A big congratulations to Ryan and Morgan – newlyweds who enlisted our help in their destination Italian wedding. Truly an honor and a privilege.
An Italian wedding is the dream, right!?
For us at Girl’s Gotta Drink, the adventure began in August 2018. A Piedmont food and wine tour request hit our inbox from American couple who wanted to do an Italian wine country wedding. The bride-to-be’s friend recommended us (Grazie Mille, Gina!) after touring with us in 2017.
We started by getting to know them and their vision for their big day.
Morgan and Ryan wanted a beautiful setting, good food, and amazing wine. We selected on a new villa property to serve as both accommodations and the wedding venue.
It was an exciting few months of planning filled with calls, spreadsheets, ideas, and execution. The team on both sides of the pond worked busily to create a magical experience for everyone attending. I would be remiss not to mention how relaxed they were and a big shout out to the uber-chill bride.
Let’s get this Italian Wedding party started!
When arrival day came, we waited in nervous anticipation.
We were completely invested after months of planning and getting to know Morgan and Ryan. (We, being myself and the property manager at the accommodations, more on that below).
I’ve done enough event planning in my life (professional and personal) to know that every event has its behind-the-scenes mishaps. Now nearly 20 years deep in this line of work, trust me when I say, “behind-the-scenes” is the key. Mistakes are inevitable. It’s how you handle them that counts.
The most important thing is to keep the program seamless. And, in a wedding, for the love of Nebbiolo, DO NOT stress out the bride.
Despite the chill couple and my experience, my nerves were heightened come arrival day. These two people had entrusted us with such a monumental occasion. Their friends and family traveled to a different continent to celebrate with them. We had one shot to get it right. And, we had to – there was no other option.
Morgan and Ryan’s destination Italian wedding included an arrival lunch of pizza and wine, afternoon bride and groom activities, a group Welcome Dinner, then a ceremony and reception framed by the Barolo Unesco World Heritage vineyard landscape. And, finally, the day after the wedding the group would board shuttles one more time for a Roero and Langhe wine tour.
It was a fun-filled, action-packed three days. I couldn’t be more thrilled to share this experience with my readers.
Morgan & Ryan’s Italian Wedding in Barolo
The Venue: The Monvigliero Vineyard Villas
The Monvigliero Vineyard Villas (The Villas) is a new vacation property in the Langhe. They are located in the Barolo winemaking area of Verduno, situated at the base of the esteemed Monvigliero vineyard cru. The bulk of the planning on this side of the pond came down to myself and Katariina, the property manager at The Villas.
The property features four stand-alone villas; available individually or as a whole. It is owned by the historic Scarpa winery in Nizza Monferrato. Seriously, if you haven’t tasted at least one of their (three) Barbera d’Asti wines, add it to your list.
The four villas sleep up to 40 guests. It centers around a large outdoor pool with Barolo vineyards as far as the eye can see. For Morgan’s and Ryan’s big day, the venue worked perfectly to accommodate nearly all the guests and also served as the wedding site.
The group arrived for lunch on Monday and we prepared one villa’s outdoor patio with pizza, wine, and beer.
After everyone settled into their villas and filled their tummies, the bride and groom were ushered away for individual male and female activities.
All the ladies!
We brought in the intrepid Purple Ryta for her unique wine painting program. Her activity is unlike what we’re used to in the States. Wine is the medium – don’t worry, we made sure the drinking glasses were always full! The ladies did their own wine labels while soaking in the scenery and sun. It didn’t suck.
Gentlemen – don’t forget the Champagne!
For the gents, we organized a sparkling wine session led by Il Marito. Of course, his saber stole the show. Pretty much all of Ryan’s friends and family can now saber a sparkling wine bottle. We always recommend using a saber (safety first!) but learned some late night adventurers proved it could be done with a butter knife.
That’s another bonus about The Villas – they come with a fully stocked temperature-controlled wine cabinet. (Full disclosure: I am a marketing consultant for Scarpa Winery and The Villas.)
The Welcome Dinner
Impressively, Morgan and Ryan needed more space than just The Villas for their guests, so a group stayed about 20 minutes away in the town of Bra at Albergo Agenzia.
We worked with the event staff there for the Welcome Dinner. It included an outdoor apertivo, a blind tasting activity, a traditional dinner paired with delicious local wines, and maybe the coolest band in the whole of Italy. Los Papatachos played at our wedding and they sure do put on a show.
After everyone refreshed from the kick-off events, they boarded a shuttle to Bra for more wine and more local food. Il Marito led the group in a blind tasting activity that helped people enjoy and get to know each other a bit better – nothing technical, just fun. We selected a Pelaverga, a grape that is indigenous to Verduno – only about 140,000 bottles are made a year from about 12 producers.
Wines served at the Welcome Dinner: Contratto Millesimato Metodo Classico 2012, Burlotto Pelaverga, La Raia Gavi Riserva 2016, Franco Conterno Barbera Superiore 2016, Marco Adriano e Vittorio Langhe Nebbiolo 2017
The Wedding Day
Highlights of the wedding day included a poolside ceremony followed by aperitivo serenaded by a harpist and violinist. The wines of the day were from the Scarpa winery, including the previously mentioned specialty vermouth cocktail.
As you may recall, we’ve talked in the blog about vermouth’s origin being Turin. So, I suggested to the bride and groom that they do a vermouth cocktail in addition to the local wines to keep it all tied to the area. Since they love Disney we created cocktails with the likeness to Mickey and Minne. They were not only aesthetically pleasing but delicious. Hashtag: Winning.
Once the I dos were done, the celebration continued.
Naturally, we busted out the saber. The groom stepped up first – almost directly after kissing his bride. The bride followed it up by slicing open a bottle of sparkling Rosé. Not a bad way to toast to happily ever after!
After that, the photographer did his thing with the newlyweds and family while the guests indulged on an endless array of Piedmontese antipasti and beverages. As the sun began to set, the group moved to the tent space (complete with heat lamps, because it’s only April!) and dined on a three-course traditional meal. Wedding Dinner wines: Scarpa’s Rouchet, Belcolle Roero Arneis, Scarpa Nebbiolo d’Alba.
The day was magical and I couldn’t be more proud to have been a part of it. We kept the wine flowing and after the cake, the caterers busted out their stash of liquor.
Magic. Pure magic.
The Barolo Wine Tour
I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical when Ryan said he wanted a wine tour the day after the wedding. I was sure that plan would go south, but much to my surprise, everyone was ready to rumble when we arrived for the 9:30 a.m. departure. We only had one wounded soldier who opted to go back to The Villas at the first winery. All that wine, mixed with jetlag? Color me impressed.
I carefully picked each producer and every wine in the program. I didn’t want too many of the same wines and also wanted to make sure they got some lesser known wines and a taste of contrasting styles. I’m not going to go into too much detail because I have blog posts on each producer, but it all went off without a hitch. There was a lot of wine consumed and purchased that day, so I *think* they were happy!
And, of course, we brought the saber.
Winery One: Azienda Agricola Rivetto in the Barolo winemaking area of Serralunga d’Alba.
Given the group size, the original plan was to do the tasting outside after the tour, but we ended up in the barrel room because rain was forecasted. I didn’t get any shots because I took baby-duty so the sister-of-the-bride could enjoy some vino and the festivities.
Huge thanks to Enrico, Rita, and the entire Rivetto team for showing our group such a fantastic time.
Winery Two: Azienda Agricola Demarie in the Roero.
Next up, we drove across town to the Roero to visit our friends at Demarie. The visit included a tour of the energy-star-rated winery (read all about it here), followed by a pairing lunch. Sparkling and still Roero Arneis, Nebbiolo d’Alba (OMG, their 2016 is amazing!!), Roero Riserva, Barolo Riserva, and Birbet (a sparkling frizzante that is great for an apertif or dessert).
Our host, Monica (wife of the owner / winemaker, Paolo), was amazing as always. For the main course, we did lasagna and she even got gluten-free lasagna for our celiac guests.
The wine of the day was probably the 2011 Demarie Barolo Riserva. Monica gave me the rest of the last bottle they opened, which I promptly handed off to the bride.
Winery Three: Cantina Francone in the Barbaresco winemaking area of Neive.
We finished the day at the always loved Cantina Francone. And, no joke, get their 2016 Barbaresco Gallina; Gallina is the single vineyard). It’s incredible. The 2016 Barbaresco vintage was truly something special here. I, of course, attribute that to the birth of Il Ragazzino. I think the 2016 Gallina was the wine of the visit.
I was super excited about a few extra touches at Francone. Owner and winemaker Fabrizio let us taste their special brut cuvée during our planning meeting for Morgan and Ryan’s visit; only 600 bottles made. We got that as the local sparkling for the Groom Event on the first day. Everyone loved it and I think the group nearly bought them out of it. If you are a Francone fan and / or have an upcoming trip, get it while it lasts.
Sigh. I want to do it again.
Quick shout out to the vendors involved.
- Catering: Langhe Catering
- Accommodations / Wedding Venue: The Monvigliero Vineyard Villas
- Welcome Dinner Band: Los Papatachos
- Photographer (will add photos with credit once they are done – stay tuned): Danny Gorman Photography
- Transport Service: Mauro Giacosa
- Purple Ryta Painting with Wine
That’s the story of Morgan and Ryan’s Destination Italian Wedding.
What an experience for everyone. And, if there were any behind-the-scenes snafus, I’ll never tell!
Hit us up for tour programs, including events and extended stay experiences. We love getting extra time planning and hanging out with our clients. Y’all are so cool! Contact us.
And, drop in comments are your favorite wine country activities!