And um also, it's often at 9.30 am and there are 20 wines. It's hardcore taste and spit. For professionals only ...)
Besides, why would I taste wine when I can be outside exploring the gardens? Honestly, these old private estates in Italy make me swoon. Around every corner is a perfect collection of pot plants, or an ancient creeping vine. Marchesi Alfieri makes fabulous wine, but the estate is designed like an old English garden, overlayed with that true Italian finesse you just can't fake. (Even the lights in the cellar are perfect!)
If you want to pretend to live here, you can book to stay at Marchesi Alfieri.
This magnificent old villa even has a curved Orangerie, tiled in terracotta with billowing white linen curtains, where the potted citrus are moved in winter. When I grow up, I want an Orangerie.
I still ache when I look at these photos. Seriously ... who has a garden like this?